Anyone who knows me for even a short period of time knows I am a highly quirky person. My brother is the same way, and we wear our quirks like badges of honor. Since we’re both this way, I can only assume we get it honestly. Our parents are, after all, not without a few quirks of their own.
Dad doesn’t get on the Internet much, and I doubt he knows I have a blog. I could easily talk about his quirks all I want without his ever knowing. However, Mom does get online frequently, and she would never forgive me if I talked about hers. So I’ll give my parents a free pass and not talk about them.
But let it be known – they are the Source!
My quirks are deeply rooted in my personality. They aren’t fleeting moments of oddity. They are a 24/7 reality of who I am, what I do and what makes me want to punch random people in the throat with brass knuckles when they violate one of my quirky rules (yes, there are rules).
1. Do not smack when you eat. This is common to many people, which is why I start with it. My feelings about smacking go beyond the person who is openly rude and smacks like a dog with peanut butter stuck to the roof of his mouth.
I’m 100% intolerant of any unnecessary noise. And unless you’re eating something overly crunchy or mushy, pretty much any noise you make is inexcusable. If you’re someone who has an excess of spit at all times and you’re rolling your food around in your mouth and it sounds like a washing machine churning dirty clothes while you chomp away, please do not expect me to stick around. If I do, I have no doubt it will soon become obvious that I am struggling to decide if I should cry, scream or both.
It is, therefore, necessary to the preservation of whatever relationship we have that I remove myself from the situation. It’s not personal. It’s just me.
2. Grass and my feet must never touch. EVER. This is not negotiable. The one and only way this is an option is that someone I love is in dire trouble, and the absolute only way they can be saved is for me to walk on the grass with my bare feet. People can make fun all they want (and they frequently do). I’ve been this way since I was a kid, and I don’t see it changing any time soon.
3. When I throw away an empty water bottle, I have to make sure there is no water left in the bottle. It is impossible for me to throw it away otherwise. If, for some reason, I ever did happen to throw one away, I have no doubt I would go to the kitchen later to correct my mistake. The quirky part is that I do it because I think of how long it takes water bottles to biodegrade, and that little bit of water is trapped inside and unable to get out. Pouring it down the sink isn’t helping Mother Earth either, but it makes me feel better.
4. Your best manners must be used at all times. I don’t care if you are at Burger King or the Russian Tea Room, the same rules apply. Keep your fingers out of your food unless what you are eating is meant to be picked up. Use your knife if you need a “pusher.” Do not hold up your soup bowl to drink from it. Use your spoon or simply let that last drop go. You will get to eat again. And please, please, please don’t shovel it into your smacking mouth so quickly that you are done before anyone else can get started. Slow down. No one is going to take it away from you. Except me, perhaps, if you don’t slow down.
Using good manners goes beyond the table, though. Say, “thank you” when someone does something nice like hold a door. I don’t care if you know them. Gratitude does not require personal knowledge of the person at whom it is directed. Be aware that other people are out enjoying themselves, too, and they may not want to hear your phone go off every five seconds. At least lower the volume.
And if you think your kids’ running around and screaming isn’t being noticed or isn’t that annoying, you are wrong. Discipline your child and teach them how to act in public. I suggest you use yourself as an example.
5. I run water over the plates and bowls when I put them in the sink and am not going to immediately wash them. Randall thinks this is a quirk, but I don’t. I see it as being responsible and saving myself time and trouble later. When I asked him about my quirks, he mentioned it, so it’s on the list.
6. He also says that turning off the light when I leave the room is a quirk. I disagree with that, too, but since he mentioned it, it’s going on the list. I see/pay the electricity bill each month. There is no reason to make it higher than it has to be. If you’re not in the room, turn off the light unless you’re immediately returning. If it’s going to be a little while before you return, turn it off. Every time. Do it, or I will come eye-rollingly behind you and do it myself.
Okay, so maybe that is a little quirky.
7. When Sarah was little, she had bottles that were green, blue and pink. The caps matched, and never – not once – did I put a cap on a bottle if it didn’t match. I have been known to wash the bottles just to make sure there was a bottle to match the available cap, even if there were already others that were clean. I have no idea why. It just makes sense to me.
8. Similarly, the crust on bread should match up. If someone were to bring me a sandwich that wasn’t perfectly matched up, it wouldn’t bother me, but if I’m the one who gets to make the sandwich it will always match.
My brother has to nibble all four corners of sliced cheese before he puts it on his sandwich. Always. If someone else makes the sandwich and brings it to him, I have no doubt he will open it, nibble the corners and put it back.
9. The bathroom and the kitchen must be clean, especially if someone is coming to visit. Oddly, it doesn’t bother me at all to go to someone else’s house and see that they haven’t done their dishes or that their bathroom is cluttered or needs a good wipe-down. It only bothers me when other people come to my house and see that I have temporarily retired my Super Mom alter ego and let things slide for a while. This is horrifyingly, not-to-be-soon-forgotten embarassing to me.
10. No one is allowed to hear me sing. It’s something I love to do, but I am, sadly, not good at it. It’s a talent I so wish I had, but since I don’t, I refuse to allow anyone to hear me sing. Maybe it goes back to always wanting to do my best? I have no idea. I just know that even though I love to sing, I keep it to myself and spare others the ear-cracking tunelessness.
11. When I walk up stairs, I count them every time. It doesn’t matter if I’ve gone up the same set of stairs a dozen times that day already. They will get counted every time.
12. The word “irregardless” does not exist outside Jimmy Fallon’s Boston-inspired skit on “Saturday Night Live.” Along those same lines, the acronym PIN should never be followed by the word “number.” By saying this, you are saying, “personal identification number number.” When I hear either of these things, I have to fight the urge to correct the person who said it (and my correction would not be pleasant nor relationship-sustaining). One of these days I will lose that fight, regardless of how much I try. Regardless. Remember that word. Use it correctly. Thanks.
I’ll stop here. There are people who have a quirk about the number 13. I’m not one of them, but, as you can see, I’m not one to point fingers and question others’ quirks.
I embrace my quirks. They’re just part of who I am, and I’m not sure even a psychiatrist could break them down into reasonable components and explain the origins. What are yours? Do you have to do things in even numbers? Are you like me and think grass and feet should never come in contact?
Be who you are, whoever that is. And be happy with your quirkly little lot in life. Quirkiness is a badge of honor. Wear it proudly.