What are your little idiosyncrasies?

Larry Stanford

January 29, 2014

I cannot stand seeing a pen open. By that I mean, if I see a click pen open, I have to push the button to click it shut. Even if the pen or pens are sitting in some type of pen holder or cup and I can’t see the tip out, I have to pull each pen out, and if it is open, click it shut. The same thing for pens with the removable caps. Most times, you can put the cap on the back of the pen, and if I see a pen laying around like that or with the cap lying nearby, I have to put the cap back on the tip. If it is a screw open pen, I have to screw it shut. I just cannot stand to see a pen open. It is one of my little idionsyncrasies.

The dictionary defines ‘Idiosyncrasy’ as “a characteristic, habit, mannerism, or the like, that is peculiar to an individual.” I’m pretty sure my pen closing is an idiosyncrasy. I’m not really sure where it came from, but I have an idea. When I was little, my dad would come home from work and usually have a shirt pocket full of pens that he would take out and put on his dresser. I would go in and – with his permission - take several of the pens with caps on them from his dresser to play with. I always wanted to be an astronaut when I was little, so I was always imagining flying around in space. The pen would be the main spaceship, and the cap would be the little scout ship that could fly off from the mother ship on its own adventures. The only problem was the scout ships didn’t always make it back to the mother ships. My dad would not take open pens to work with him, the ink would eventually dry out, and my mother would get onto me for not putting the caps back on the pens and wasting the pens because the ink dried up. I think that is why today I cannot leave a pen open – because the ink will dry up and the pen will be useless.

I’ve noticed other little idiosyncrasies of mine. For example, if I receive a text on my cell phone while driving down the road, I will turn the music down to read it. (If I have to respond immediately, I’ll pull over and stop, because it is not safe to text and drive at the same time.) But why do I turn the radio volume down to read the text? I record meetings I’m covering, then come back and type out what was said while I’m listening to the recording. Why can I do that, but not read and listen at the same time? I think it is because I like to concentrate on one thing at a time. I don’t like having music on while I’m reading a book, and while I can be listening to a recording of a meeting while I’m typing, I don’t like having music on in the office when I’m working.

When I get a plate of food, either one that I’ve filled myself at a buffet, or one the waiter or waitress brings me, I will turn the plate around until each food item is in a certain location before I start to eat. I don’t know why. It is not like I always have to have the meat on the right or the vegetable on the left. Each plate is different and I just have to turn it around until my mind says it is in the right place.

I’m sure I have more little idiosyncrasies, like never taking the top newspaper off a stack, but my space here is limited. What are your little idiosyncrasies? Let me know, and if I get enough different ones, I’ll do another column on them.