Teh Crazy

Last night I was working at the school (audio/video for an Anglican Dioscese conference) and I met a woman who has a serious numbers problem.

I was sitting at the back of the atrium monitoring the sound levels as a keynote speaker described natural church development. The atrium is also the central hub of the various wings and hallways of the school, so there are occasionally people walking through. The woman of the hour was looking for a Theology class in the N wing.
"Where's N211?" she asked. "We're supposed to be watching Davinci Code at 6:30, and I've been walking around here for like an hour trying to find the room." "I don't think there's anyone in N211," I replied, "but it's upstairs. If you're looking for a classroom with a movie, it's more likely to be N118 or 119, down on this level."

The woman walked away, slightly annoyed. She came back five minutes later, having discovered a sign beside N118. "Where's N250?" she asked. "They moved the stupid class!"

Now I was as confused as she was. Classrooms in the N wing go up to N221, certainly not into the 250s. "Perhaps it was 205?" I asked. It's a tiny classroom, but switching the order of numbers was the only way I could make sense of her confusion.
The woman left in a huff, complaining that it was now 6:25 and she drove all the way from the fort and blah blah blah... After she was out of sight, I went down to N118 to see this sign for myself.
On the door beside N118, I could see the clearly-printed sign. "Theo 250 is meeting in N102."
The hallways reverberated with the sound of my palm slapping against my forehead.

I intercepted the woman on the way back to the front desk. "Go to the end of the hall. It's the classroom right there, N102."
I only realized the true extent of the woman's problem when I checked with Katrina at the front desk. Apparently, this woman was told to try N102 twice before I met her. This explains her initial assumption that the classroom was on the second floor-102 became 211. Later I found out that she mixed up her friend's phone number, too.
Not something to laugh at, and perhaps I'm being insensitive by making light of the poor woman's situation on my 'blog like this, but the strangest thing was the way this woman responded. She was irate about the whole situation, and she took offense when Katrina had to tell her to try N102 for the second time.
Reflecting upon this poor woman's situation, it seems almost as if she were playing a game of telephone with multiple personalities between her ears and her logic centers and her speech centers.

1 comment:

Rus said...

Sounds like someone exhibiting signs of a mini-stroke. Symbols become separated from their meaning.

I once met a 10 year old girl who was labelled as dysgraphic, in that she could not correlate symbols with meaning simply by looking at the number. The only way she could interpret a number like "4" would be if it were in a proper number line (e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4, ) and she could use her auditory memory as a pneumonic device to count in sequence up to "4". Same with alphabet characters, she couldn't recognize letters on their own, but she had memorized the alphabet and could recite the verbal cues as she followed the letters in alphabetical sequence.

Fascinating disorder, but I'm sure it was a terrible thing to live with.