Id·i·o·syn·cra·sy

> idiosyncrasy _n., pl._ *-sies.*
>
> 1. A structural or behavioral characteristic peculiar to an individual or group.
> 2. A physiological or temperamental peculiarity.
> 3. An unusual individual reaction to food or a drug.
>
> List five of your own idiosyncrasies and then tag five friends to do the same.

### I am deathly afraid of sharks and aliens.

As phobias go, I find that I can cope with these quite easily. They generally do not affect my daily routines as much as, say, a fear of spiders or the sky falling or flying insects or the like. (Ants do not count. Ants will be covered later.)

I made my [younger sister](http://www.fuzzbean.net/) cover _Call It Courage_ with a brown paper bag so that I would not have to touch the picture of the shark on the cover. When I was younger, I had the occasional freakout in the middle of a pool because of the invisible chlorine-digesting sharks that lay in wait at the bottom of it, but I’m pretty much over that. Also on the list to avoid are baths; I’m really not a big fan of them. I greatly prefer showers. I will probably never go on a cruise. I am very leery of oceans and beaches and the like.

I inflicted more agony upon the same sister with my fear of aliens. (Only the H.G. Giger brand, mind.) We shared a bedroom, and every night she had to go through the ritual of turning on the closet light, closing the middle closet door, closing the outer closet door (there were two bedrooms with connecting closets, a feature I saw and loved in [_E.T._](http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083866/) that was built into the house), and finally, turning off the closet light. Yeah. Otherwise, no sleep. I have not yet inflicted this on my husband, although he has occasionally done things like, um, jumping down from his desk onto the floor next to me right when the monster chase starts in [_The Relic_](http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120004/), which made me scream very, very loudly.

I have seen each movie in the [_Jaws_](http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073195/) and [_Alien_](http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078748/) series multiple times. I do this to try to convince myself that there are strings attached. Each time, I fail miserably.

### I cannot eat if my kitchen is a disaster.

Crumbs on the floor? Dishes in the sink? Pots on the counter? I cannot eat. I cannot have so much as a cup of tea if there is not _some_ degree of order and cleanliness in my kitchen. I have issues with my kitchen. I love my kitchen. It is the _one_ room in the house that is entirely under my control. I get antsy when things like motor oil and lumber and screwdrivers and toolboxes are left in my kitchen. I get irritable. I get snappish. It is best to keep stuff out of my kitchen unless I put it there.

### I cannot post/email/communicate unless it is perfect.

I write drafts of emails. I write drafts of little blurby things that end up on staff pages for various projects. I obsessively draft most entries for this site that are actual content and not little link library posts. I rehearse communications with other people in the shower and while I am doing dishes (because those are noisy activities where people will not look at me strangely for my constant muttering). I make up situations in my head when I am falling asleep because I know I will say the wrong thing. I am very good at saying the wrong thing.

The situation: I am at a Longhorn Steakhouse in Ottawa, Ontario with a group of people from [BSDCan](http://www.bsdcan.org/).
Kirk McKusick: So, how do you like Ottawa?
Me: Iowa? It’s a great state. I spent a summer there with the Women in Science and Engineering Program at Iowa State University.

Two minutes later, I realized that he was asking about Ottawa. I have no context for conversations. None. Whatsoever. Hence the muttering. Much muttering.

### I cannot sleep without having taken a shower.

I must go to sleep with wet hair. I have braved below-freezing weather and cold water that never really warmed up in order to take a shower at Girl Scout camp. At the Confirmation retreat, I was the first girl into the showers with their sulphur-laden water that smelled of rotten eggs. (The retreat was in Sulphur, Louisiana. Clue, much?) The very first thing on my mind after sex? Getting a shower. After giving birth? Getting a shower. After a day of really doing nothing except taking it easy with the kids? Getting a shower. I _must_ have my shower. Period.

This extends to the kids, a little bit. They must have a bath if they have played outside.

### Ants. Oh. My. God. Ants.

This is from my mother, and her mother before her. It has been passed down through the generations. If we see an ant, we kill it. It must die. It must die and be completely dead. I have been known to smush them with my bare hands. I will sit and smush ants in their little fucking happy trails until they are dead. I will spray poison until I get dizzy because the ants, they must die. I hate ants. I am not afraid of them. I hate them in a new, special way.

I have had minty fresh ants, a trail of little green blobs which smelled minty fresh when I squished them because they had been drinking Creme de Menthe. That is how evil ants are. They go after your soul, and then they go after your liquor.

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