magic carpets, graveyards, magpies and other childhood rituals

Rug in my parents' kitchen (outtake from the book).  Photographed with Nikon D300, 60mm macro lens.

When my sister and I were kids, we used to pretend that the rugs in our house were magic carpets.  Or sometimes we'd pretend they were rafts, and the floor was actually a shark-infested ocean.  One false step on the tile, and the hapless sister would be devoured by Jaws, rendering the second sister Supreme Empress and Indisputable Ruler of the Remote Control.

When I was in junior high, if any of my friends noticed that a girl's clasp on her necklace had worked its way around to the front,  she was quick to tell the necklace-wearer that she needed to kiss the clasp and make a wish, before returning it to the nape of her neck.  Related:  if the clasp came around to the front via the wearer's right side, it meant someone was thinking about her.  If it came around via the left, it meant someone was in love with her.

When in the car, if driving past a graveyard, all the occupants of the car were supposed to hold their breath until the car was safely past the graveyard.  If you took a breath before passing, you would be the next person to die.

When on field trips, if the vehicle we were in drove over train tracks, each occupant of the vehicle were required to cross her fingers on both hands, kiss them, touch the roof of the vehicle with her crossed fingers, pick her feet up off the floor and make a wish.  This was particularly difficult if (a) you were in a school bus, or (b) once of age, you were actually driving the car.

I told Marcus about these rituals, and the only odd thing he remembers doing is saluting a magpie every time he saw one.  He still does this, actually, whenever we're in England.  I have no idea why.

How about you -- any odd childhood rituals or superstitions you used to cling to? (Or, secretly, still do?)


Song: Superstition by Stevie Wonder