Tuesday, February 22, 2011

222

For a couple of years now, the number 222, and variations of the number, has journeyed with me a lot of places. The number lives on the house I live in now for starters: It’s 222. The house number I grew up in until I was 11 was 2229.

It appears other places too, like a ghostly spirit wandering the ether, randomly choosing when and where to manifest itself. The ominous 222 is encountered a lot in the middle of the night, when I can’t sleep, locked in an endless loop of anguish seeking a restful state. Tossing and turning. It goes on for a bit––the thrashing––like a kitten trapped under the covers. Overcome with frustration I finally glance at the clock which reads 2:22 in bright, glowing red mockery. Even more strange: as soon as it’s acknowledged––The Almighty 222––sleep comes easily, like a blessing after a sacrifice, some sanity for slumber.

One time while standing in line at Shopko (a cross between Target and Walmart with a little K-Mart thrown in for good measure) the lady in front of me gasped at her total charges. “Excuse me?” she inquired, almost giggling.

“Twenty two twenty two,” the cashier snickered back. If you’ve ever been behind the wheel of a cash register you’ll know these curiosities of random numbers and amounts are what get you through each miserable day. After hours of mind-numbing credit card transactions and check processing, idle chit chat, not thinking too hard about what the hell people are buying (Fiddle Faddle, pads, toothpaste, fine jewelry, cat litter, shower curtains, gum, etc) a gem like $22.22 stands out like an elephant wearing a g-string.

“That’s what I thought,” said the lady. The two of them laughed again in unison. “That’s weird.”

An exact total of $22.22 made up of several random purchased items was clearly fascinating to me. “My address is 222,” a voice chimed in from beyond the conveyor belt, on the edges of the shopping buffer zone, that unspoken courtesy of space observed while in the same cash register line.

It was my voice. Uninvited.

Dead silence was rewarded for my intrusion into a circle of trust, albeit a singular and repetitive trust, one that happens hundreds of times per day. A private proceeding between random strangers. How dare I interrupt the cogwheels of commerce? All the sudden I was one of those guys: that chatty outsider. Awkward.

What...they didn’t believe me? “It’s true,” I said with a smile and a sliver of panic in my voice. We looked at each other the way three strangers look at each other, eyes darting back and forth, assessing the situation, sizing it up. The cashier, thankfully, was a cool customer herself and mirthfully busted up first to lower the tension and end the standoff at check stand #5.

“Really?” she said. “That’s interesting!”

“Yep!” I said. We all laughed deeply. Big, throaty and gregarious laughs, like vikings pillaging a village, enjoying the spoils of our shared wit-filled bounty. No...not quite like that. They laughed together quietly some more, in their circle of trust, despite my attempt to join them.

And that’s where it died, that time. Or left. That’s where 222 abandoned me again to question why.

More random encounters with 222 materialize all the time, while driving around town, usually on bank clocks, car dashboard clocks, and my computer clock or watch. Mostly at 2:22 PM or 2:22 AM. Assorted other instances of 222 show up often like movie run times, start times, track lengths from songs, utility bills, pages in a book, roundtrip miles from Spokane and back again. Totally random.

Yet another riddle to decipher. Numerology flies in the face of my Christian beliefs so I won’t look there for the meaning of 222. Just more questions. But, honestly, I’d just prefer if the universe was trying to tell me something it would just come out and say it for once.

Two two two means something; or nothing at all. Go figure.