'Yes, I’m Weird. But So Are You.' An Ode to What Makes Us All Unique

I don’t know exactly what got me thinking about my funny (or maybe not so funny) quirks, but it was probably goat cheese.

Unlike almost everyone else, I absolutely despise the stuff. (Ok, my mom and sister do, too.) I hate it so much I tell people I’m allergic to it rather than explain how, when goat cheese mistakenly ends up in my mouth, I black out.

Of course, I’m exaggerating. No amount of goat cheese can actually make me lose consciousness. However, if even the tiniest smear accidentally assaults my taste buds, I have to concentrate so hard on not gagging, retching or actually vomiting that I might as well be unconscious. So there’s no point in asking me why I’m spitting into a napkin and then stuffing it into the pocket of a nearby pool table (true story.)

So, yes, I’m weird. To prove it, here are ten more random weird things you might as well know about me:

1. Everything I said about goat cheese applies to Romano cheese, too. You’re probably thinking, what? Romano is indistinguishable from Parmesan! Unfortunately, I can clearly distinguish it, especially when it’s grated into a bowl of delicious Parmesan and sprinkled liberally over my favorite pasta. So much for the romantic anniversary dinner.

2. I can’t stand the sight (or the thought) of someone putting wooden chopsticks in their mouth. Going out for sushi can be very unsettling as I beg my husband not to let the sticks touch his lips. If they do, my skin crawls as if I’m covered with baby spiders and I have to stare hard at my plate and think about kittens.

3. I faint at blood, both real and imagined. I’ve written about this before, but my habit is both highly inconvenient and, sometimes, downright dangerous. Fainting has left me with a black eye, a bruised temple and, more than once, the burning humiliation of coming to with my skirt hitched up somewhere around my waist.

4. I have never, ever tasted canned tuna fish.

5. I can’t stand the expression, “I know, right?” Have three words ever joined forces to become so empty, so meaningless? (“President Donald Trump” doesn’t count). I mean, like, duh.

6. Another pet peeve: Fewer vs. less. Here’s an easy way to remember the correct usage: If you have less water in a glass (volume or mass), you have fewer drops of water (individual or singular items you can count). Less money, fewer dollars. Less time, fewer minutes.

My mom and I share this grammatical grouch. (Editor’s note: I do too.) If we’re out together and hear someone mixing up the words, we catch each other’s eye. Fewer, my mom mouths in my direction. I raise my eyebrow and nod. Less, we correct sternly, in silent unison.

7. You know those little boxes of code you have to decipher before submitting a web page to prove you’re not a robot? They totally stress me out because there’s always one number or letter I can’t read. I take my best guess and hit submit. Invariably, the page is rejected. With sweaty palms, I start again.

8. Who invented the word “listicle”? More to the point, why? If someone knows how an uber-hip listicle is any different from a perfectly good list, please enlighten me. In the meantime, I’ve got a to-do list to write.

9. I need exactly three pillows and two earplugs to fall asleep. Also, a pair of sturdy shoes next to my bed and my PJs securely fastened to my body. In the Bay Area, nocturnal earthquake anxiety is a powerful thing. (I know, right?)

10. I spent years during and after college waiting tables, but I can’t spell “restaurant.” I always try “rest-a-raunt” before spellcheck corrects me. (Funny aside: Thanks to Google Trends, now you can look up the most commonly misspelled word in each state. Across the country, we stumble over “beautiful,” “tomorrow,” “diarrhea” and “pneumonia.” Wisconsin’s top spelling snafu? Wisconsin.

Of course, this is just a partial list (not, ahem, a listicle) of my peccadillos, idiosyncrasies, quirks, penchants, proclivities, frailties and foibles.

If you know me at all, I’m sure you can probably point out plenty more. That’s fine. After all, I know what makes you, tick, too. I understand that in your own unique way, you’re exactly as weird as I am.

Power to the peculiar, I always say.

So how about we meet somewhere to grab a drink or have a bite to celebrate our weird, wacky, wonderful ways? I’ll be there—provided, of course, that it’s a goat cheese-free zone.

Willow Older is a nationally and internationally published writer and a professional editor. She lives in Northern California where she runs her own editorial services business and publishes a weekly newsletter called Newsy!.