Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday The 13th

Walking under an elephant
is believed to bring good luck
In Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory" he and his somewhat loopy 60-something cousin "Sook" bake fruitcakes to send to friends in December.  When they're counting their change before buying supplies one year Buddy states he counts a total of exactly $13.00, and Sook -  slightly aghast - says "Buddy, we can't mess around with thirteen... our cakes would fall; we'd be likely to put someone in the hospital.  I don't even get out of bed on the thirteenth!"  Rather than count it again, and "just to be safe", they throw a penny out the window.

I'm not much on superstitions myself, but I regularly find myself in a position while traveling to humor someone who is.  For example, in the Philippines you can't go to bed with wet hair because you're liable to die in your sleep.  One close Japanese friend insists you can't whistle at night because it's bad luck.  A Thai friend backs up a variation of that same belief as he told me one balmy evening while I was whistling while walking that it would attract pee (ghosts) - and ghosts are something you do not want to mess with among the believing Thai - trust me.  The exception is if you're in the film industry, as movies about ghosts seem to keep the Thai film industry thriving.

The rooms in the rear of the Om Yim Lodge (where there is no room #13) overlook a picturesque old Chinese cemetery, but I've had friends visiting who were uncomfortable with that, asking "why didn't you get a room facing the front?"  For a couple of visits I requested one just to avoid the possible problem.  Better view facing the BTS, anyway.

Friday the 13th is winding down where I am, and it's already the 14th in Thailand so I hope everyone I know there is still drawing breath and free of a hospital bed.  If the day was to be unlucky for me I seemed to have missed that part, but it was a frantic day of errands, appointments, meetings and the likes - a day that spiraled out of my control somewhere after my morning coffee when the phone rang.  Nevertheless, I've gotten through it... so far.

If I'm not back on Monday you can blame it on the wrath of the universe being brought down on me for dissing superstitions.

Or a ghost.


Anonymous said...

In the streets of old Florence the house number between 12 and 14 is 12 1/2. In old England, the gallows had 13 steps. In old SE Asia monks who wandered carried 13
possessions. An ancient Babylonian stella that contains 49 rules of law has no number 13. Since ancient time the 13th card in the tarot is known as death. Underneath the superstition lies clarity for those who penetrate the amnesia that keeps the modern mind in a stupor of dullness...

khunbaobao said...

As mentioned - I'm not much of a participant myself, but thanks for adding to the mix.

If we want to go into what's keeping "the modern mind in a stupor of dullness" I think we could add other things far more culpable (i.e. most from the media machine, political rhetoric and much of the dogma pushed around the globe) than superstitions, but maybe that's just pre-coffee cynicism this morning. :-)