I had trouble with this one. As I wrote to Lizzy, "What if one of my weird habits is thinking I have no weird habits?"
But, after consulting with people I thought were my friends, I've come up with a list that seems to fit the bill. Here are my five weird habits, numbered in the order I thought of them not ranked by degree of weirdness.
Weird Habit Number One: It takes me two pots of coffee to get one full mug to drink. This is not the perfectionism of a java connoisseur. It's senility. I have a habit of pouring myself a cup, setting it down, and forgetting about it. By the time I've remembered it, and remembered where I left it, it's gone cold. So of course I have to dump it and pour another cup. Which, after a few sips, I set down and forget about. If I do this enough times I will eventually have sipped an entire cup's worth of hot coffee.
Weird Habit Number Two: I pace a lot. A lot a lot. Especially when I'm on the phone. But I pace when I think too, and when I'm bored. I've done twenty or thirty laps around the kitchen table (often with a cold cup of coffee in my hand) just while ordering a pizza. I've driven colleagues insane with my incessant pacing back and forth in front of their open office doors. One guy I worked with complained that, going back and forth in front of his door I reminded him of a guard in a prisoner of war camp and I made him feel like he was a captured spy waiting to be taken out and shot at dawn.
Weird Habit Number Three: I'm told I have an odd pattern of speech, alternately hyper and mellow. I'll shift gears a couple of times in the middle of a sentence, racing through some words, drawling out others, and stuttering the whole way. My pal Margot says talking with me is like listening to a mashup of Jimmy Stewart and Woody Allen. And, here's the weird part, I have a habit of...
...pausing. I'll be in the middle of a thought and I'll just stop...
...talking. For no apparent reason.
I know what's happening. I've finished with the thought in my head and started working on the next one. My mouth just didn't keep up and suddenly it's being given orders to start a new sentence while it's still trying to get out the end of the last one. The result is lockjaw. But to people who have to listen to me it appears as if I've suddenly developed aphasia. My pauses tend to come when the next word is obvious. "Hemingway wrote The Sun Also..." "I'd like to order a cheese..." "Honey, have you seen my cup of..."
My students used to get so frustrated that they'd start finishing my thoughts for me.
Prof. Mannion: For tomorrow, read the second chapter in your text...
Weird Habit Number Four: I can't take a compliment.
I can borrow one. I can rent one, beg for one, fish for one, I can even steal one, right out of your driveway. The police will find it in the morning in a ditch on the other side of town with four flat tires and an empty gas tank.
I'm also pretty good at giving them, backhanded and otherwise
I just can't take one. Embarrasses the hell out of me.
So to all the folks who have very kindly left notes here in the past complimenting this or that post, let me say, Thank you.
Now can we talk about something else?
Weird Habit Number Five: I try to turn all conversations that verge on the personal into jokes.
Weird Habit Number Six: I can't keep to the limits of an assignment.
Ok, that's it for me. How about you? How about your spouse/significant other? My spouse/significant other has only one weird habit---she only reads my blog when I've written something embarrassing or critical about her. So I'm not going there myself. But I'll bet your spouse/significant other doesn't read this, so why not take advantage of the opportunity to vent?