At Odds with the Numbers

numbers synesthesia

There is probably some vague psychological term for the condition of connecting particular feelings with certain numbers. Well, a term other than “OCD” or “batshit crazy.” Whatever it is, I have it. Most odd numbers just don’t feel right to me, and I feel more at peace with even numbers. Call me crazy, but I think this has a lot to do with why I feel degree of levity about 2014’s outlook.

In 2012, I was already looking forward to 2014. I could have slept through 2013 if it had been possible. In a way, I think I tried to do exactly that. 

2013 was just all wrong. I don’t consider myself to be triscaidekaphobic; the number 13 “feels” janky and angular, but it doesn’t creep me out. However, the repetitive nature of having to look at that number all year long just felt oppressive. I had the foreboding feeling that 2013 was going to be a crapatastic year, and it was. I know that last year’s bad luck had nothing to do with the number; midway through 2012, I could see The Great Crap Express barreling toward us like a runaway freight train. Still, the collision of bad times and a bad number didn’t do 13 any favors.

2014, on the other hand, feels right. It feels good and whole. I’ll be 36 in February. 35 feels almost as wrong as 13, and having both together in the same year felt funky. 3 is an off number, and 5 feels only slightly less crooked. 3 feels okay when it’s paired with a 6 because there is the even divisibility to give you 2, and that is the most balanced number of all. 36 is smooth. 35 has pointy and uncomfortable corners.

1 and 2 are the strongest numbers of all the numbers, but 1 is sharp and 2 is smoother; therefore, 2 has a better feel than 1. The 4 gives the 1 in 2014 a roundness, so 2014 as a number feels simple and unencumbered by angles and snags. It feels simple. Clean. Uncomplicated.

I need that.

Is this a type of synesthesia, which is when a stimulus in one sense causes a reaction in another (example: hearing certain sounds causes one to see certain colors)?

Do you have any synesthesias? I also “feel” letters and words; different ones have different shapes and varying degrees of sharpness vs. roundness. Letters, words, and numbers also have different vertical positions; some are high and some are low. Some words have colors and others have different textures (rough vs. smooth).

It can’t just be me.

What, if any, odd sensations do you get from intangibles like numbers, words, sounds, and colors?

(photo credit)

13 Comments

  1. jenn on January 2, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    We are polar opposites but this is why I love this world and the relationships we make.
    I was engaged on Friday the 13th and love the number 7. I will be 35 this year and I am excited for it. But I am in complete agreement about 2013. Although it didn’t feel bad at the start – it felt hopeful and full of possibility and promise. While some of those were kept- 15 days in it all turned to shit. And for that I say bring on 2014.
    And I am sorry 2013 was a craptastic year for us both.



    • Kymberli on January 2, 2014 at 10:32 pm

      7 is the only odd number that I actually like. It has to do with the word more so than the number. SEVEN has a good evenness about it. It even has the word EVEN in it. I see color in music sometimes, too.

      2014 is going to be a good year for us both. It better be, dammit.



  2. jenn on January 2, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    Oh- and music is colorful.



  3. theanimatedwoman on January 2, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    BLINDED BY THE SOUND OF YOUR PERFUME! And I’m entranced with this lovely (new for me) word, “triscaidekaphobic”.



    • Kymberli on January 2, 2014 at 11:25 pm

      Triscaidekaphobia is one of my favorite words, JC. I dislike the number, but I LURVE the word. It feels “squishy.” Like if you’d squish a strawberry.



  4. Lori Lavender Luz on January 2, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    I’m not sure this fits the bill but from the time I was a wee child I was convinced the world was divided into “boy” colors and “girl” colors — beyond the predictable pink and blue. I was astonished to find out that other people didn’t know this.

    Eventually I figured out it was just me. My own construct.



    • Kymberli on January 2, 2014 at 11:28 pm

      I think that definitely counts, Lori. I’m curious — which colors are boys and which are girls?



  5. Jessica Carter on January 2, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    I am not sure if I have ever thought of this in regards to numbers, but I do have to admit that certain sounds, smells and even times of the day have an intense affect on my mood and sense of security. Changes in my routine…even the normal bi-annual Daylight Savings Time adjustments…throw me for a loop. I am, without a doubt, a creature of routine and habit (verified OCD) and, though I cannot express it as artfully as you have, I can say that I feel better knowing that I am not the only one who “feels” a response to intangible or relatively unremarkable “things.” (As a side note, I turned 33 in March (3) 2013 and, I concur, 2013 sucked the big one!)



    • Kymberli on January 3, 2014 at 12:04 am

      Reply is below…



  6. Kymberli on January 2, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    Dang, Jessica! That is quite a traffic jam of threes! I’m with you DST. I feel slightly off-balance the moment we spring forward and “lose” an hour. It feels like the balance is restored when we fall back.

    Here’s to a better year for us both!



  7. Elizabeth on January 3, 2014 at 10:55 am

    I have similar feelings about numbers. I adore 12 because it divides so easily into so many fractions. 9 is also a lovely number. I really dislike most prime numbers (23, 17, etc.) because there is no elegance to them. They don’t play well with other numbers, IMO. You can’t do anything with them…
    Maybe this explains my serenity at turning 40!



  8. sharah on January 3, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    I have a touch of synesthesia – numbers have pretty specific colors to me. 2014 is golden yellow (the 2), white (1) and warm brown (4). It reminds me of amber. Much better than 2013 (which had a purple three at the end, and just didn’t work at all).



  9. McPolish on January 3, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    Every month on the calendar has a very specific color for me. That color pops into my head every dang time that month is mentioned. January is blue-green. March is greenish-yellow. May is light brown, while November is dark brown. October is orange, July a royal blue. And on and on.

    Thirteen is actually my lucky number! And while 2012 kind of suckified, things started looking up in 2013. And thinking about it, I feel more at ease with odd numbers rather than evens. Huh. Well, for the most part. I totally agree with Elizabeth ^^^ in that I am fond of 12. I never realized it until she mentioned it, but yes, that totally makes sense to me.