Little quirks

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The Underpass, Ottawa, June 2011

We all have little quirks. I know I have a few. Okay, maybe more than a few.

For instance, I enjoy eating with chopsticks because I don’t like the metallic taste some forks and spoons leave. Besides, chopsticks are easier to wash. And being able to eat anything with 筷子 (“kuàizi”, the Chinese word for them) (including cake and small grains of rice) is always a good life skill to have. My coworkers used to think I had some kind of exotic Chinese food at lunch because of my eating utensils. Sorry folks, just a regular Western salad!

I don’t bite my nails but I bite the skin on the inside of my bottom lip when I’m concentrated or worried about something. This is one of the reasons why I never wear lipstick—I don’t want to look like a clown with makeup all over my teeth and fingers after playing with my lip.

I also like twisting a curl of hair. Long hair or short hair, I’ve always done that, as far as I can remember. I take a lock of hair between my left-hand fingers and I stroke it. Then, I twirl it around my forefinger and play with it. It’s a subconscious quirk and I only notice it when my hand is halfway through it already.

I’ve been called on it many times when I was a kid. Teachers used to mistake it for inattention: “Miss, I’m sure you’ll be happy to answer the question!” I usually did answer the question because I did pay attention (unless it was in math class, in which case I probably had no clue). However, being sent to the blackboard to write the answer or to solve a math problem was slightly more problematic. I needed both of my hands for that and had to untangle my left hand first. It usually made the class laugh. I didn’t care. At least, I didn’t have bloody fingertips from biting the skin around the nails (Feng does that and it drives me crazy—how can it not hurt?).

I developed a few new quirks in Canada. Putting cream on my hands and chapstick on my lips, for instance. I don’t usually wear make-up and I’m pretty low-maintenance but I always have some kind of lip balm and moisturizing hand cream somewhere in my bag. Our winters are very dry and even though I’ve been there for a while, my skin hasn’t adapted to it yet. I also use hand sanitizer after riding the bus if I can’t wash my hands right away. I’m not especially germaphobe but I’m pretty sure the bars I’m holding on to in the bus have more germs than toilets! On a side note, these alcohol-based hand sanitizers are handy to have for mosquito bites or scratches—just rub a drop of it to calm the itch or disinfect a wound.

Again, because I find the weather dry here, I drink a lot. Not alcohol, because I don’t like it—does being French and not enjoying any kind of alcoholic beverage count as a quirk? Anyway, I enjoy water, green tea, juice… When I was a teacher I had to speak all day long and my throat was often dry so I learned to have some water or soda on my desk. I don’t drink coffee other than the occasional fancy Starbucks latte but I need a kick in the morning, so Coke Zero is my poison of choice.

I always take my shoes off at home and walk bare feet (or wear slippers on the linoleum in the kitchen). We actually have pairs of slippers here and there at home, some to go to the basement, others in the garage etc. I thought everybody did the same until someone made fun of for adopting what is supposed to be an Asian custom. Really? Apparently, keeping footwear outside is a cultural thing. Well, as long as I’m cleaning, no shoes inside, period!

How about you? Any funny little quirks?

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

8 Comments

  1. I play with my fingers, involuntarily. I walk on the street and suddenly I find that my fingers are looped around each other, and making strange formations. I wasn’t aware of this until my friends told me that I am doing it; they have been watching my fingers and was quite mesmerized!

  2. I bite the skin around my finger nails!! It hurts and my fingers got infected a few times, but I can’t help it!!

  3. Gotta be the chapstick, can’t leave my body without it! I usually have a constant uniform on which I’m trying to change especially now that I’m in my mid 30’s! I’m very inconsistent otherwise and can surprise people from time to time. Don’t think I can think of more quirks at this time, but that’s very interesting of you! We don’t wear shoes inside either because we keep our light carpet clean!

  4. I leave my shoes outside the door and bring slippers when we’re visiting friends, most French people I know keep their shoes on while inside and I just hate it!

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