Sunday, 23 September 2012

Object Writing 16

Today’s word –‘Method’

I’m a person of words, not numbers. A hundred creative ideas may, on a good day, flow from brain, down arm, through hand to be delivered, via pen, to my battered notebook, but ask me a maths question and the buzzing begins.

It starts with a click at the back of my head. It is the sound of the last light being switched off on the shop floor before the foreman goes home for the night, but instead of empty silence there is a hum, which increases in crescendo before zipping round with zigzag speed to plant that frisson of fear behind my eyes. My mouth does its impression of the Sahara, with my saliva dammed and diverted, to form a clammy film in the dead centre of both palms.

So today my thirteen year-old niece asks for help with linear equations. She smiles expectantly and has no doubt whatsoever that I’ll be there for her. So I am.

Rusty hinges squeal as a quick Google reintroduces me to long forgotten methods. Thirty-five years of dust makes quite a pile. Sweeping it aside is as strenuous as raking blown leaves from the lawn, but suddenly I am there, in that zone of flying where you can see the whole universe mapped out before you and all you need to do is reach out and pluck the answers, one by one, from silver branches.

An hour later the cinnamon scent of best auntie lingers at the desk and I smile. It is all so much more than maths.