A Pinch Of Salt

A few years ago I checked into a hotel room with a friend only to have her request that we change rooms. When I asked why, she promptly informed me that, “This is room number 314, which means it should really be 313!” She didn’t follow that statement with, “Duh!” but she might as well have as it seemed perfectly clear to her that staying in such a high risk area would be tantamount to suicide.

As much as I would have liked to scoff at such a ludicrous notion, I couldn’t find the gumption because superstitions are funny, insidious things. I think we all have them without realizing it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty sure that if I step on a crack my mother’s back will remain unscathed, and sometimes I actually pet black cats. But I do worry about jinxing myself, especially on those rare occasions when I’m actually optimistic. I cannot rock a rocking chair unless I’m sitting in it. (I don’t actually know why, but my mother told me bad things would happen and my mother wouldn’t lie.) And perhaps strangest of all, I eschew the idea of comparing hand sizes. Again, there was no explanation forthcoming from the matriarch of my family, but such an act was verboten and though I tell myself it’s silly, I cannot do it without squirming inside.

Maybe this just means that our parents and their beliefs have a huge impact on our lives. Or maybe it means we are, at heart, rather illogical creatures. But whatever the case, superstitions are still among us and when life becomes more difficult and/or unpredictable I think we tend to search for anything that can help us make sense of it. Even if it does involve such innocuous things as salt and rabbits’ feet.

So how about you? Any superstitions you still cling to? Maybe there are some looming catastrophes that the rest of us are dangerously unaware of.

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14 Responses to A Pinch Of Salt

  1. Kylie Brant says:

    I don’t think I have any superstitions I just have weird little sequences I have to play through before I can write in the morning. But that comes solidly under procrastination which is a different thing entirely 🙂

  2. Hi Lois, did you ever get any more of an explanation for the room switch than the number?

    I still don’t walk under ladders, open umbrellas in the house. If I tip the salt over, it goes right over my shoulder. I don’t split the pole when walking with friends, and if they do, I go back around or make them go back…can be a little annoying.

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

  3. loisgreiman says:

    🙂 All very sensible, I’m sure, Kylie.

    And Paula, yes, she was deadly serious about the number 13. It could not be messed with. Not the 13th floor, not the 13th room, not the 313th room. We packed up all our gear, which was a LOT of gear, and moved to the adjoining room. I didn’t bother to mention that if we counted the bathrooms or the broom closets or the office rooms, it wouldn’t be room 313 at all.

  4. leannebanks says:

    I don’t toss salt. I walk under ladders. What’s this with comparing hand size? And same for rocking chairs? I open umbrellas inside the house. I step on cracks, although I kinda try not to do that. I think black cats are purty.:)

    I DO knock on wood when I say “I’ve never gotten a speeding ticket.” On a day that’s not going well, I try NOT to say, “How can it get worse?” or “What else is going to go wrong?” Just seems like a big invite for bad stuff!

    FUN blog Miss Lois! THANKS!:)

  5. Helen Brenna says:

    What Leanne said. I am dangerously unaware of all kinds of superstitions.

  6. loisgreiman says:

    Helen and Leanne, I’ll light a candle for you in the hopes that all bad karma will not be visited on you because of your lack of caution…but I don’t know.

    Yeah, and I don’t know why we can’t compare hand sizes. Ya just can’t.

  7. I don’t think my parents were superstitious. Saying “God bless you” to a sneeze was considered polite. Mama was really surprised when I looked it up and told her it came from the belief that the spirit or soul or something leaves the body for a split second, giving the devil a chance to jump in.

    Oh, there was one thing. Mama always served black eyed peas on New Year’s Day for good luck. I still do that even though I’m the only one in the house who will eat them.

  8. michelehauf says:

    I adore my black kitty. He crosses my path daily, and one of these days it will bring bad luck because I’ll trip and fall and well then.
    No superstitions that I can think of offhand. I am a freak about the garage door being closed, driving away slowly and looking back many times to ensure it actually is closed (even though I saw it close before I even left the driveway). That may just be OCD, though. 🙂

  9. Connie L LaCroix says:

    I toss loose change at each doorway in my home on New Year’s Eve for (money) luckin the coming year; a filipina friend explained that one years ago when we were staying with her at the Marine Corps bas in Hawaii. I do it mostly because it helps me keep her in my thoughts beginning of each New Year.

  10. loisgreiman says:

    Connie, I’ve never heard that one before. Can’t hurt, right?

  11. Kathleen O says:

    I understand Connie’s New Years Eve traditions.. We do similar. A dark haired person bearing silver for luck and wealth all year round and a lump of coal so your house will never be without heat enters your door at Midnight. We had a good friend who did that for many years in my grandmother’s home. We call that “First Footing” the New Year. Our family is Irish and Scottish so that may be where this supersition comes from. Me i still through salt over my right shoulder if I spill it…

  12. loisgreiman says:

    Kathleen? First Footing?? Love the coal and silver idea. Turns out I want MORE superstitions.

  13. cindygerard says:

    Never say good bye … always farewell or see you soon …

  14. LOVE the coal and silver superstitions! (Maybe because I’m also of Scotch and Irish ancestry.) I think the only superstition I’m fairly consistent about is the knock-on-wood thing (or whatever is available and call it wood). I have a black cat, so we cross paths a lot.

    I don’t know that I would have chosen a black cat, however. But since she chose us, I think she’s good karma. 🙂

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