Sunday, April 01, 2007

Tics, Tic-Tacs, Toes

Shannon tagged me for the Six Weird Things About Me Meme, so here they are. It is, indeed, an Idiosyncratic Life.

1. I don't really like chocolate that much. Sure, I'll go for chocolate-covered pretzels and the occasional chocolate-covered strawberry at the beach. I won't say no to chocolate cake with peanut butter icing, but I'm MUCH more of a cheesecake, carrot cake, vanilla, red velvet kind of girl.

2. I talk to myself. Out loud. Often. You know about my crazy memory, right? And I've written before about my ability to relive embarrassing moments in my life as intensely as if they were happening all over again for the very first time... You add those two instances of weirdness together, and you sometimes get me saying either "Shut up!" or "F*ck!" (here's the weird part) OUT LOUD to the people in the memory or the memory itself.

Even weirder, this frequently happens when I'm deep in thought or doing something time-consuming and mind-numbing, like scrubbing the bathtub. Whenever College Roommate Jo would hear me at it, she would just call out, "You tell those voices in your head who's boss!" :) Miss her.

(It's not Tourette's, by the way. I mean, it's definitely some kind of weird verbal tic, for sure, but I don't have any of the other neurological disruptions that come part and parcel with Tourette's syndrome.)

One time I was walking Bella around 2 p.m. on a week day. It was my day off, and I was still in my pajamas. As I was walking along, I remembered something that made me angry, and I did my little involuntary tic-y thing. A man saw me, and based on where he was standing, I couldn't even pretend I was on a cell phone with an ear bud on the opposite side.

Of course I am MOR.TI.FIED, so when he said, "Are you okay?" I kind of nodded, speechless with embarrassment. He was clearly looking at my pajama pants with concern (remember it's the middle of the afternoon) and trying to figure out what exactly was wrong with me and which mental institution I may have wandered out of. You know, with a dog! Or someti He asked, "Do you live around here?" He was somewhat of a sketchy character himself, so I kind of gestured vaguely to my street and prayed for the grou nd to open up and swallow me. Then I pulled out a poop bag for the dog, knowing in my heart of hearts that this would become one of those embarrassing memories at which I would someday curse out loud. Le sigh.

3. Speaking of wanting the earth to swallow me up, I had an elaborate imaginary escape world in elementary school. I used to imagine that I had similar powers to the girl in "Out of This World,"a cheesy short-lived TV show in the '80s. The protagonist could stop time by pressing her index fingertips together and unfreeze anyone she wanted by placing her hand on his or her shoulder.

If I didn't want to do something, like take a math test, I would imagine myself freezing the class and entering an elaborate underground hideout under my elementary school. I had an imaginary bed where I could take a nap, a pool to swim in, snacks, etc. As I got more self-conscious about my looks (this was directly related to a bad haircut I got in sixth grade that briefly earned me the nickname "Fro-ette"), I had an imaginary hair stylist in my imaginary hideout.

There were entrances to my imaginary escape world all over the school, mostly located in places where I was likely to be embarrassed- the cafeteria, the gym, the baseball diamond
(I was practically the valedictorian of the Duck 'n Scream School of Athletics).

4. I have a nervous habit of tugging on my eyebrows. It started ten years ago during my freshman year of college. My first roommate was a girl named Holly, who was incredibly cute and incredibly vain. She was always freshly coiffed, plucked, waxed, shaved, showered, polished and pedicured. She came to college with her high school boyfriend in tow. On the nights he slept over, she washed her hair, blew it out and curled it with hot rollers RIGHT BEFORE BED. By contrast, I was oblivious about my looks. On more than one occasion, I was surprised to see that I had walked around all day wearing two completely different sneakers: one Adidas with green stripes on the right, one Nike with a gray swoosh on the left. Then again, her high school boyfriend threatened to throw her TV out the window when she dumped him. The zaniest thing most of my high school boyfriends did was start dating guys after I dumped them.

Anyway, the one grooming habit I picked up from Holly was an unusual preoccupation with my eyebrows. Compared to her over-plucked arches, I looked like I had two caterpillars crawling across my forehead. I started plucking and waxing, but I didn't realize I had started tugging on them worriedly until I helped Kelly apply for colleges over winter break. We had a marathon session at my parents' kitchen table over Christmas. She used my laptop to crank out one application essay after another while I repeatedly typed her name, address and social security number on various forms. Every now and then, she'd read me a paragraph, and I'd think and rethink it, all the while playing with my eyebrows. It got to the point where I'd look across the table, only to see Kelly watching me and tugging on her own eyebrows. You know, mocking me. In a loving way. (Mwah!) The habit stuck. I still do it.

5. I can only eat Tic-Tacs in even numbers.

6. I was running late for school in 9th grade, and I tripped over a pair of dirty jeans on my bedroom floor. My big toe caught on the zipper fly, and my toenail cracked in half. Blood everywhere. My toenail has never been the same.

I've got to tag four others now, right? I choose Lauren, Annie, Gwen, and Kelly. Go HHS grads. :)


cindy w said...

Wow, you are one neurotic little cookie. :-)

I do the Tic-Tac thing too - I want the same amount on each side of my mouth.

Chunky Photojournalist Barbie said...

Yeah. I'm starting to wonder if being QUITE this honest wasn't a mistake...

lauren said...

Don't shoot the messenger, but most red velvet cake recipes are just chocolate cake with a bottle of red food dye thrown in. It's the cream cheese frosting that makes it taste different. ;)

Kelly said...

And to this day I am still grateful to you for sitting there typing my name, address, etc. on college app after college app. Love you!

Chunky Photojournalist Barbie said...

I think I knew that about red velvet cake. I swear they taste different to me, though.

Anne said...

Oof, I'm tagged! And glory be, I actually did this (except it was "five things you don't know about me") a few months ago on my livejournal: see (Jan 2, 2:54 PM, underneath the Watership Down meme)

I'll have to think of a sixth thing and post it...

I love your version of Tourette's. I have the same disease!!

anne said...

ARG! I meant January 22nd.

Stooopid typo.