Monday, May 20, 2013

Are these weird writer things, or just weird things?

If there's one thing I've learned about writers, it's that we're all a little eccentric. This is probably true of many professions. I'm sure firefighters and teachers and nipple clamp testers have unique quirks of their own.

The quirks often have nothing at all to do with the profession, though I'd argue they probably equip the individual for success in his or her field. Over the last week, I decided to keep track of the things I said or thought or did and then scrunched up my forehead and thought, "was that weird?"

Then I tossed out the ones that are illegal in several states and came up with the following:
  • I hate shopping carts. I've reached the end of my grocery shopping mission when I exceed the limit of what I can carry in my arms or my reusable shopping bag. Not only do I hate using a shopping cart myself, but I can't stand encountering them in stores, and will deliberately avoid an aisle that's packed with them. It's not a germ issue, I swear. It's that they inhibit my ability to maneuver. Like if I were attacked on the grocery store aisle, I need to be able to whip out my ninja moves and escape. Ninjas don't use shopping carts.
  • Let's say I need to reheat my tea or defrost a frozen chicken breast. I can't just set the microwave for two minutes. It has to be something like 2:04 or 1:57. Round numbers are not acceptable.
  • If I see a penny on the sidewalk, I absolutely must pick it up. I have been known to halt my car at a stop sign, spot a penny in the crosswalk, and get out of the vehicle to claim it. If I don't do this, it will bother me for hours afterward, and my superstitious nature will convince me something awful is going to happen. Once I've acquired the penny, I must drop it down the front of my shirt to secure it in my bra. Inevitably, I forget I've done this and earn myself a strange look from my gentleman friend when I disrobe and reveal a filthy penny stuck to my boob.
  • I can't stand to have anyone touch the palm of my left hand. The right hand is just fine.
  • If I'm working at a computer, I must have a glass of ice water beside me at all times. The water level must remain above the halfway point, and the ice must make up approximately 50% of the volume. If either of these elements dips below acceptable levels, I must get up from my desk and refill. I've experimented with using different sized glasses, but the rule remains in place regardless of my chosen beverage receptacle.
Rereading that list, I guess some of them sound a little OCD. Huh. Now I need you to tell me your little eccentricities so I don't feel bad. Share them in the comments, and I'll pick a winner on Monday, May 27 to receive a signed copy of Believe it or Not (my romantic comedy packed with plenty of its own eccentricities).

So tell me – what little quirks do you have?


Patrick Alan said...

I've always followed the "step on a crack break your mother's back" theory and avoided cracks or even man made lines in concrete. I prefer to step on the tiles of a tile, so I really hate small tiled floors.

Sort of like Melvin Udall in As Good As It Gets, but not to such an extreme that I can't function.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I spent years working in retail, and now whenever I go shopping I find myself reshelving books when I go to bookstores or folding or hanging clothes up and putting them away; it always takes me a minute to realize that I don't have to do those things, because that's not my job anymore.

Skye said...

When I'm any place I have to wait: a waiting room, a line, inside the bathroom stall, I have to make patterns out of the tiles or lines or patternless linoleum. My eyes keep going around and around trying to form some sort of pattern. It bothers me if there is no pattern, or if there is a break in the pattern. OCD? Probably.

When I get a song stuck in my head, it won't be the whole song. Just a phrase. Repeated over and over in my head ad infinitum. Then I worry that I'm telling myself something and burning it into my brain pathways.

Michelle Wolfson said...

I always set my alarm clock for 7:32 or 8:06 like your microwave thing. I don't like round numbers either.

Karla Nellenbach said...

I empathize with your water thing. My big hang up: all books have to be in alphabetical (first by author's last name and then by title under the author's name). and, that's not just at my house, but EVERYWHERE. I've been known to spend a good ten minutes restacking the shelves at the library and even the book store because it just has to be in order. yup. that's me :)

Angel Nicholas said...

To list a few...
~ My hangers are all spaced exactly the same distance apart, and the clothes are hung by category (sleeveless, short-sleeved, sweaters, skirts, etc) and then by color.
~ Like Karla, my TBR pile (mountain would be more apt) is in alphabetical order. Unlike Karla, they are then put in order of release dates. Same goes for books I've already read and am keeping.
~ On my Starbucks coffee cup, the design logo of the sleeve must align precisely with the drink spout in the lid.

I'm pretty sure we're all plagued with issues. Whether we're willing to admit to them is another issue entirely. ;-)

Jess Huckins said...

Kind of like the palm-of-your-left-hand thing, I don't like it when someone rubs my arms. The repetitive motion drives me crazy.

I cannot flush the toilet with the lid up (unless I'm in a public bathroom where there is no lid, and then I flush and run as fast as possible).

I'm sure there are more, too.

Lara said...

I refuse to step on grates in the sidewalk. I will cross the street to avoid them. I don't like to drive over them either, much to the chagrin of anyone behind me.

Angela Perry said...

These are great!

I do the same thing as Patrick and avoid stepping on cracks.

It drives me nuts to have things off balance. It took me years to be able to wear my wedding ring without wearing a ring on my right hand too.

I love round numbers, but I hate the number 3. I can't eat just 3 of anything; it always has to be 2 or 4.

I should probably have posted this anonymously :D

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Let's see. I pick up pennies, too, but only if they're face up. If Abe's lying face down, I turn him over so the next person can claim the good luck.

I consider the time 12:34 "magic time", and get ridiculously tickled if I happen to see those numbers when I glance at the clock. Ergo, I schedule my blogposts to publish at 12:34 AM.

It's darned near impossible for me to walk over a footbridge without acting out the lines from "The Three Billy Goats Bluff." (Trip-Trap! Trip-Trap! Who's that walking on MY bridge?)

erin said...

LOL... unlike you.. I *have* to have even numbers. For years, my friends just thought I was being very generous but what I was doing was giving away the odd number of candy. I also have to have things in straight lines or piles. I can't stand clutter. Whenever I see sequential numbers on a clock i.e. 123, 1234, 234, 345, 456, I have to make a wish :)

Love your books!!!!!!!!!

Nettles said...

It's great to read that I'm not the only nutty writer on the loose.

I can't stop anywhere without checking out the people around me for little idiosyncrasies that I may use for my characters. Whether it be unique, unusual or downright strange, it gets writen in my dozens of note pads that I collect.

I hope my friends don't work out what I'm doing.

Rachell Hughes said...

The toilet paper has to be on the roll a certain way! The husband puts it on so it rolls under, I have to change it, so it rolls over. Another thing is I have to either use hand sanitizer or baby wipe to wash my hands in the car after shopping.

Lori Robinett said...

@Skye - OMG - you are in my head. We must be related. I do both those things: pattern in the linoleum/tile and one FREAKING line from a song will burn a path in my brain.

Also - I can't pass a turtle on the road. Have to turn around and help it across the road. If I don't, I worry about that little creature all day long.

Aurelia Blue said...

I can't stand to have my hair touch my ears or the back of my neck. Yet, I can't stand my hair short. But then, the clips, ties and other "pretties" are too pinchy and pully, so I end up trying to tie my hair in a knot to keep it up off my ears and neck. Especially when writiing.

Aurelia Blue said...

When my sister and I were little, we would love it when the clock showed the same number in succesion, ie: 4:44, 2:22, and would shout out, "Cherish this moment!" And then we'd have to stare at it until it changed to the next minute.

Our kids find this hilarious and often ask us if we need to cherish the moment when they notice it's 1:11 or 5:55.:)

Karyn said...

I can't get pre-acquainted with my food. If I have to handle raw meat before cooking it,  ewww, don't want to eat it once its done. Backyard garden with lettuce, peppers, and tomatoes?--like eating my own children, had to leave them for the bunnies and birds.  Pretty little herb garden on my windowsill?--felt like I was snipping off my loved one's appendages and eating the family pet. Said herb plants "accidentally" died from lack of watering instead. I'm deeply grateful to all those involved in the hands-on processes of growing, packaging, and delivering food to my suburban stores and restaurants so that I never have to meet my food at its source. 

Got the penny pick-up (it's like god is just giving me money!) and the odd microwave time (every second counts!) things too.

Shalet Jimmy said...

1 When new movies are released and any of the film gets mouth to mouth promotion, I prefer not to go for that movie and end up in seeing the wrong one. But that does not kept me away from going for the wrong one.

2. If I really have to make my creative juice flow, I have to go to a rest room, for it has always given me that space.

Keith said...

Two things. I always do up my pants before flushing. Whenever possible I always back into a parking spot. Both for the same reason. You might want to leave in a hurry.

Susan said...

I count stairs. I've tried not to, but I've done it all my life. I don't care how many stairs there are, or whether they're odd or even. It doesn't seem to matter whether I've counted the stairs before or not, either. If I'm on stairs, I count them. It's weird. I've tried not to do it but I can't help myself.

So, yeah. Stairs. Counting. Me.


Wow, these are all awesome, guys! I couldn't bring myself to choose, so I had to draw at random. Congrats to Lori Robinett! Send me your snail mail info at tawnafenske at yahoo dot com and I'll get that signed copy of BELIEVE IT OR NOT in the mail to you ASAP. Thanks, everyone, for sharing!