It’s 7:30 am on Friday the 13th. I’m sitting in a cafe in downtown Ottawa, enjoying a bacon and egg sandwich with Swiss cheese on brown toast. Because I only had five bucks on me, I have to wait for coffee because I enjoy having that at my desk at work. I’d be there now except I forgot my key at home.
Friday the 13th. Why does this day strike fear into the modern heart (I can hear you, Suzy, “It doesn’t.”) Already today I’ve heard three random references to the date among people around me sipping lattes, carefully. I distinctly remember as a child being terrified that one year my birhday would fall on Friday the 13th. I was born on March 12.
What does this day mean to you now. Does Suzy cross the street to avoid walking under a ladder? I’m not sure. Maybe Friday the 13th is all about awareness of risk. But how do you measure risk these days? So I chew my food a few extra times, but I’m sitting in a cafe magically connected to the Internet where there is no Internet service. I clicked “Yes” when my Mac booted up and asked me if I wanted to to join an unfamiliar wireless network. Scary.
Paraskevidekatriaphobia: Fear of Friday the 13th. (Try saying that and chewing gum without choking to death)
Some info on today.
To the ancient Egyptians, we are told, life was a quest for spiritual ascension which unfolded in stages — 12 in this life and a 13th beyond, thought to be the eternal afterlife. The number 13 therefore symbolized death — not in terms of dust and decay, but as a glorious and desirable transformation. Though Egyptian civilization perished, the death symbolism they conferred on the number 13 survived, only to be corrupted by later cultures who associated it with a fear of death instead of a reverence for the afterlife.