I perform a subtle but important maneuver as I step onto the plane in San Diego. Headed home after a 24 hour trip, I place my hand on the outside of the aircraft as if bracing myself before I cross the threshold into the fuselage.  I hope nobody notices as I move on to find my seat.

It’s a superstition – and it’s a little embarrassing.

Had the brothers been with me, they would have yelled, “Don’t forget to touch the plane, Mom!!”  And they also would have done so – not so subtly I might add.  Dave would have joined as well.  I have passed this ritual on to the entire family. 

I can’t even remember how it started but somewhere in my mind there is a little voice that tells me that this tiny action will keep the plane safe.  I have been doing it for years. Rather than question – or worse, test – the logic of my actions, I succumb to this little case of OCD every time I travel.  Truthfully, I’m extremely thankful that the voice does not tell me that I need to cluck like a chicken and turn around 5 times before getting on the plane to keep it safe.  The boys would love that one.

It doesn’t stop there.

I also am a big “knocker on wood.”  Only it doesn’t have to be wood.  I just knock on something.  While I was out in San Diego at a dinner, the host was talking to me about the likelihood of an earthquake – and remarked how low the odds are that we would ever die in one.  We were standing in the middle of a courtyard, and I immediately looked around for something to knock on.  Nothing. The insecure feeling of not performing the ritual was strong, but fleeting.  I’m only superstitious if being that way doesn’t completely embarrass me.  I gather that confession might get me kicked out the Superstitious Anonymous club for lack of commitment.

Here’s one more:  I never make bold statements about success until that success is history.  And if you are in my company, and make statements such as:

It’s going to be great weather!
Traffic is non-existent!
Attendance will be strong!
This legislation is definitely going to go our way!

I will make you take it back – out loud – and apologize to the universe for making assumptions.  

So I ask myself:  Why do I do these things?  Am I mildly superstitious – or mildly obsessive compulsive?  I wonder if control freaks Type As are more prone to engage in these rituals as a means of coping with a lack of control.  I must say touching the outside of that plane gives me comfort – and while admittedly odd – I don’t see much wrong with that.

I do hope that my boys don’t inherit my habits if for no other reason than it’s kind of a burden to be responsible for keeping planes safe, deadly earthquakes from occurring and traffic from stopping.  With the exception of the “plane touching” thing, which they do for fun, I think they are superstition free. 

Knock on wood.

Are you superstitious?  Do you engage in silly rituals?  Or is it all a bunch of malarkey?
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