I’ve always considered myself to be flexible, a person open to new opportunities, unafraid of change. Imagine my surprise to discover this isn’t true.
The first hint of this was when I discovered it was impossible for me to read the LIFE section of the newspaper “out of order”: the advice column first, then the comics on the right page before those on the left. As soon as I recognized this, I tried to read the funnies on the left side first. I felt incredibly uncomfortable.
Oh, I could have done that, but it didn’t feel right. Why put oneself under stress when reading the comics?
The second was when I realized I couldn’t fall asleep if I lay on the “passenger” side of the bed. The last strike was yesterday as I wrapped a package to mail. I used one of those envelopes that has a handy tab to tear open. However, I never trust the postal service, an unfounded lack of trust I know, but I’m certain anything I send will burst open and the contents will litter the conveyor belt. For that reason, I use several feet—sometimes yards--of tape to make sure that won’t happen. Sadly, it makes the package difficult for the recipient to open. This time, I even taped over that handy little tab. I’m not even going into my problem with sliced bread.
For all these reasons, I have to admit, I’m not adaptable in certain situations, more of them than I like to confess.
What about you? Do you have ways you have to do things? Won’t you share them with us? Does this bother you or those you live with? Can you laugh at yourself about these?
What I’ve learned as a writer is that these odd traits make our characters more interesting in novels. Perhaps—to take the heat off yourself—you might want to mention a character in a novel or movie that had an unforgettable compulsion.
It will make me feel much better.