Write down five of your own personal idiosyncrasies.

1. I MUST wake up no less than 3 hours before I have to go anywhere. Even if I have to be somewhere at 7 am, then I MUST be up hours before then. It’s a psychological thing. I cannot roll out of bed and immediately go somewhere. I mean, if I have to, I will … but the whole day then feels “off”. I habitually wake up at 5 in the morning, because … well. Because I MUST.

2. I keep an index-card filing system of … oh God. It’s so bizarre (and idiosyncratic) I can’t even describe it without embarrassment. Basically: information on countries I find fascinating. I have all the countries organized alphabetically, so I just need to flip through to locate what I’m looking for. If I come across some interesting fact I did not know about, say, Serbia … then I must add it to the “Serbia” file. It’s as though I have decided I work in intelligence for the US government … only no one knows!!! Some countries only have a couple index cards to their name … other countries (like Uzbekistan, Montenegro, Iran, Serbia) almost need an entire box for their index cards alone. I don’t know why I do this. It is a compulsion. (That’s where my whole Country of the Week thing came from. All of that came off my index cards.)

3. I don’t like cake. Never have. Never will. Other things I don’t like that pretty much the whole planet appears to like: bananas, apple sauce, coconut … Even just thinking about those three things make me want to dry heave. But cake’s the biggie. Everyone likes cake. I do not.

4. I can’t go to bed barefoot. Even during a heat wave. Must have feet covered.

5. When I buy a new book, the first thing I HAVE to do is put my name and the date I bought it on the first page. I HAVE to. Don’t ask me why.

Here’s curly’s. I am still laughing at her “one clap – two clap” idiosyncracy. Can’t stop laughing! Another great quote from her list: “Bumpy textures and folds FREAK me the fuck out. I’m positively horrified by close-ups of pock marks, cavities, crevices, fibers, etc. When I hear the term “nooks and crannies,” I flinch.”

And here’s Lisa’s. Lisa starts off with: “I will not eat ANY food which requires that a liquid be poured over a bread-type solid before it is eaten. No pancakes. No biscuits and gravy. No milk on my cereal. NOTHING soggy EVER touches my lips. EV. ER.”

Got it!

Idiosyncratics – unite!!

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64 Responses to Idiosyncrasies

  1. Alex says:

    That’s SOOO wierd. I remember when I saw the inside flap of the 9/11 book on the kitchen counter, and the first thing I noticed was your name printed on the inside flap. I thought:

    “Oh my God. She actually printed her name on the inside Goddamm flap.”

    Like….if someone steals this book, they will KNOW it belongs to Sheila O’Malley, and thus, they WILL return it.

    Killed me.

  2. Dave J says:

    Hmmmm…I’m not generally a picky eater, but apple sauce is one of the few foods I find truly disgusting; likewise, I always declined the cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving (every few years I’ll have a little taste to see if I still hate it, and yes, I still do). But I’ll take the banana-and-coconut cake you’re passing up. ;-)

    In the immortal words of Eddie Izzard’s Church of England Inquisition, “death, or cake?”

  3. red says:

    “Uhm … death, please.”


    “The Spanish Inquisition would never have worked with Church of England! …. Thank you for flying Church of England, cake or death?”

  4. red says:

    Alex –

    hahahahaha I’m busted!!! Also, I have to put the DATE I bought it.

    August 2005.

    Very VERY important.

    Uhm … why, you may ask? I have no idea. It just is.

  5. Lisa says:

    I don’t HATE cake, because, well, hello? Cake! but I prefer pie. Or that layered dessert with Cool Whip, cream cheese, and chocolate pudding.

    I will not eat white cake, though. In solidarity with Sheila. And because white cake is gross.

  6. You’re precious. The only one I can see being a barrier to complete human fulfillment would be the socks to bed thing — that’s weird. You’re holding to something that can’t be good.

    I understand #5 – I do that with every MLB game I go to, no matter where I am, I buy a hat of the home team and write the date and score of the game inside the brim – as well as any notable achivement or curiosity.

  7. Laura says:

    I don’t have a lot of idiosyncrasies, but I buy shotglasses of places I visit. I have them from Atlanta, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York City. I’m not much of a drinker (especially since I’m pregnant), but for whatever reason, I like shot glasses. And when we move, they all get carefully bubblewrapped, boxed and labelled. If one breaks, I’ll have a fit.

  8. Mark says:

    Usually when I buy I book, I use the receipt as a bookmark. When I’m finished, I’ll just leave the receipt somewhere in the book. Not quite as obsessive as putting my name and the date in the cover, but I do have a paper trail as to where and when I bought it.

  9. weirdo

    I don’t normally do the meme thang primarily because I just don’t like that word. Meme. Not sure why but it bugs me. But I’ll put aside my distaste because I found a rather fun one over at Sheila’s. The task: Write down five of your own personal idio…

  10. oceanguy says:

    I’m a cake hater too…

  11. Independent George says:

    Ok, I can understand all the other stuff, but… cake? As in, not a particular kind of cake, but cake in general? I’ve never heard of that before.

    #1 and #4 actually sound perfectly reasonable to me. #2 & #5 actually sound like good ideas that I would shamelessly steal if I weren’t so lazy. But cake? Weeeeeird.

    As for me, I insist that all the bills in my wallet face the same direction, smallest bills in the front, with newer bills on the outside. And all my shirts hanging in the closet have to face left. The only thing that I see as being strange about this is that I’m a total slob otherwise.

  12. This Life says:

    What makes me weird

    Sheila didn’t tag me, but I’m doing her meme anyway. Write down five of your own personal idiosyncrasies. 1. I will not eat ANY food which requires that a liquid be poured over a bread-type solid before it is

  13. red says:

    Er – George: the name of the meme is “idiosyncracies”. Got it? Not: “What makes me normal.” Also – I don’t think ANY of these are “reasonable”. They make me a bit nutty. We all have those things (and – to quote Miss Embree in PHiladelphia Story – “if we don’t, we ought to”.)

    What is normal to me may be weird to 90% of the population. That’s why they call it AN IDIOSYNCRACY.

    About the cake: I do not have a sweet tooth. I also can’t stand the texture. It’s really the texture I don’t like. I’m not a big muffin eater for the same reason.

    Comments like yours are why I didn’t want to go to birthday parties as a kid.

    I think all you cake-eaters are weird, and not only that, but I find your absolute disbelief that I don’t like cake highly obnoxious.

    I don’t like cake. Why does this BOTHER people??

  14. Laura says:

    My brother and I, him moreso than me, are both guilty of eating meals in stages. If there’s a plate with 4 things on it, each thing will be eaten before the next is started. Not a forkful of corn, then a bite of chicken, followed by some mashed potatoes or something. He even goes so far as to not let the various food items touch each other on the plate. Turns out one of our cousins is that way too.

    I’m also very careful of piping hot food, especially beverages and soup. I burned the crap out of my mouth when I was a toddler on hot cocoa, and to this day, I always make sure food is lukewarm to hot before I touch it. Even coffee I can’t drink after it’s just been poured. I wait about 5 minutes, let it cool a fair bit, and then I’m good to go. But if it gets too cool or cold, then its too late and I pour it out.

    Oh, one other thing (I guess i have more idiosyncrasies than I thought). I get completely grossed out when people drink their cereal milk, or soup from a bowl. I cannot bring myself to doing it. If the spoon no longer is sufficient…then I’m done.

  15. Curtis says:

    I totally cannot sleep with socks on. It doesn’t matter if I am camping in 30 degree weather and my toes are turning alarming shades of purple. No foot coverings for me. :-)

  16. red says:

    curtis – hahahahaha

    Isn’t that funny??? I don’t know WHY I need foot coverings … but I do. Oh … I do. :)

  17. Emily says:

    Can’t wear pajamas to bed. Can’t wear *anything* to bed. Must be nude or cannot sleep.

  18. Lisa says:

    Um, Emily? This is Idiosyncrasies Day, not TMI Day. ;)

  19. damian says:

    As a writer, I really love your idea of having a card system for each country and inserting interesting facts as and when they arise. Trouble is I’m not sure I’d run to the box every time something occurred. You mentioned the countries requiring a box onto themselves. Is Ireland one of them? I come from the North but live now in the states. Do you keep a separate one for that?

  20. red says:

    damian – Granted, since it’s a manual process – I am WAY behind, and I have to let some stuff go. I can’t monitor every election in … Argentina or whatever … to make sure my damn card is up to date.

    Strangley enough: I don’t have that many cards for Ireland – as much as I love the place. Maybe because Ireland is so familiar to me? I mainly focus on places I’ve never been, but want to go. But my system, as it stands, does keep the North and South of Ireland distinct.

    The countries that have the most cards are usually from the former eastern block, or from the totalitarian regimes of central asia.

    I realize I am starting to sound more crazy. But it’s all good. There is a method to my index-card madness.

  21. red says:

    Lisa – Curly wrote, as one of her idiosyncracies, that she has “severe poop issues”, so I believe when we are discussing idiosyncracies there has to be some overlap into TMI.

    Emily – weirdly: I do enjoy sleeping buck naked as well. except I STILL MUST WEAR SOCKS. Now that’s a sexy image, ain’t it?

  22. Emily says:

    Add a pair of gloves and a beanie to the mix, and I’d go lez for ya, Sheila.

  23. Lisa says:

    I guess you’re right. I did mention in tongues-in-ears (::shudder::) in mine, so obviously we all have no boundaries.

    Heaven help us if we all meet in real life. . .

  24. red says:

    Emily – hahahahahaha

    It’s even funnier because of Lisa’s most recent comment about having no boundaries!!

  25. Idiosyncratic

    Red is running a meme on idiosyncrasies. The challenge – list five of your own. One of mine is that I can’t pass these things up. But that one doesnt’ count….

  26. Ilyka Damen says:

    I Shouldn’t But I Will

    Sheila has listed five of her quirks. Here’s the thing: Hers are cute. I especially like the insistence on socks. Mine are . . . well, look, how about I try just to pick out the five least repulsive? Would…

  27. What’s odd about me is that while I’m totally ashamed of pooping around others, I’m NOT ashamed to discuss it… much to the chagrin of many people.

    Oh and Laura, I think you need to be my new best friend. I HATE HATE HATE when people drink the leftover milk from a bowl of cereal in my presence. Even worse if they burp afterwards! GAH!!! Milk burps are THE absolute worst. Milk is a very dodgy substance with me to begin with so its after-effects and byproducts really set me off. Okay, now I feel ill.

  28. RTG says:

    OMG, I totally love you but you’re a freak! You don’t like Cake? I was just talking to Z on the phone and told him I’d rather close the blinds and eat a whole wedding cake by myself than have sex. I can’t even comprehend the idea of disliking cake. What is it that you dislike? The texture? The sweetness? Gimme something to work with here.

    And the country index cards are awesome. Funny, cute and completely stark-raving Sheila. Awesome!

  29. Cullen says:

    Emily, you know you daren’t post any of this at the DAC.

    Sheila, mmmmmmmm, cake. Tell you what … you can send any you get to me. I’ll pay shipping.

  30. red says:

    RTG – hahahahahahahahaha with the wedding cake!!!

    I guess I’m just not wacky about sweet stuff. Although i do bend the rules when it comes to reese’s peanut butter cups and the occasional bowl of ice cream. but i don’t JONES for chocolate. ever. I certainly JONES for wheat thins. If cakes could be made entirely of wheat thins, i would be in big BIG trouble.

    Additionally, I just don’t like the texture of cake. The crumbly bread-y texture. sometimes (rarely) I can deal with pie … if there is fruit involved … but a straight chocolate or vanilla cake, with its crumbly personality, gives me hives.

    however: I love frosting, and if left alone with a bowl of frosting, i will become embarrassingly primal.

    There is no rhyme or reason here!!!!

  31. Laura says:

    I swear, Sheila you and I and a box of wheat thins…I think WWIII would break out. Have you tried the wheat thin chips? They’re similar and just as addicting. And they’ve been great for staving off morning sickness.

  32. red says:

    laura – you’re pregnant? congratulations!!!

    But it still doesn’t mean I will give up my wheat thins. Bring it on!

    I have not tried the chips. It’s come to the point where I can’t even have wheat thins in my house. I buy baby carrots and hummus and purposefully stalk right by the wheat thins, because I just do not have enough self-control to have a box of them in my house and not EAT THE WHOLE DAMN THING IN ONE SITTING.

  33. Laura says:

    Yep, due in spring :)

  34. red says:

    That’s awesome – congrats!

  35. Dave J says:

    You know, I don’t USUALLY have a sweet tooth, but I’ve just been surrounded by the stuff since I started (ugh) selling watches in the Copley Place mall. I’ve been trying to eat healthy ever since I’ve been home, but now I think I’ve had dessert of some kind after every lunch this week. The Starbucks “ultimate chocolate chunk brownies” are what I really find completely irresistable (I think they may actually be from the Cheesecake Factory, but are sold in the Starbucks inside Barnes & Noble..damn, I really DO work in the mall, don’t I?). That and Godiva’s “dark chocolate decadence chocolixir,” which I held off trying until but now I know I will return to far too frequently for my own good. ;-)

  36. Laura says:

    I love going to Lindt and getting those small truffles. Just one or two and I’m good until the next time I go.

  37. Dave J says:

    OMG, those are SO good. One of my coworkers was so kind as to share a few with the rest of us. I don’t usually really care for white chocolate, but these were white chocolate with this white chocolate cream filling and…er..uuuhhh….drooool…they were just UNbelieavble.

    I do not think I have a sweet tooth in general: it’s chocolate specifically that I fall for. Hard.

  38. RTG says:

    Laura! I’m due in Sept. I’ve been one giant chocolate and olives craving since the day I got preggers.

    In fact I think I’ll go find some now.

  39. RTG says:

    Err… strike that. I’m due in November. duh.

  40. Laura says:

    I’ve been craving more salty/munchie things. Like those salted in the shell peanuts. I should go get a bag tomorrow, it’s driving me crazy.

  41. Jen says:

    Glad I’ve found someone else who must also wear socks to bed! Always, always. But I think it has to do with me always having ice blocks for feet. If my feet are cold, I’m cold.

  42. Dave E says:

    I’m with you on the cake thing Red. I’ve taken so much crap for declining cake and sweets in general over the years that now I can get kind of militant about it. Really, if I’ve politely declined the cake (or whatever) three times……it means I don’t want the freaking cake! Deal with it you dessert fascists!

  43. red says:

    dave – hahahahahaha exactly!!

  44. red says:

    Jen – yeah. I have that cold feet thing too. Literally AND metaphorically. :)

    With socks on, I feel safe.

    Nuts. I realize.

  45. Patrick says:

    We played a game at work in which we all wrote down our little obsessive compulsive things and idiosyncrasies and gave them to one person who assembled them on a poster board and we all had to guess which idiosyncrasy belonged to each person.

    1. The one I still get shit about is that when I am exiting a parking lot I have to say either out loud or in my head, “Left is clear. Right is clear. Left is clear.”

    2. I HATE standing water of any kind. From bathroom counter tops to ponds or lakes. I will not swim in anything besides a chlorinated pool or the ocean.

    3. The windows in my apartment must all be opened to the same height. Same with the blinds.

    4. My day is not complete unless I have thrown at least one major thing away. I have this thought that I want it to be easy for my family to clean out my apartment should I meet an untimely death on the freeway.

    There are more, but I will save myself further embarrassment.

    By the way, my name goes on the inside of all my books as well.

  46. Now here’s a good meme

    As always, from the inimitable Sheila O’Malley, who, when I’m not being hideously insecure about her, ALWAYS gives me great ideas. (For a great explanation on the effect of Sheila O’Malley, read this excellent post by her friend, Alexandra Billings,

  47. beth says:

    //I can’t monitor every election in … Argentina or whatever …//

    this is the best thing i’ve ever heard.

  48. beth says:

    oh, ha! i thought it said “i can’t monitor every electron in Argentina” which was kind of funnier. but a great comment nonetheless.

  49. mere says:

    how bout mint you like them??? eat one …go ahead..if you don’t, you can’t sit at our lunch table. EAT IT SHEILA! EAT THE MINT OREO AND LOVE IT LIKE THE REST OF US DO!

  50. red says:

    beth – hahahahahahaha!!! Electrons in Argentina!!! Can’t stop laughing. Now that would REALLY be obsessive.

  51. red says:

    patrick – I do admit I giggled with the “left is clear” revelation.

    Hey, man .. if that’s what you need to do to get out of a parking lot with your psyche intact, then I say more power to you. :)

  52. red says:

    mere –

    Mint Oreos! EWWWWWWWWWW

  53. Bryan says:


    “I don’t like cake. Why does this BOTHER people??”

    I know what you mean. I have always had an extremely strong distaste for potato salad, and when I was a child, I used to be intimidated by adults who would express consternation and disapproval about that. Fortunately, as the years went by, I came to the attitude that not only do I not like potato salad, but what is more, I don’t have to. Not that that lessens other people’s consternation, but it does usually shut them up about it. :)

    Concerning the marking of books, I always put my name in a book only after I have finished reading it. The motive for putting my name in the book is in case I ever go through a divorce, there will be no question about who owns my personal library. Why I only do it after I’ve finished the book, I have no idea.

  54. Boviosity! says:

    Idiosyncratic much?

    Via Mitch, this Idiosyncratic Meme: Write down five of your own personal idiosyncrasies. 1. One that nobody probably knows about: I have had a 9-syllable tune running through my head most of the time since about 1970 (when I was…

  55. Emily says:

    “Desert Fascists.” Hahaha. Great name for a band.

    Cullen – I don’t think DACers would survive the inuendo.

  56. Cullen says:

    I got over any food hangups when I married a woman that doesn’t like steak. Blew my mind. Oh well, more Porterhouse for me.

    Em, no, I don’t suppose we would survive.

  57. Emily says:

    Your wife doesn’t like steak? Is she a communist or an alien or something?

  58. Cullen says:

    She’s just not a big fan of steak. She loves chicken, fish and hamburgers. The only time she was a fan was when she was pregnant with our first child. It was great. Never grilled more in my life (and if there’s one thing I like more than slaughtering the undead, it’s grilling).

    So, these days I have to cook one steak and some fish. My oldest won’t eat meat that’s not processed. My second will hardly eat any meat at all, and the youngest is only four weeks along so he’s not on to meat yet.

    They’re all young though, so hopefully I won’t fail in my job as a father to make red meat eaters out of all of them.

  59. Because Everyone Loves Quirky People

    From Sheila and Ith: List five quirks/idiosyncrasies of yours. Allrighty Then. 1. When I’m coding stuff in HTML for the blog, if I open a tag in lowercase letters, I must always close the tag in lowercase letters. It’s the…

  60. Dave J says:

    Mmmmm…red meat, potato salad and cake. ;-)

  61. Tributaries says:

    Naaaaah…there’s no quirks here….

    Ith and Ilyka have their quirks, so not to be outdone, I will reveal five of my own (yes, one of my quirks SHOULD be that I am always …

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  63. hard times says:

    I’m Not A Weirdo!

    I want to thank Sheila for starting this meme, and Catalano for making me feel so normal. Here goes:

    Write down five of your own personal idiosyncrasies.

    One: If there’s not a traffic light, I usually never turn left onto a busy street. I’ll go…

  64. Quirky? Me??

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