I’m gonna kick this Signal Fire off with a truth, and then tell you right now that I fully, completely, expect all of you to sound off, to ring in, and to add to the conversation at the very end of it. I want to hear from you, to know you, to hear your quirks, your idiosyncrasies, your randomities, all the little pieces that set you aside, that separate you from all the rest of us. Please, do sound off below, as I do want to know. The truth: I am weird. I’ll get into the How below, but I wanna know how YOU are too. That’s your assignment, your mission, should you choose to accept it.
I know, on an existential level, we’re all weird, and that’s mostly why I wanted to dive into it today. I wanted to show some of my quirks so that you can understand that we’re all built funny, we’re all kicking around this green globe doing completely bizarre shit for completely bizarre reasons and there really is no ‘normal.’ This is a topic I’ve given lots of mental attention to over the course of my 41 years, and to prove that, I direct you to a blog post I did literally 19 years ago, it’s called “My Weirdness” as you can see, and here’s the simultaneously reassuring and terrifying part, SO MANY OF THE THINGS ARE STILL TRUE. Sorry for shouting. In some ways, that makes me feel really great, that all the things I’ve celebrated, seen, endured, failed my way through, and experienced haven’t changed that all-important core of me, they haven’t been enough to sway me away from the real person that I am. In another way, it means that these weirdnesses are deeeeeeep-seated, and maybe I should have changed more in the span of time between then and now. So, as a sort of experiment, I’m going to paste the contents of my weirdness from 19 years ago, and I’m going to do a directors commentary whilst reading it to you. Cool? Cool.
Sometimes when I'm just sitting around one of my socks mysteriously disappears from my foot, usually the left, and ends up either lost somewhere in the room, or slung over my shoulder. I have no idea why I do this, but I quite often find myself standing up and wondering why one foot is so much colder than the other. (Still absolutely true. As I write this, this very instant, I have only a left sock on, and I think the right sock is somewhere in the living room. Maybe.) For some reason I don't understand the entire concept of babies. Seriously, they just baffle me. Look at a baby, when they are born the amount of skin that is covering their bodies would not fully wrap around one of my legs, yet somehow they GROW, they make more skin out of nothing, and 20 years later they are like 4 times the size, and the skin still fits them. That is insane. (Yes. Still. Furthermore, when babies are born with full heads of hair it makes my entire brain melt.) I make my check marks backwards to the way most people make them...most people do the little portion first, and then the long tail of the checkmark with flair...not me...I do the long tail first and then end on the stubby little end. (I have literally never done a single check mark any other way, even when Sarah teases me, always, for doing it this way.) Before I go anywhere, I always think I have to go pee, even if I really don't. (Again, poor Sarah has to wait hours each week added up while I pee “one last time” before leaving. I’m Autistic, dammit, it’s not my fault.) I carry my reusable water bottle everywhere I go, but throughout the course of a day I probably drink about 3 sips. (Yep. Sarah ends up putting in her bag 8 times out of 10 if she has a bag. Oops.) If I'm walking with someone and I am carrying things, chances are that thing will end up in your hands, and I really don't know why it does. (My wallet, my Epi Pen, and my Inhaler live in Sarah’s purse. She does not enjoy this.) I sleep naked a majority of the time. (Now it’s just sleeping shorts, but naked otherwise. Kids in the house half of the time mean you need to be a bit more careful.) I have absolutely NO sense of time. Seriously 10 minutes to me feels like 4 and a half hours, and at the same time, 4 and a half hours can feel like 10 minutes. I never know what time it is, what day of the month, or heck, even what day of the week it is. (Yes. Excruciatingly yes.) I also have no sense of direction. I can live in a town for 100 years and still not know the names of any streets, the fastest way to get to anywhere, whatever. (Sarah drives in town. Always. I cannot be trusted.) Whenever I drive long distances, say it's to Helena from Missoula, an hour and a half or so trip, I always have to leave for the highway directly from my house. Realize that if there are errands that need to be ran before I leave, I will run the errands, then come back to my house to finish packing up, then leave. I hate making stops before I hit the highway. (Yep. This should just be a rule, when you have a long drive, you do not stop before leaving the town. Period. Period, dammit.) I can not say the word cinnamon...the only way I can come close is if I say "sinn-a-mon" with a 2 second pause in between each portion of the word. (This one was a hard one to read aloud for all you listening to the podcast, to those who are around me often you’ll know, I just call it “C Spice.” I hate food that might be old, I will seriously throw stuff away even if it was made the day before if it even looks bad, if it smells bad, it's gone. (I blame this entirely on having a really horrible stomach and ten million food allergies. If I F around, I Find out, to quote that cliche all the kids love. I don’t want to find out.) If I am watching movies with people, I think it's completely acceptable for me to fall asleep...if someone else is falling asleep first however, there will be hell to pay and I nag them until they are back to being completely awake. (Sometimes I’m tired. You cannot be when watching a movie. Yes I realize this is unfair. Yes, I know I need to change this.) When I am driving, it is everyone else that is a horrible driver, and I can't stand pedestrians and people on bikes. I'm all for saving the environment, but seriously just ride on the sidewalk...to me a bike is NOT another automobile. (Sorry to all you frequent road bikers, but dammit, if you cannot go the speed limit, you do not belong in the middle of the road. I stand by this.) I frequently make comments like, "TURN OFF YOUR BRIGHTS!" to people who pass me at night, for some reason even dims look really bright to me. (It’s funny revisiting these, all these before I had my Autism diagnosis, and just assumed I needed to practice being better at things. This one makes so much more sense now, all these sensory processing things that I Struggled with.) Apparently I am told I put on chapstick like a total moron, I rub it on with the stick first, then I use my finger to rub it in more. As my sisters says, "That is what the stick is for!" (Still. Yes. I cannot get proper rub in consistency with the stick alone. Sorry.) I always have little surprises for people, even if it is just something lame like a piece of candy or something, I always come up with little surprises. (Still yes, and only about 3 out of 10 will be something actually cool.) Whenever I get into an argument with people, I get bored halfway through and start smiling...within two minutes the argument is over because I have the other person laughing at how much of a moron I am. (I don’t really get into many arguments with many people these days, probably cause I don’t see many people other than family, and the only arguments those are are about important things. With other people, this probably still stands.) I don't like going to class because I think that it will blunt my originality, just like John Nash, the math man. (I stand by this still, not to dissuade anyone thinking of going to college or continuing their current education. I just fear “learning” how to do something because then I’ll always do it like the person who taught me, not like me. Doubly so for creative endeavors.) I always make ultimatums on myself, such as "I'm NEVER eating that Chinese food again," and I ask people around me to help keep those ultimatums, but if the next day I want that cashew chicken, I insist that the person let me off the hook, and that I'll start that ultimatum later. (Yeah. Sarah you really gotta improve at holding me to my own ultimatums. Jeez.) I insist on sewing nearly all things that I wear if they rip or tear, and I love to add things to my clothes that aren't there, whether it's a patch, a drawing, anything. (I’m old, and lazy, and now I don’t even sew them up. I just wear them as is. Ask my entire closet. Still wearing clothes I owned when I wrote this.) I wear a belt frequently, but for some reason it will come undone on it's own and sometimes the top button too, and I end up just walking around with my pants either unbuttoned or the belt hanging out. (If I had a dollar for every single time Sarah frustratedly and amusedly got on my case for this exact thing, to this exact day, I’d be a rich, rich man.) I am obsessed with fire. I can stare at a match or a lighter or a fire burning for hours on end. I also love burning things just to see how they'll react to the flames. (Creepily enough, this one has probably only gotten worse.) I have an incredible pain tolerance for self-inflicted pain. I used to win bets by putting out incense on my arm, eating matches, and a million other things. Young and dumb. (Yeah, still this. Anything other than the Dentist, and I ain’t scared.) For some reason I have the most amazing memory when it comes to actors and actresses in movies. I don't know how or why but I somehow just know so much about movies, about who's in them, what other movies the've been in, etc...pretty much don't mess with me in the Kevin Bacon Game. (Still true. This also applies to faces, and even weirder, voices. Again, the Autism diagnosis explains SO MANY THINGS.)
What I’m going to really need, is for Sarah to chime in in the comments and add to this list. I haven’t updated it in 20 years, and now I probably have added about 300 more. So, my dear, if you’re up for it, what else you got?
Alas, we are all made of quirks, and those little odd things highlight who we truly are. It is these beautiful things that we need to celebrate more. We are not the ways we’re the same, we never have been. We are every single perfect way we’re different, every single quirk that sets as apart. Remember this, and celebrate it with me.
Now, just how weird are you? Let’s have it, spare no blushes.
I love ya.
Man of many quirks,
and random mistakes.