Thursday, September 4, 2008

Weird Things

After about 6 or so years in my former company, my boss (D.) and I were talking about the upcoming busy season and the temporary teacher pool he'd be hiring from. Each year, it seemed that we were getting fewer and fewer applicants and many of them were completely inappropriate. That is, about 30-50% weren't native speakers of English and therefore not qualified. If their résumés were any indication of ability, all of them weren't even close to being fluent in English either.

During the time we worked there, we hired a lot of people with little problems or who were just plain weird. One Australian girl, for instance, sat in her cubicle and meticulously "painted" the cord connecting the telephone receiver to the phone red with her pen (much to the irritation of D. who shared a cubicle with her). Another was rather anally-fixated on hygiene and when she ate any salted snack wouldn't put her hand down into the bag to grab bites. She tore the bag open along the top and back seam so it was flayed open and bits could be picked up from the exposed pile. This same co-worker was once aghast that my husband and I brushed our teeth at the kitchen sink as she thought it was appalling that we spit out our toothpaste in the same place where we washed dishes. However, somehow that became okay when we told her we only have one sink in the entire apartment and had no choice. Yet another temporary teacher ate a bowl of breakfast cereal at his desk upon arrival one day and was shocked that this would be considered inappropriate. When the president witnessed this behavior, he was incensed and docked the fellow's pay so we had to tell him the obvious - don't eat breakfast at your desk when you arrive, eat it at home before coming to work.

As we were discussing the parade of strange people we'd seen pass through and pondering what sort of oddballs might be coming our way in the future, I remarked that we really had to expect everyone to be weird because the truth is that we're all weird in our own ways. D. and I had worked together for so long though that we'd grown accustomed to each other's weirdness such that they didn't bother us so much anymore or seem particularly remarkable.

Sometimes I think it's useful to sit down and think about one's peculiarities just to be mindful of the fact that peculiar isn't only the purview of others. So, I present you with some of my particular weirdnesses at present. You may feel free to laugh at me or judge me harshly. Just don't tell me about it:
  1. I haven't listened to music of any kind for at least 4 years. It's not that I hate new music or never liked music. I just have zero desire to listen to anything. This may be related to the fact that music has profound effects on me emotionally. I'm not sure, but it's odd even to me that music is just not a part of my life. That being said, sometimes I find myself singing songs to myself when I'm alone. This is very disturbing.
  2. I don't like freshly made pasta, but I do like it reheated as leftovers.
  3. I love being around people and talking to them, but I hate answering the phone and the door. I don't mind talking on the phone or having people visit. I just have an aversion to the unexpected and intrusive nature of either of them ringing.
  4. I can't recall wanting to be considered "cool", even when I was younger. I'd rather be a dork (or dorkette if you prefer). I'm guessing I'm pretty successful at this.
  5. I'm not embarrassed by my unavoidably "human" qualities and habits. For instance, I snore sometimes. Sometimes I snore loud enough to wake myself up. This does not embarrass me at all to admit. One of my coworkers once stated that everyone picks their nose (whether with a tissue or without) and anyone who claims he does not is a liar. This statement struck me as his having a refreshingly good attitude about the less savory aspects of being a meat sack with many unpleasant realities.
  6. I don't like the use of the word "race" when describing people of different skin colors and ethnic origins so I always speak of "ethnicity" rather than "race" as I feel culture is a larger factor than blood in determining what people are like.
  7. Despite never having lacked any of the basic necessities in life, I remember everyday that I'm very lucky to have clean and safe water, abundant food, a job which doesn't require hard labor, and comfortable, clean shelter as well as a husband who loves me. I take a moment to be thankful for these things at least once a day. I believe this contributes greatly to my happiness and satisfaction with life.
  8. I love cats, but I enjoy looking at pictures of puppies more than pictures of kittens.
  9. I haven't left for my local neighborhood for the past year. In fact, I think I haven't left it more than 5 times in the past 2 years. I used to travel all over the place every weekend and I think I'm utterly burned out and disinterested in travel now. This realization strikes even me as surprising, but it doesn't trouble me.
  10. I'd rather go to the effort and hassle of cooking my own food and cleaning up after it than go to a restaurant where the environment is unpredictable and the meal experience might be ruined by smokers, bad air conditioner settings, loud or crappy muzak or poor service. I'm sufficiently annoyed at the idea of paying for a good experience and being letdown that I prefer not to even take "the risk."


'badmoodguy' is mike said...

Your list of quirks sound very familiar. I see a lot of myself in there. Perhaps it would be a good idea if everyone took stock of their idiosyncrasies...we may then be more tolerant of others.

Number 6 is especially aggravating to me...whatever happened to the "human race"?

Orchid64 said...

Maybe I'm also in a bad mood? ;-) Or possibly it's because we came from similar geographic areas and it's some northeastern deal?

I must say that I felt a certain realization when my boss and I had that chat. It really does help to realize that we're not the center of what is "right" or "normal" and that we're strange, too.

Thanks for commenting. :-)

the melodic news said...

I'm with you on 3 and 4, but 8 - now that IS peculiar!

Orchid64 said...

Hi, melodic, and thanks for reading and commenting. :-) Yeah, I can't understand the deal with puppies. It think it's the big, sad eyes.

That's an interesting site you've got!