Quirks – Things we illogically love….and hate

Posted by in Best Of, Musings




Other than our slight genetic differences, people are exceptionally unique when it comes to their individual quirks.  These quirks are the random assortment of things we like or dislike, or things we try to do or desperately avoid.  These peculiar behavioral patterns exist in everyone, even the most normal of us.  I apologize for being so vague, so I’ll just jump right into what I’m trying to get across.

To use myself as an example, I absolutely LOVE when airplane flight attendants go through their safety routine. (Hence the thumbnail image makes a little more sense now). I know, it’s weird, but I find the predictability of this routine, which I’ve seen hundreds of times, hypnotic and soothing.  I sit down in my seat, instantly buckle my belt, and eagerly anticipate being inundated with information I already clearly know and understand.  But their movements, the voice over the intercom running through the scripted instructions, and their demonstrations for “using life vests” and “buckling seat belts” is mesmerizing.  And don’t even get me started about how excited I get when they point out the location of the exits.  This absolutely strange quirk is something my own mother probably doesn’t even know about, but it is something is that is uniquely me.

Yet not all quirks are positive in nature.  I can’t explain it logically, but I have an extreme aversion to corn-based biodegradable straws. Whenever I unknowingly bite down on the straw, the subtle granulated texture of the straws gives me chills, and the hairs on the nape of my neck stand up as if I were held at gun point.   Now if I know that I was given this kind of straw, I just throw it away without even thinking about it, just to avoid the awful feeling I get.  Needless to say, I HATE Corn Based straws!

So why do we have these weird quirks?

It is my personal belief that these quirks are all a form of superstition.  We have, for some reason or another, decided that these superstitious behaviors confer to us some value.  It’s a form of mislabeling a “cause and effect” relationship.  This basic concept is very important from an evolutionary perspective.  If you eat something, and you get sick, you probably shouldn’t eat that anymore.  You touch a leaf, and it causes swelling or a rash, you should probably avoid touching it in the future.  However with superstitious behavior, we falsely attribute certain “causes” to result in a given outcome.  I typically like to think about the stereotypical athelete who decides to wear socks of a certain color, and that game, their team wins.  Now said athlete may beleive the color of their socks contributed to their win.  That is superstition.

Quirks are superstitions that bypass the normal logical causal progression.  Instead, we come to a conclusion on our own, convincing ourselves without any evidence.  We may even be perfectly aware that our actions our illogical, but we can’t help it.

(DISCLAIMER: There is a distinction between quirks and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), they can be the the exact same, while the latter implies these actions directly and adversely affect normal daily functioning.  Everyone has quirks, but not everyone is OCD)

What are your quirks?

Everyone has them….it’s what makes us different.  Some other examples of quirks that people I know have include:

1) One friend doesn’t like setting her alarm so that the last digit is an odd number….or a zero….or a six.

2) Another friend has a stuffed trout that she has watch over household

3) my sister is VERY attracted to left handed people….good thing her husband is a south paw

So what about you?  Let’s see what you got.