Break out good-luck charms for today--Friday the 13th


Have you noticed people driving better today? Seen anyone walking around sewer grates instead of over them? Are co-workers hiking up 12 flights of stairs instead of waiting for the elevator? Is it just a coincidence, or do some people take this Friday the 13th business seriously?

Jimmy Bigiaditis isn't taking any chances. While making his commute this morning from Essex to downtown Baltimore, he won't be breaking the speed limit on the Beltway. "I'm going to take my time this morning," says Mr. Bigiaditis, who is a hot dog vendor on the corner of North Calvert and East Saratoga streets.

A native of Greece, Mr. Bigiaditis was not aware of the stigma surrounding this date until he moved to the United States 10 years ago. "People have told me I can have bad luck today, so I am going to be careful."

AFriday the 13th affects different people in different ways. While some are watching out for black cats crossing their paths and hoping they don't break any mirrors, others take it in stride.

"It's just another day," explains Pat Jones of Baltimore. She suspects, however, that if something unfortunate were to happen to her on a Friday the 13th, she might change her mind.

Just ask Edith Boucherd about unlucky 13ths. "I was in a car accident once on a Friday the 13th," recalls Ms. Boucherd, a Missouri resident in Baltimore this week for a convention. Although it was only a minor accident, the experience has made her extra cautious. "I won't be getting in any elevators or cars today -- especially if the weather is bad."

Traveling thousands of miles above ground is one activity triskaidekaphobics -- those who fear the number 13 -- are likely to avoid today. "You wouldn't catch me in an airplane!" says one construction worker outside the USF&G; building downtown.

You might find Cockeysville resident David Mercadante on a plane today, but he won't be without his lucky black underwear. "By chance I wore them a few years ago on Friday the 13th and I played a terrific game of basketball that day," explains Mr. Mercadante. "I've been wearing them every Friday the 13th since."

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