Where’s the 13th Floor?

I was in an elevator a few weeks ago, and noticed there was no 13th floor. I know that some building owners are superstitious and consider 13 an unlucky number, but just because there wasn’t a 13th floor listed does not mean the 13th floor didn’t exist. In this case (a hotel with 15 floors), if you’re staying on the 14th floor, guess what? You’re really staying on the 13th floor, sucker. Calling it something different doesn’t mean it’s not there. It is, under a different name, to make those with triskadaphobia feel happy.

Just because it isn't listed doesn't mean it's not there.
Just because it isn’t listed doesn’t mean it’s not there.

I’ve always felt bad for the number 13. It gets such a bad rap, and I’m not even sure why. There is some argument that Judas was seated 13th at the table during the Last Supper, but the Bible doesn’t talk about a seating order and makes no mention of 13 being an unlucky number. In Norse mythology, the 13th god – Loki – son of Odin (another god) and brother of Thor (another god) – murdered Baldr, another god, and was the 13th to arrive at the funeral. I find that a pretty flimsy excuse to shun the number 13, because the Vikings had so many gods to worship already, would the loss of one really put a dent in their ability to pray? I would gladly stay on the 13th floor of that hotel. Room 1313, ideally. Bring it on!

The world is a crazy place. The things we do or say to make ourselves feel better, huh? Fate is going to do what Fate is going to do, regardless of our efforts to step in and intervene.

I was thinking about all of this recently because I often marvel how my life turned out so perfectly, despite every effort on my part to go down a different path. Had things turned out the way I wanted them to a few years ago, I’d have ended up with somebody else. And would now be a widower. She passed away earlier this year, and unbeknownst to either of us, had been suffering from a fatal illness for years. Ironically enough, that same person prevented me from pursuing yet another path that would have left me feeling unhappy and trapped. I can only shake my head in wonder. If you ever read Stephen King’s 11/22/63, it suggests the idea that there is a Master Plan, and despite how hard you try to alter the course Fate has laid out for you, it will make every effort to right itself so the end result is exactly as intended. In this book, “the Past harmonizes,” making it very challenging for the protagonist to change the future (in this case, prevent Kennedy’s assassination). It’s a fascinating theory, and one of the more provocative King novels ever written. I mean, maybe the Present harmonizes, too.

There’s a reason why I included a mention of Fate in my wedding vows.

I know I’ve talked about all this stuff before, and it may sound like I’m beating a dead horse. It’s just that, I have these moments of clarity where I realize how I’ve dodged multiple bullets over the past few years, and it sometimes leaves me shaky. Because I came so close to having a life that wouldn’t have made me happy. I see that now. I didn’t then. It’s pretty scary.

I think I’m just extra happy and really excited lately because our trip to Denver is now a mere five days away! One week from this very moment we’ll be in the crowd at Mile High Stadium, watching the Broncos kick some Redskins butt. In person. Talk about a dream come true. This whole vacation is going to be amazingly fun, and I. Cannot. Wait!!!

And as Tara says, every day we spend together is a blast, even when we don’t do anything special. Yesterday, we did. We drove to Hood River for the Fruit Loop – a meandering drive through the countryside, with stops at various farms and orchards for all kinds of harvesty goodness. Apples, pears, jam, cider, baked goods. Last year it was cold and wet. This year, sunny, mild, and dry. The weather may not have felt fall-like, but we had an amazing view of Mt. Hood, and were able to walk through a corn maze without getting muddy. We even stopped in at Cathedral Ridge Winery for some wine tasting, and on the way home, saw a gigantic 70 y/o sturgeon at a fish hatchery. It was the perfect day.

Hope you had a nice weekend, too!

Mount Hood on a sunny Autumn afternoon.
Mount Hood on a sunny Autumn afternoon.

Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

12 thoughts on “Where’s the 13th Floor?

  1. You know Mark, I always wondered about the whole ‘no 13th floor’ in a building and thought, “Where the hell did that superstition even come from?”

    I kinda like odd numbers myself. In fact, my personal number (date of birth combination) equals a 5.

    ” Fate is going to do what Fate is going to do, regardless of our efforts to step in and intervene.”

    I’m with you! I believe that regardless of my effort, there are certain things that are GOING to happen to me because of my fate. This is why I follow my life, rather than make my life follow me.

    I’ve never read that Stephen King book, but that you mentioned it, I’m going to.

    Sounds like you and Tara had a super weekend.

    And seriously Mark, that photo ROCKS! It’s breathtaking, buddy!



  2. I love this post because I am a huge believer in Fate. While I am still trying to figure out what the Master Plan is for me every time something doesnt work out the way I had hoped I stick to my faith in fate and push forward. This post has renewed my faith in Fate and couldnt have come at a better time!


  3. I remember being a kid and trying to figure out the whole 13 floor thing and wondering why folks didn’t understand that 14 was really 13 anyway. I wondered if maybe I was missing something–cause grownups were supposed to be smarter than that! Yeah, right!!!!

    Congrats on your upcoming trip. Sounds fun. And I love the photo!

    Hugs from Ecuador,


  4. I loved 11/22/63! Besides The Stand, I think it was one of my favorite Stephen King books. I love them all, but these 2 a little more. I have been hearing a lot of hoopla about the name Redskins lately, hope it doesn’t spoil the game you have been anticipating for so long. Glad you had a great weekend!


    1. Agreed! Those are my 2 favorite Stephen King books, hands down. I just started reading Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining, but am only one chapter in so it’s too early to tell how that one will rank.

      The Redskins’ possible name change won’t affect our game at all. I just want a lot of action and a big Broncos win!


  5. Just flew back from a work trip (mis-dated blog to follow shortly, lol) and I was in seat 14A. Which is really 13A, of course.

    AND, it was the seat right over the wing, though I never saw anything out there trying to dismantle us in-flight. Which would have been considerably more exciting than being in seat 13-but-not.


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