Littlewood’s Law

Littlewood’s Law is named after Professor John Edensor Littlewood, a late 1800s Cambridge University mathematician. 

He theorized that human beings are alert for an average of eight hours a day and that, with each passing second, a person experiences some sort of “event” which might be remarkable or unremarkable. Over the course of 35 days, he surmised, the average Joe will experience about one million events. Given that large number of happenings, the professor thought, your chances of experiencing a remarkable event — a miracle, if you will — are pretty darn high. At least one in a million, which isn’t bad odds, all things being relative.

Littlewood’s ultimate goal was to prove that miracles are actually pretty normal occurrences. You just have to open your eyes and pay attention. Miracles are all around us. It’s Littlewood’s Law. 

Today marks the 35th day of my personal social distancing and sheltering in place. 

Where’s my damn miracle, John?

Way back on that Friday the 13th in March that we were sent home to work remotely, I thought that we (and by “we” I mean the collective “we” including all y’all and all of us and everybody else in the free world) would hunker down hard for a couple of weeks, do without some things, and wash our hands into bloody nubs. Then this too would pass, and by some stroke of luck a cure would be found, people would get well, and things would go back to normal.

Never did I think that I’d still be writing these coronavirus posts 35 days later. 

I know now it was pretty Pollyanna for me to think like that. But I’m a look-on-the-bright-side kind of gal. A things-are-darkest-before-the-dawn, tomorrow-is-another-day, bury-my-head-in-the sand kind of gal. I’ve counted so many chickens before they’ve hatched you might as well call me Tyson. 

I just knew there’d be a miracle. 

But now I’m not so sure. And I don’t think things will ever go back to what we knew as normal. But I do think that we will ultimately be better off if we can just hold onto the things we’ve learned during all this.

I hope we find ways to continue to enjoy time spent with our families that don’t involve screens. I hope we keep on doing favors for our neighbors and they for us. I hope that we’ll get outside during the prettiest times of the day and even venture out into new, unknown wild spaces. I hope we set aside extra time for meeting in our yards and over the back fence and in the park and in the street with smiles and waves and happy greetings. I hope, as the ad used to say, we’ll still reach out and touch someone — by phone. I hope we continue to cook more meals, read more books, paint more pictures, and tell more stories. I hope we continue to summon the creativity, resourcefulness, and resilience that has gotten us through these last 35 days. 

And I hope we keep our eyes open for the miracles. 

Here’s what weird thing I’ve been thinking about this week:

A basket full of crackers. Do y’all remember when you could go to most any restaurant and there would be a little, oblong black wicker basket with a gold rim stuffed full of crackers on each table. Saltines, Captain’s Wafers, and Melba Toast, my favorite because I thought it was so fancy. There would also be a little dish with soft pats of butter to slather on the crackers. Few things are better than a buttered cracker. All I’ve been thinking about is going to a restaurant and getting a cold, cold salad made of iceberg lettuce. It must have a few strands of purple cabbage, 1 tomato wedge, and 2 cucumber slices. I want homemade (and by “homemade” I mean made by the restaurant) blue cheese dressing and a few croutons.

When did we all get so bougie that you can’t get a basket of crackers in a restaurant anymore? Just tell me that. 

Here’s what I did last week:

I struggled last week — struggled with my schedule which I basically abandoned (not a good move), my attitude, and my mood. Mainly I fought my mood, which was just in the toilet for no apparent reason except that we’re in the fifth week of whatever this weirdness is. I didn’t paint at all. I ate too much junk food like Zapp’s Voodoo chips which I love. I did a little mindless crocheting and a whole lot of mindfully managing my temper, which was shorter than short. I guess it’s all part of the ups and downs of corona days and corona nights. Maybe I’ll write a parody of “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” for the old CV. 

I did make the meatball recipe from The New York Times. Y’all…it’s a real keeper. The family loved it the first time, and the leftovers were even better. Plus, it was quick and easy to make. That all makes it a winner in my book. I abandoned the chickpeas and served it over Felicia buckwheat pasta (that’s an affiliate link, so if you get it, I’ll likely earn a little commission), which is the best gluten free pasta I’ve ever had (and I’m not just saying that…it really is good, even the second day!). 

As we look for that miracle old Professor John says is coming, let’s all stay home, stay safe, and stay in touch

3 thoughts on “Littlewood’s Law

  1. Another good one, Audrey!! But…..are those brown noodles really as tasty as you claim?

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