Bad Habits

by Vicki Nunn

Whether we’d like to admit it or not, every one of us has at least one odd habit or behaviour. Some of us have so many, we could probably write a thesis about it or star in our own reality television show.

I recall reading about a teenager who communicated with the world, only through farting. Yes, that’s correct – by passing wind. He was so disgusted with people that he showed his contempt through this special communication technique. A psychiatrist was able to work with the youngster until eventually he began communicating normally.

In the world of odd behaviours, that one is definitely on the extreme side. So for this article, let’s stick closer to more normal behaviours, and begin with a list of interesting ideas and behaviours from various people, which I thought might make you feel better about your own quirky behaviours. People have said:

• The smell of water makes me happy;
• I feel safe when I lie on the ground;
• I think that sunshine smells like fresh bread;
• I classify numbers/letters as male or female. (Male: numbers: 1, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10; letters: b, d, e, g, o, p, q, r, s, w, x, z; female: numbers: 2, 4, 7, 8; letters: a, c, f, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, t, u, v, y);
• To get rid of hiccups, I hold my breath and take tiny sips of water while counting, but I must stop on a prime number;
• I organise my wardrobe by shirt type and then by colour and all t-shirts must be ordered by rainbow colours;
• I suffer from leporiphobia which is a fear of rabbits, and I can’t go out at Easter-time;
• I like to act out little plays with my fingers;
• I talk to animals in a way I’d expect them to sound if they spoke English;
• I eat food on a plate counter-clockwise; and
• I eat lollies in a specific order of colour. Yellow and green must always be first, and red must be last.

There also seem to be a few odd habits relating to food. A poll taken in the UK on the bad habits of diners included some interesting examples of people who shared their odd reactions with their waiter. These included:

• A woman who complained that her starter and main course were the same colour;
• A diner who insisted that their budgerigar be allowed to dine with them – because the bird became anxious when it was left alone; and
• A diner who complained that the cows seen nearby were an objectionable colour.

To a degree we all need a certain amount of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) to keep functioning, eg a place for everything and everything in its place, but our aim should be to keep the OCD from getting out of control.

The first example of OCD I ever came across was when a close relative insisted that the clothes she placed onto the clothesline had to have matching coloured pegs, just in case the neighbours saw it.

One of my own personal habits is in response to being treated like a moron. If a manufacturer insists on providing precise instructions for opening the simplest of objects, such as an envelope or sticking plaster, I go out of my way to open it in any way EXCEPT the way they tell me, as a kind of mini-rebellion.
Somehow I feel that by giving in I am somehow encouraging manufacturers to continue treating all of us like idiots.