I is for Idiosyncrasy

Isn’t ‘idiosyncrasy’ a great word? I remember, when I was much younger, thinking that it had something to do with the word ‘idiot’ and that you could insult someone by saying, “You’re so idiosyncratic!” Oh, me.

Idiosyncrasy is basically the concept of something being unique or peculiar to a thing or a person, but let’s face it, in a planet of 7 billion people, it’s kind of hard to be a special snowflake. Most of the things we consider idiosyncratic to ourselves – our little tics and weird habits – are often shared by loads of other people, which makes each one of us a little less weird than we think we are, and the general human population a LOT weirder than we consider it to be.

Still, it’s fun to list things out that you think define you, isn’t it? And then people can come over and be all, “Dude! I feel the exact same way about that!” or “Dude, that is SO bizarre!”, and it’s just a great conservation to have, basically. So, in that spirit, and propelled by the fact that I made a post like this EXACTLY eight years ago (to the date, you guys – isn’t that freaky?), here’s a list of things I consider my idiosyncrasies.

  • I cannot skim through books. I know people who read VERY fast, and I know they’re skimming, because it’s impossible to read everything that quickly, but I can’t do it, and especially not with books I’m reading. I feel like any line could contain a detail I wouldn’t want to miss, so often I’ll read a line, realise I’ve not registered any of it and read it over and over again until I do. This is also why it takes me very long to finish books.
  • I like going to restaurants with only one or two vegetarian options on their menu because then it saves me the trouble of choosing from a long list. I hate making decisions, especially regarding food.
  • Nothing sets my teeth on edge like an uncorrected typo or spelling mistake in my own writing, especially when I know other people are reading it. I always feel like someone’s going to judge me for it, even though they know I know the difference between ‘too’ and ‘to’ and just happened to make a mistake that one time.
  • I need things to be consistent. If I’ve changed the format of something (the way I name songs on my iTunes, the font on my blog, a filing system, whatever), I need to make sure all of it matches up. It’s taken me an extraordinary amount of self-control to not go back and format all my old posts so that they look exactly like the current ones, writing style included.
  • I need music when I’m exercising by myself, to the extent that if I find my phone doesn’t have enough battery to play music and recharging will take too long, I’ll just skip the exercise. (This actually explains a lot about my current physical state.)
  • Lines of dialogue get stuck in my head very quickly, so I can have entire chunks of conversation playing around in my head, completely free of context.
  • I can never finish marathoning a TV show without quitting at least once midway. If there’s a particular set of (more than four) episodes I need to get through, I am guaranteed to get sick of the show at some point and move on to some newer, funner thing before coming back and dealing with my ‘completitis’. (The need to complete the shows I’ve started watching no matter how terrible they get. I’m glad to report that I’m gradually getting over this and am now dropping shows left, right and centre if they start annoying me too much.
  • I once ate pineapple and had a bad reaction (probably due to it not having the thorny stuff removed completely), but now every time I eat pineapple, I always vaguely feel like my tongue has swollen up, even though I’m not allergic.
  • I can sleep with or without the air-conditioning on, but in either case, there needs to be a fan in the room. I need the ventilation and can’t sleep if I don’t feel the wind blowing across my face and body (but particularly my face). Additionally, I feel really weird sleeping without a blanket, so even if it’s hot, I’ll make it cold and then sleep with the blanket on instead of just not wearing one.
  • I hate when people eat food from a spoon and don’t clear the spoon with every mouthful. Like, when there’s bits of food still left behind after they’ve taken it out of their mouth? Bleargh.
  • It annoys me when people on TV shows brush their teeth without any water. I’m not even sure this is even possible in real life (is there a toothpaste equivalent of dry shampoo?), but when a character picks up his/her toothbrush, squeezes paste directly onto it, brushes, spits and then just leaves the bathroom without rinsing, it really, REALLY bugs me.
  • Because of my deep-rooted Indianness, I still find it hard to throw away plastic bags. I feel terribly wasteful if I throw a good, usable plastic bag into the bin.
  • I startle easily, and express this in the form of a short, shrill scream that is in no way proportional to the magnitude of the event that caused the startling. I have caused many a housemate to come rushing out in alarm only to realise that my screaming was caused by a dropped vegetable peel or some spilled water.
  • I love lists. Love them. I’ll make lists for everything, including things I need to make a list for. I also love checking things off a list, so sometimes I’ll include things I’ve already completed just so I can check it off.

I’ll stop now before I get carried away. Feel free to bunk these as idiosyncrasies by telling me whether you feel the same way about any of them, or better, sharing some of your own with me!

Just… don’t be such an idiosyncrat, OK?

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4 thoughts on “I is for Idiosyncrasy

  1. Rasheed Hooda April 10, 2015 / 10:55 pm

    I iften say, If you’re not weird, there is something wrong with you.

    My son says, “So, you’re unique. Just like everyone else. Wow! Now, weird, that’s something to be proud of.”

    • Clueless April 12, 2015 / 9:12 pm

      Heh, be weird, be proud, eh?

  2. peeves April 10, 2015 / 10:48 pm

    Well, perhaps each idiosyncrasy isn’t really as rare, but the particular combination of idiosyncrasies that you possess is something that is unique to you, or at least to a very small subset of people :).

    I didn’t realise you were this OCD! 😀

    • Clueless April 12, 2015 / 9:14 pm

      That’s a great way of putting it. 🙂

      Haha, I try not to use the term OCD to describe myself because I know there are people for whom that’s an actual condition that’s difficult to manage, and mine isn’t anywhere near that unmanageable, but yes, I do get a little Monica every once in a while. 😉

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