People are strange. For the most part, we are strange in ways that aren't too dissimilar. Yes, we have our preferences, but most of our behaviors fall within a certain spectrum of predictability.
That said, we are also all different in unique ways. Everyone has something about them that seems completely foreign to their friends. So what is it that makes you unique? Do you have habits that people think are weird?
I have a lot of weird habits. I like to think it's what makes me interesting, but it might just make me weird.
Here are a few:
I imaginarily type out words as I hear them
This is a very strange, and I sometimes wonder if people know I do it. I started doing it when I was a lot younger. I didn’t learn to type until around 8th grade, so it must have been after that. But I remember trying to figure out if I could play a song on the piano—without the piano. It was harder than I thought it would be but I kept practicing the song for many days, miming the pressure of the keys with my fingers, realizing that without the actual piano it was very hard to mimic the rhythm of what it’s like to play the instrument.
Once I mastered the miming of the song on the piano (I can’t remember the name of the song, but I can still mime some of it), I switched to pretending that I was typing words on a keyboard. Soon I was doing it to see how fast I could type. So now, when I’m watching TV or a movie, or sometimes even talking to someone, I often try to keep up with the words by fake typing. Weird, I know.
I crack my hip
It’s a dancer thing. Many dancers do it, so the only thing that makes it a quirky habit is that, outside the dance world, most people don’t do it. It certainly looks awkward. It sort of looks like I am about to pee on something, but that's because of the angle that my leg needs to be in to get my hip to pop. I grab one of my knees, lifting it to the side of my body and then hinge forward from the waist. I don’t know if you can correctly visualize what this looks like, but I can tell you that when I do it in public, I often get stares. The very loud popping sound that comes from my hip also usually gets a reaction.
I obsessively clean out my wallet
I have a small wallet. I bought it in Japan and, although it's not the smallest wallet I’ve ever seen, it doesn’t hold much beyond a few credit cards and some bills and maybe a few coins. I clean it out—constantly. I go through and take out all the change, any receipts, and most of the one dollar bills so that it doesn’t get too crowded.
I sometimes do this several times a day. I don’t like having to search for things, and watching other people go through their gigantic over-stuffed wallets makes me uncomfortable. My daughter Malia’s wallet probably weighs about 5 pounds and has stuff in it that she hasn’t touched in years. It's actually hard for me to look at her wallet. My wallet is probably missing some things that should be in there but, whatever, I’ve survived so far.
I had a lot of trouble rising to Mara's challenge of coming up with quirky habits (I must be "very dull indeed" to quote from Jane Austen's Emma on the 200th anniversary of her death that many people have been writing about this week). At last, though, I came up with three things.
If I can't sleep in the early morning, I pretend to sleep
I made up this quirky rule when I became chronically ill. I'm not allowed to get out of "sleep mode" until at least 7 1/2 hours after I turn off the lights at night. This is because if I sleep 7 1/2 hours, I have a good chance of feeling a bit refreshed when I get up. So, if it's only been 6 1/2 hours since I turned out the lights but I'm wide awake, I have to lie in bed for another hour pretending to sleep. Somehow, thinking that I've been asleep for 7 1/2 hours makes me feel better the next day (at least psychologically). I may not have actually been sleeping all those hours, but a girl can hope, can't she!
I have an unusual relationship to audiobooks
It's hard for me to read, so I listen to audiobooks. But I listen to them the way people listen to music they love—over and over again. Think of the last piece of music that was new for you and that you loved. You didn't just listen to it once; you listened to it over and over. This is what I do with my favorite books.
Instead of listening to new books that people keep telling me I simply have to read, you'll find me listening to an EM Forster or a Somerset Maugham novel or to a P.D. James mystery for the umpteenth time, even though I know everything that happens in them. Right now, I'm listening to Carol Shields' Unless for the fifth or sixth time. I learn something new every time I re-listen to a book I love.
I sleep with a pillow over my head
Ah, pillows. Let me count. I use five of them for sleeping or napping, and each one has to be in a particular position. It's true that two of those positions are helpful medically, like the one I put between my legs to keep my spine straight. But where did I come up with the ridiculous idea that I can't sleep unless I have a pillow over my head? I have this standard-sized pillow that's so thin that it lies quite nicely over my head, whether I'm sleeping on my side or on my back. I have no idea where I got the pillow and I doubt I could fine another one, so I'm always mending the seams on it before covering with a pillow case just how worn-out it looks.
P.S. A word to the wise: don't mess with my pillows!
What about you? What are your quirky habits?