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Friday, May 17, 2013

OT: Yes, I know I'm weird

I've made no secret of the fact that I'm, to use a popular euphemism, quirky. I am a person of odd rituals and comforting routines, bordering on OCD. A lot of these habits revolve around food, because I have a history of eating disorders. It's not always easy, but I've learned to live with it, and a lot of the time, I forget just how odd I might seem to others. Until someone points it out.

On Wednesdays, I take a class at a branch of my gym that is right near a mall. So every couple of Wednesdays or so, I stop by this mall, which has a Sweet Factory, and get a supply of chocolate malt balls. Now, when most people go into a self-serve candy shop, they go to their chosen bin, stick the scoop into the gumballs or chocolate-covered gummy bears or what have you, and fill their bag. Not me. I take one bag, open the bin of dark chocolate malt balls, and carefully count out 20 of them. I shuffle through and make sure I choose the biggest ones. Then I take another bag, open the bin of milk chocolate malt balls, and do the exact same thing. Twenty each.

I've been doing this for a long time, and didn't think much of it. Until last Wednesday, when the perky young thing behind the counter recognized me. "You're always here on Wednesdays, aren't you!" she chirped. OK, she remembered me; no biggie there. But after I got my candy and came to the counter, she cocked her head and asked, "Do you always count them?"

I was so taken aback, all I could do was stammer, "Um, yeah." She added, "I see you doing that and I was just wondering!" I mumbled something about portion control and she burbled, "Well, that's great, you're keeping your weight down!" No, Miss Bubbles, it's not about that. It's about control, period. It's about knowing exactly how much I'm eating, because I have to keep track of it. When I left, I felt like I never wanted to go back, I was so embarrassed at being caught at my ritualizing by a stranger.

It's not just about the food, though. I've always been this way, as far back as I can remember. My mother said when I was very small, I'd get upset and cry if she changed the furniture or the knick-knacks around. "It doesn't go there," I'd sob. Where does that come from? Also when I was little, the housekeeper/nanny used to bring me a cup of warm milk every night just before I went to sleep. Except when she had the night off; then my mother would bring it. And inevitably, she'd put the milk in a glass. Warm milk is warm milk, right? Tastes the same, despite its vessel? Not for me. I was thrown by this. After all, everyone knows that only cold beverages go in drinking glasses, and hot ones go in cups. Why couldn't she see that?

I love The Big Bang Theory. Talk about quirkiness! And yes, I relate to Sheldon. Certain foods that go with the days of the week? Check. Scheduling everything? Check. Hating change? Check. Fortunately, I don't share his disdain for all things affectionate and intimate. And I don't schedule my bowel movements like he does. Although I probably would, if I were physically capable of doing so.

I have annoyed and baffled people most of my life. Referring to any one of my "quirks," my mother would say, "Don't do that. People will think you're weird." Guess what, Ma? I am.

Friends/family/co-workers didn't get me at all. I gave up on being understood long ago, because I didn't even understand myself. One man, many years ago, said something so unkind, I never forgot it. "People say you're difficult, but they're wrong. You're not difficult; you're impossible."

Then I met John.

John, too, is quirky in his own way. But one oddball doesn't always necessarily accept another. Accept. That was a word I didn't become familiar with until the past 20 years or so. I wanted so badly to be understood. Screw understanding. You don't have to understand me; just accept me. John was the first man in my life to give me this.

Not quite at first. I remember the first time, very early in the relationship, that we went for Chinese food. This restaurant provided calorie info, and I ordered deliberately, choosing a half-order of a main dish and a half-order of broccoli and mushrooms, knowing the total calorie count of both. When the food arrived, John did what people do at Chinese restaurants: he picked up my dish of vegetables and started spooning them onto his plate. Then he looked at me and his hand froze.

He said I had a stricken look on my face; I'd literally gone white. "Is this not OK?" he asked.

I was mortified. "Well," I stammered, feeling like an idiot, "it's just that I know exactly how many calories I'm eating, and if you take some of it, then I won't know..." My voice trailed off as I realized how insane I sounded.

The look on his face was puzzled, to say the least. But all he did was scrape the vegetables off his plate and back onto the serving dish, and hand it over to me. That was the beginning of acceptance.

We get each other. We share some of the same quirks; in others, we differ. He doesn't have all my food weirdness. But he, too, is highly ritualized, has his own routines and must-dos. And while he can tease me affectionately about my oddities, he will not allow others to do so. If someone in his family, for example, makes a comment about my food issues, he will firmly say, "You don't get to give her a hard time about that. That's just the way she is."

Same thing goes for him. He'll be doing something or another in his routine fashion and ask, "Am I OCD, sweetie?" I'll answer, "Yes, honey. You are. But it's OK, so am I." There is affection and acceptance in our teasing, not ridicule.

We go for the same brunch every Sunday. We always request the same server, and she never brings us menus. In fact, she puts in our order as soon as she sees us come in. Because it never changes. And we both have our oddities around it. I cannot stand to have my pancakes on the same plate as my eggs and other stuff, because I don't like the syrup getting into the other food. Our server knows this. But a couple of weeks ago, another server brought the food, and there were my pancakes, crammed onto the same plate. I managed to take a breath and then quietly say, "May I have another plate, please?" When she walked away, John said my face was, once again, horror-struck. But he wasn't judging. He has his own shtick. Sometimes, the server will bring his omelet and say, "English muffin's coming, John." He_will_not start eating his other food until the muffin arrives. He just won't. And I get it.

Sometimes I wonder -- how many people are like me? Somewhat, at least. Are there others out there with routines and rituals, with the need for sameness? Is spontaneity, which is anathema to me, something that everyone else is capable of embracing?

I never thought I'd meet someone who would so thoroughly get me, like John does. And sometimes, I think he's the only one who does, because he's just as much an oddball as I am. But that's ridiculous. Still, after nearly 17 years, he's seen a whole hell of a lot of oddball behavior from me, more than any other person has. And he's still here.

He is not well. I know this. He hasn't been well for some time now; ever since that incident a couple of years ago, his malfunctioning heart valve has weakened further. The time is approaching when he's going to have to seriously consider surgery. Ironically, he's in the best physical condition he's been in since I've known him. He works out every day and is fit and strong; his blood pressure, pulse and cholesterol are low. But he is tired all the time. His heart has to work so much harder to compensate for the defective valve, and it's exhausting.

Next month, he's going for an angiogram. It's a lengthy test and he won't be able to drive himself home, so he's going to take a cab to the hospital early in the morning and I will pick him up sometime that afternoon. Last night, we were discussing it on the phone, and he started talking about advance directives  and power of attorney, and what I should do in case there's some sort of emergency, and asked me if I'd research about documents regarding this stuff. And I burst into tears. I don't want to have to think about this. I don't. I don't. But sooner or later, I will have to. More changes and disruptions, and more things to fear. 

John, bless his heart, even apologized to me, saying he knows that having to pick him up at the hospital next month will "disrupt my routine." Who else would do that, but someone who completely accepts me and knows I can't help the way I am? Does anyone else like this exist, really?

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, kids. Maybe I'm just trying to figure out if I'm as alone in my oddness as I think, or if others get it too. Because sometimes, I am so very afraid. Especially when I consider that I will, more than likely, outlive the person who knows me better than I know myself.

Thanks for reading, if you managed to get this far. On a positive note, I got Chrossed today. It's the weekend and I'm heading for John's later. And Monday, I get to see Mr. D, who feeds my soul in special and needed ways, too.

Have a great weekend, y'all.


  1. I'm a creature of habit. I don't always notice it about myself, but my mother points it out and she's right. I don't like change. I like places and things and people to stay the same. I almost always order the same thing every time I go to a restaurant. So, no, I'd say you're not alone at all :)


  2. I have quirks too. G. still thinks I'm weird because I have to eat M&Ms in a certain order. He says, "It's not like they taste different, I could understand it then." It's not about that. I have a certain order I eat them in, to the point where I can't eat them if I go to see a movie because I can't tell the colors apart. I also like to eat them by two's if at all possible. I have a SERIOUS thing about even numbers, and it's not that I freak out if things are an odd number, but I'll try to even things up if I can. I can adapt to change EVENTUALLY, but I'm not thrilled with major upheavals in what I'm used to. If G. and I had to change our nights on the phone to different ones, I could handle that, but if we had to get rid of one night for some reason I would not do well for quite a while. I feel weird on the rare nights when we can't do it on the night we normally do (like if he goes to Worldcon and I can't manage it that year). I also have to have the seam on paper cups at the BACK, directly across from me, not at an angle, not on the side. 180 degrees from where my mouth is. I can't drink FROM the seam. I'm weird that way. LOL So no, you're not the only one who's got weirdness to deal with!

  3. I'm more preoccupied with keeping my health intact. I start to fret when it's time for various annual appts due to minor concerns that have manifested and been addressed over the years. I get scared that what if THIS (every) year there's something more serious to address.

  4. Em -- it's a little uncomfortable when others point it out, no? It is for me.

    Jen -- I have more methods and orders around food than I care to mention. So thank you! The M&Ms cracked me up. I have to eat my malt balls in order, too -- always alternating one dark, one milk.

    Kelly -- that's a real fear, considering all the things that can go wrong. All we can do is practice preventive maintenance and hope for the best.

    1. I think for me it depends on who it is and how they point it out. My friends all know that I'm a bit of a picky orderer at restaurants, and it's something we joke about. I like that they know me well enough to know my quirks. I think if we were all the same the world would be pretty boring. So I try to embrace my little oddities.

    2. What drives me crazy is when they decide they need to change colors in the M&Ms. The holiday ones especially require logistics to figure out how to eat a whole new set of colors! Regular ones, it's dark brown first, then blue, then red, then either orange or yellow. That depends on how many there are of each. The one with the fewest gets eaten first. Then the green ones. I had to change when they got rid of the light brown ones and changed to blue, because the light brown ones came after the dark brown ones.
      I can totally understand about eating the malt balls like that. They have to come out even!

    3. I refuse to eat blue m&ms. I never got over the other brown being replaced by them ;)

    4. What do you do with them? Give them to somebody else who isn't resentful? LOL

  5. we all have quirks , for example . when you drive to work you go one route , when you drive home you take a different route ...... Most people dont stop and think about it , but most who drive Do it ..

    The real question is , when you miscount and realize you have 21 in the bag .. do you get a spanking ? lololol

  6. D -- no. That wouldn't be appropriate.

  7. Erica, I completely relate to your quirks. I was the same way as a child and, to an extent, I'm still very much a creature of habit and control. It's something which seems to come and go in my life (I have periods of rigid structure and periods of relative free-form activity.) Most of us, I believe, have little rituals and set patterns. Some people are just better than others at accepting a break in the routine. In short, I think you're not at all abnormal in your OCD-style quirks.
    Personally, I don't think you should feel self conscious about someone noticing you always count your chocolates. I used to work retail and I can tell you there are _always_ regular customers (my guess is about 10% of people) who get the same thing each time, who count things, who know all the prices of their preferred items. It's nothing to be ashamed of. You know what you like and how you like it, nothing wrong with that!

  8. Anonymous -- thank you. :-) Relative free-form activity -- oh lord, what IS that?? (sigh)

  9. Erica,
    For me relative free-form activity usually means travel. Like when you go to events/parties, or wandering without a specific goal in mind. ... On my more rigid days it means eating my rice without worrying if I have consumed an even number of rice grains.

  10. Erica, you are as normal as 'apple pie'. I say this because you are the 'spple of my eye' are delicious treat so to speak. The other day on one of the 'spanking tube' videos, I saw a movie called. "STAND CORRECTED", starring that ever popular ERICA SCOTT, with DAVIN O'NEIL. You can guess why I liked it. Besides the many spankings that you were given by him, on that voluptous naked rear end of yours. You wore several varieties of garter-belt and stockings, that clearly enhanced, that sexually erotic, naked derriere of yours. Thank you my dear. IT MADE MY DAY. XXX Luv ya.

  11. Excuse me... think you're alone?
    I think the difference is between those people who are and those who are not strong enough to share and discuss their quirks.

  12. Hi Erica -- I am glad you brought up this subject, I have had problems with change my whole life,I don't like it when people change cause I want them to stay the same.I have my food quirks too and when someone makes mean comments about me,because of that it makes me annoyed and sad.No one has ever understood me either.You are NOT weird :-) I so get where you are coming from.Right now I am having more problems with change,My Aunt dying from cancer has really screwed up my mind :-( It's so hard living without her, it feels strange and I am having problems accepting it. I wish John the best of look with his test at the hospital.I also send good wishes and thoughts to you, I know you will be nervous and that's a perfectly normal reaction.Much Love and hugs from naughty girl Jade

  13. Erica, we all have quirks, routines and rituals which help define our uniqueness and make us special, especially to our significant other. That perky princess is the candy store should have her butt smacked for making you feel that dreadful embarrassment. I hate when I am checking out in the grocery store and the clerk looks over my items and comments "Oh, this looks good." or "I hate mushrooms so could never eat this." or asks "Is this any good?" Huh? If I didn't think it was good why the f*** would I be buying it?! And why the f*** are you commenting on my groceries for all to hear? Sorry, just really bugs me, just like the dopey girl asking if you always counted your malt balls bothered you.

    Erica, you are wonderfully weird and there is only one Erica Scott in this world and we are all the richer for it. You and John are two amazingly marvelous people who are so right for one another. I love how he protects you even from his own family, and that you both understand, accept and appreciate your individual idiosyncrasies. You are two strong individuals and I hope this doesn't come off as patronizing, but I am reaching through cyberspace and hugging you both very tightly.

  14. Six -- I'm glad you liked that. Devlin and I had a lot of fun with it.

    MrJ -- perhaps. I think quirks come in degrees, though.

    Jade -- I am so sorry about your aunt. John's test isn't until the end of next month, so at least I don't have to think about it just yet.

    Michael -- you are so sweet. ♥ Thank you. You know, I don't mind when the grocery clerk says, "Oooooh, these look good" to my peanut-butter Oreos or whatever, because then I just grin and say, "They are!" But the critique, or the announcement that she wouldn't like it? THAT would bother me. If my checker said, "I hate mushrooms," I'd probably answer, "Then I guess I won't be inviting you to my house for dinner. Oh, wait. I wasn't going to anyway."

  15. Erica, I haven't taken the time to read the comments, so I hope I don't duplicate too many thoughts. Whether others understand or not, they can accept you as you are. John took the time to learn about your ways in order to aid you and advocate for you.

    We are who we are and at our age, we learn to be content with ourselves, maybe even like ourselves, and then who cares if the cashier at the candy store "gets it?" She's too young to get it.

    I'm glad you have found some rituals and practices that help you stay calm. I'm not OCD but I like my rituals and routines. You may be quirky and interesting, but I'm old and crotchety. :).

    You're not just okay the way you are. You're wonderful the way you are.

  16. Meant to say, I'm sending good thoughts toward you and John that he can get past his health issue to a better place

  17. You are not alone. Everyone has their thing. Or sometimes, many things. There are a lot of things I only eat in even numbers. I sort boxes of candy by color and number. I can't tell you how crazy it makes me that a box of chick Peeps comes in 5 and not 4 or 6. But usually they come in a two pack resulting in 10, so I can eat 4 one day and 6 the next. :-)

    If there are 6 strawberry yogurts in the fridge and only 3 peach yogurts, I take a strawberry one because I don't want the strawberries to feel bad that they aren't being picked as quickly. How insane does that sound? Lol. My sister does it too and has since we were kids. When the numbers get to be the same for both flavors then I switch off eating eating them until it's all gone.

    I don't like my food touching either. I like to put things of similar color next to each other. That's just food quirks! I hate when things are moved. I had to tolerate a squatter in my house for a few months of this year and he would not put stuff back where it came from. Do you know why there's grooves in the carpet from the coffee table legs? BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE THE FUCKING TABLE GOES!

    Thank god he's gone because I would never want a real roommate. I do not like people in my space. I like things in a particular way that makes sense to me. And so what? Does OCD have to be bad? I understand some people have it to the extent it interferes with their life. But if you get along just fine, who cares? You are loved, quirks and all. I hope John's test goes well.

  18. Wonderful posts...quirky is just an adjective to describe who you are and what your life is, to me it is that simple.....we all are who we are and with it comes these little things that make us so different.

    Enjoy your spanking.

  19. Erica, there are millions with OCD and quirkiness. I have a bit of it myself. I have to fold all the towels the same way and put them in the linen closet just so. LOL Then there are the obsessions and that is another story. I do like some spontaneity, though. I will do things on the spur of the moment. Once I made a phone appt. with my therapist (the one in N. Dak.) and then took off and went to ND. She sure was surprised.

    As for counting things, I do that sometimes, too, and once I put something where I want it, it will stay there until I decide to move it. It may be a long time before that happens. :-)

    Then there is the clutter, but we won't go there. LOL

  20. Mick -- you seem rather wonderful yourself. :-) And hey, I'm old and crotchety too!

    Lea -- it's not so much that OCD is bad, per se. But sometimes I wonder, what's it LIKE to just not give a damn about so many little things, and need them to be a certain way? Seems life would be easier, no?

    Ron -- I intend to, tomorrow morning.

    Bobbie Jo -- See, I could never do that N. Dak sort of thing. I don't just take off and go anywhere (except local errands, of course). Everything is planned.

  21. A very close friend and I have been reading your blog for some time. So first, let me thank you for an always-enjoyable read. And yes, we both enjoy the video clips also, as we share your interest in spanking.

    More to the point currently, I want to tell you that you are absolutely not the only "quirky" person out there. It's really all just a matter of degree/intensity. The truly important part for each one of us is to find the special people who accept and love us for who we are. Sure, it sounds corny, but sometimes corny is the truth. :)

    If the rituals make life too difficult, there are ways to try to learn to accept breaking routines, and gradually become somewhat more comfortable with change. However, most people have some kind of little things that they feel a compulsion to have a certain way. Maybe they want the seat and the lid down on the toilet. Maybe they don't want the different foods on their plate to touch, or like to eat one thing on their plate at a time. Very few people can tolerate a totally unstructured life (unless they're Zen masters).
    Anyway, I'm glad that you have people in your life who "get" you.

    Also, if anyone's read this far, I will gladly accept the M&Ms of the wrong color. I am also looking for someone who wants all the black jellybeans I can't bring myself to consume. I feel kind of mean rejecting them...

  22. Anonymous -- I'm glad you and your friend enjoy my blog! Thanks for the encouragement.

    Oh, and I detest black jellybeans. But I can't stand licorice, period.