Friends,The escalinata (stairway) connecting Cuenca’s historic downtown to the Tomebamba river bank has 88 steps —the same number as keys in a piano. Counting them (stairs, not keys) helps keep my mind off the arduous 60 foot climb. Five flights between landings of 17, 18, 18, 12 and 23 steps respectively. After counting to 88 a few times, the number starts bouncing around in my head. Wasn’t that the speed professor Brown’s DeLorean reached for time travel in Back to the Future? Maybe, instead of OUTATIME, a better vanity license plate might have been “88MPH ”. Now, getting the number eighty eight on your license plate will cost a pretty penny in China and is impossible in Austria —for different reasons. In China, it summons fate (lucky eight). In Austria it screams out hate (father state). As for the piano, an octave has a dozen notes —the same number as donuts in a box, yet 88 isn’t a multiple of 12. I suppose Steinway wanted to throw in four baker’s dozens when they settled on that number (for keys, not donuts) back in the 1880s.
P.S. If you’re looking for a song to start your day, might I suggest 88 lines about 44 women by The Nails?