The Stories I Tell ~ from The Word Cellar

Stories. Anecdotes. A free round of words for everyone!

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I love stories. I'm the one at social functions with a dozen new anecdotes. But I worry about hogging the conversation. Sometimes I tell myself that I'll be quiet and let others do the talking. But no matter how hard I try, my stories insist on bursting out! Here I can let my stories (the classics that I tell again and again, as well as new ones that unfold along the way) run free. I'm a professional writer and editor, and sole proprietor of The Word Cellar. I write for a variety of publications and clients on everything from green buildings and nuclear reactors to entrepreneurship and the arts. If you need words written, edited, or enlivened, I can help. Contact me.


Sunday Scribblings: Eccentricity

I think that some "eccentricities" are just code for being high maintenance. Find out others' quirks at Sunday Scribblings.

1. I must have Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm with me at all times. I have them stashed in my purse, car, and around the house. (This one also made my previous list of oddities.)

2. The sound of a ticking clock turns me into a ticking time bomb. If there's one within earshot of my sleeping quarters, you can count on me unplugging, dismantling, de-battery-ing, or smashing it.

3. Chewing noises can gross me out. I have a friend to thank for making me even more aware of this nasty sound.

4. I find it nearly impossible to sit with both feet flat on the floor.

5. I often feel more at ease on cloudy days.

6. I choose my side of the bed based on the location of the room's door.

7. I used to dip carrots in orange juice.

8. I also used to eat ketchup and butter sandwiches on white bread, a delicacy named an "Uncle Ken Special" after my great-uncle whose one index finger stuck straight out and wouldn't bend, having been sewn back on after a machinery accident. He also taught me to say: "See my finger? See my thumb? See my fist? You better run!" I used to replace the last line with "I better run!"

9. I listen to almost no current mainstream music, but am a big fan of 80s music. A good power ballad with a killer electric guitar solo gets me every time. (Oops, this is also a repeat from the previous list.)

10. I'm an obsessive sign reader. Road trips with me can be taxing.

Are you weird? Of course you are! Tell me about it in the comments.


add to kirtsy | 1:39 AM


Anonymous Melissa said...

So many eccentricites, so little space ! Here are just a few:

1. My food has to swim in whatever sauce or condiment accompanies it: my salad practically floats, I have to have about a 3:1 ratio of ketchups to fries, and I like to have a little steak with my A1 ! And I have to lick any remaining sauce off the plate, too (just at home, of course !)

2. I suck at decoding song lyrics . . . I have to have the actual lyrics in front of me, or I'll butcher the song ! Remember the "long-haired piggy people" ??!!

3. When I unload the dishwasher, the clean plates and bowls have to go on the bottom of the stack in the cabinet . . . how else will the other bowls and plates get an equal chance to be used ?!?!!!

4. I have to have at least one magazine around me at all times . . . when I eat lunch at work, when I'm relaxing on the porch, when I'm on the couch watching tv . . . and that's why I have strategically-placed piles of them around the house !!

Maybe this should have been titled "Neuroses" or "OCD" !!

6/25/2007 7:19 PM  
Anonymous Allyson said...

Melissa, I'm totally with you there on #1, except that I lick the plate in public as well as at home. And Jenn, I'm sorry I pushed the chewing-noise button--it still makes me want to hurl dishes at the wall when I hear people chewing disgustingly. I'm trying to let go of a lot of my OCD things, but I can't shake the noise one. Ticking clocks, bumpy ceiling fans, rattling dishes when the A/C kicks on, the dog rearranging his tongue in his mouth, Ada taking a bath, Emma scratching in the litter box for HOURS because she's the most neurotic thing in the world--these make me want to tear my hair out.
I have to read before I go to sleep, and I CAN'T go to the bathroom unless I have reading material. It just won't work. Really. I have to clean the kitchen before I go to bed, especially after big parties, and I like chocolate chips in my pancakes. I identify with your obesessive sign reading, Jenn. When I was in Japan and Hawaii, I would sound out every foreign sign I saw and say the word over and over until I got it right. Mostly in my head though, and it drove me crazy and kept me from paying attention to whatever conversation was taking place in the car.
If I don't have a bottle of water nearby, I'm convinced I'm dehydrating and possibly dying. When I leave the house, I always take inventory of whatever stuff I have with me and imagine how I would fare if the house burned down in my absence. I'm sure I have more, but I can't think of any. Fun post!

6/27/2007 8:07 AM  
Blogger Jennifer/The Word Cellar said...

I was going to write about the plate licking thing too, but usually only do it in private. I'm okay with cats cleaning themselves, but go nuts when they scratch in the litter box endlessly -- what's up with that? And bumpy ceiling fans or rattling of any kind also keep me from sleeping. And yes, I always have a bottle of water with me and obsess about the house burning down in my absence. But I've never quite thought about it in such a McGyver-esque way. I've recently become a magazine whore (I say it's research for my writing), and have them strewn about the house. I think that putting the clean dishes on the bottom of the stack makes good sense, but not because I'm worried about the other dishes' feelings. It just keeps things from being worn out. Even still, I often can't be bothered to do it that way. However, I do associate human personalities with many inanimate objects. I had a hard time trading in "Edie" the Honda when I got my new car. James feeds this quirk with his talent of giving anything a personality. I've identified with salt shakers before.

Moral of the story: At least we have friends with some of the same eccentricities! That way we don't seem TOO weird to each other.

6/27/2007 1:35 PM  
Anonymous Allyson said...

Didn't you have to make sure all your stuffed animals took turns sleeping next to you when you were little? I remember that I was talking to someone who did this too, and I thought it was you. Melissa's eccentricity just has a more sophisticated bent. And I guess you and I weren't really worried about hurting our animals' feelings. It was more about appeasing them and keeping them from coming to life at night and killing us in a jealous rage!

Oh, and if you are alone in the swimming pool, there ARE sharks in it too.

Um, maybe we just are that weird!

6/27/2007 1:58 PM  
Blogger Jennifer/The Word Cellar said...

Oh yeah, you definitely don't want to piss off your stuffed animals by showing favorites! You just wouldn't be safe while sleeping. And yes, there are shark pools. I've never seen one, but the fear they can instill is palpable. Seriously.

(Did you ever wonder if common quirks and fears are what bring friends together? Hm...)

6/27/2007 4:44 PM  
Anonymous ImNotHuman said...

from reader's digest...

I hate choosing things. When I grab a spoon out of the drawer, I have a hard time picking one, even though they're all the same. Then, when I finally choose a spoon, I feel bad for all the others. I even sort of apologize to them: "Sorry, guys. Next time!" Is this weird?

Hooo-eeee! Our experts made a smorgasbord out of you, and they each picked a different spoon. While Perman sees a wounded soul and "a great sensitivity that has arisen out of being hurt, omitted or neglected," Wymes thinks you're awfully self-involved: "It's narcissistic to think the spoons would want to be exposed to your cuisine."

Joshua Coleman, PhD, a San Francisco psychologist and author, on the other hand, doubts that you're standing up for yourself in arenas more vital than the silverware drawer. "To be successful, you have to be decisive about what you want in your life and career. You need to know when to prioritize your own needs," he says.

And Beresin wonders, "Is this a joke? Do you apologize to rakes in the shed? Pencils on the desk? Products that you don't buy at the store? Magical thinking -- that is, believing that inanimate objects have feelings -- is normal for a four-year-old. But it's definitely not normal for an adult." Since you're such a feast for the psychological mind, you might consider talking to a professional. You won't have to apologize to him.

6/28/2007 1:41 PM  
Blogger Jennifer/The Word Cellar said...

I read this in Reader's Digest. (My brother randomly signed me up for a free subscription a few months ago.) And I thought the "experts" were really hard on the letter writer. Maybe "magical thinking" is more suited to a four-year-old, but I'm betting it's more common in adults than these experts think. And as long as it's not crippling, I say it's not a big deal. Read the whole article and see what other quirks folks have: Thanks for weighing in, ImNotHuman. Even if you are calling us all nuts! :)

6/28/2007 5:32 PM  

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