Sunday, November 23, 2008

Quirky is as Quirky Does

This is a list, one of my quirks, that Miss Chris had on her blog and I thought it would be fun to show-off a little as well. So here are six quirky things about me.

I am fascinated by numbers and I love to count
I don’t know when it began, but I have played with numbers for at least two decades now. I use them to make large tasks smaller, like baby steps. I count down, and sometimes up, as little bits and pieces of things get done. I also use it for pleasure when I am driving, drawing, even writing. I learned to count up to 100 about the time I was 3 and I started reading then as well, with my mother’s help. I recall my first apartment in college, a small one-bedroom that only had 3 spaces and I still counted to keep it tidy. Now it is a habit. For instance, my latest thing is numbers that are squared (I have doubled from 1 to 1024, tested how many primes I could recall and even played with sublevels of primes like happy numbers and sexy numbers) and I will make coffee and feed the cats for a 100 count. Then to the livingroom to clean up the coffee table and replace candles for a count of 81. Then make the bed for 64. Someone once said I could be autistic, but I think I just like to multitask.

I am an artist that thrives on routine
I always believed that to be an artist you needed to be flighty and a lot of creative types I knew followed this stereotype. This I found to be untrue when I met some successful artists - those who actually live off their work - and found that, though quirky, they are not always flying by the seat of their pants. I realized there are several successful writers, painters, sculptors and such who also loved a clean workbench, time on the calendar and a justifiable means to an ends. Chaos and drama don’t necessarily breed art, just a cluster fuck. Though I am still learning all this, it is nice to know that this quirky bit isn’t so quirky just for art’s sake.

I get bored very easily
Things generally grab my attention, I spend time on them, loving them like a new romance and then I am off leaving them all to their lonesome. I hate leaving things unfinished. I appreciate the feeling of accomplishment and the little treats I get when I have done something well, even if I hated doing it some of the time. But sometimes boredom rules. For instance, I had a neighbor who was the most boring person I had met. When he invited me over for coffee, and sometimes dinner, I had to politely refuse to save myself from death by boredom. Friends and mentors have shown me that working through the struggles isn’t just noble, but Zen. Like putting down a book that is dull and lifeless, I had to accept that some things were just not to be experienced by me and I had no need for closure. On the other hand, when I started knitting I made scarves. Not very useful here in Florida, but they were easy to do. Then I got bored. The passion that racked me had left and now I wanted to be free of the yarn ties that bound. My friend Mich then gave me a challenge. “Make me a purse for my birthday.” As my old boss, she knew that I loved challenges and also making gifts so I set about on my task and completed it with a few bumps of giving up in the road. I knew if I quit she wouldn’t care, no skin off her nose and no disdain for me. But I loved the feeling of completion and what I could do with this new skill. This lesson has taught me to work through my boredom and notice how things turn out when I don’t give up. At least most of the time.

I love lists
I used to proudly state that my zodiac sign predestined me to like lists. Since I don’t really believe in that kind of stuff now, I figure it is like the numbers thing, I just like order and lists give me that order. My lists include accomplishments I want to achieve by a certain day or in a certain timeframe. They hold the secrets to baby-steps I will take. And keep me on track when I am out running errands. Small lists like picking up a few things from the grocery store are usually only mental, but lately I need to write these things down. Along with counting, I make lists when I am bored at work, on the drive home or waiting in line. These are all mental too. They help work my mind and keep me from getting bored. I love books of lists and David Letterman’s list and all the list shows on TV like the top 15 Political Sex Scandals or the Top 100 Movies or Metal Bands. I think it also has to do with routine and how things are neatly placed to make a statement.

I have a plethora of books and only have read about 10%
I used to collect books. Now I am learning to part with many of them. I have a whole room in my house with bookshelf-lined walls filled to the brim and I have only read about 10% of these poems and prose, essays and rants, fiction and nonfiction wonders. I joined a Web site called where you give and receive books from other members through the mail. So far I have sent away Ernest Hemingway – not a big fan and if I get the urge to be pretentious I can go to the library; the Lemony Snickets collection; and a few books on gemstones and jewelry. I have replaced these with a cookbook by Julia Child and The Artist’s Way. I like having my own library, but most of the books are only good for a quick reference once in a decade. For instance, the other night I was talking to Ronn about Sid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy. I showed him the book that Nancy’s mom wrote about her daughter and Rock N Roll Babylon with pictures of them both alive and dead. Both of these books have been sitting on the shelves for years and only now were they brought out. I don’t need all the dust.

Social introvert
Lastly, according to the Meyers/Briggs Personality Test, I am an introvert and not just a little, I am on the furthest part of the scale. Yet I have a lot of friends, I like to go out, I find it easy to smile and speak to people I don’t know and am well liked. But I need my time away and will be with others usually on my terms. As an introvert, I find that I relish my time alone, really alone without any other human contact. For instance, yesterday I spent the whole day by myself. Ronn, being very understanding and Renee as well, left me to my own devices as I relished my time. This is when I restore my energy, get things done and think in silence. I need it since this week I am on with family over for Thanksgiving and revving up to all the parties I have scheduled to attend this holiday season. And when I am alone I mean alone. This is one reason I don’t have children to take care of or a plethora of on-line virtual realities (which I find a tad farcical.) When I choose to be social it is face-to-face and real. I am too entrenched in the real world.

So what are your quirks???

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