That One Little Thing

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I had coffee with a friend of mine this week, and we started chatting about eccentricities. It seems we each have an odd habit that’s our “little secret”. Why? Because we figure people will think we’re crazy, of course.

I have my “hanger thing”. I need to have all of the hangers in my closet facing the same way, and all the clothes facing the same way, too. Oh, and categorized by type - you know, shirts together, pants together, jackets together. It’s not just a preference, it’s a need. It really bugs me when they’re out of order.

My friend, she has a kitchen cupboard thing. With mugs. All of the handles have to face exactly the same way. Apparently when her son got old enough to empty the dishwasher, she spent some time explaining this to him, and how important it was that the handles were all facing exactly the same way. And he fell on the kitchen floor, laughing.

Andy and I were watching the Aviator this weekend. Now, neither of us are Howard Hughes. Not likely to live alone in a small room, naked, for months at a time. Or walk around with Kleenex boxes on our feet. But Andy counts thing. He can tell you how many steps it is from where I turn around on our morning walk to the train station. Exactly. Which is, I suppose, a little odd.

I remember having this conversation with another friend in England last Christmas. Because I find my “twitches” a little worrying. There are a lot of eccentrics in my family. But there are some genuine crazies, too. Like my uncle, who was in a mental hospital for years. I’m happy with eccentric. Eccentric is good in an artist, right? And the British celebrate their eccentrics. It’s one of my favorite things about England. But I could live without the padded room, thank you very much.

Well Martin has this theory that we all have “that one little thing”. From where I sit, Martin is exceptionally normal and well balanced. All kinds of fun and entertainment, great to have a beer with, but quite, quite normal. But he does have this one little thing. Every once in a while, he’s convinced that the oven is on. Well, OK, some people get that when they leave the house. So far so good. But he’s convinced that there’s something in the oven. Some small furry creature, say a squirrel. And if he leaves it there, it will die. Yup, I think that qualifies. He definitely has that one little thing.

So there you go. We’re all a bit strange. If I ever run into someone without that one little thing, I’m going to be looking at them sideways. Because now I’m thinking it’s a big thing, and they’re just not talking.