… pausing, unnecessarily humble, wisecracking, rule-breaking Mannion for giving me an excuse to engage my mind with more pleasant things for a bit.
That Could Be Called Weird
1. I’m a trichotillomaniac, which is a compulsive hair-puller. Not figuratively, like “George Bush makes me want to pull my hair out!” but quite literally. People who suffer from trichotillomania compulsively pull out their scalp hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, etc., generally due to stress, and most (80%) trichotillomaniacs are female. I have a pretty mild case and only feel compelled to pull individual hairs out of my scalp, and I can generally control myself by sitting on my hands, when I even realize I’m doing it. But there have been times in the past when I’ve been really stressed out that I’ve given myself a small bald spot. It’s kind of embarrassing to admit that I do this, but it’s also such a ridiculously strange habit that I also find it rather amusing.
2. I point at something before I pick it up. Others noticed this about me, rather than my noticing it about myself, and even now that it’s been thoroughly mocked so that I’m aware of it, I still can’t help doing it. (I also do this if I stumble across something worth picking up that was dropped by someone else, like a $5 bill on the street, at which I was pointing before stooping when this habit was first pointed out to me.)
3. I knit my brow very tightly and stick my tongue out while I’m reading or concentrating intently. This habit I discovered because it has provided endless amusement to coworkers and bosses who have loved to tease me about it. One of my former bosses used to say, “Oh, the tongue’s out—Melissa cannot be disturbed!” Which, by the way, wasn’t a commentary on my agitation at being disturbed, but on the near-impossibility of disturbing me while I’m in that state. I hear nothing, see nothing, except that on which I’m focusing. Anything short of nudging me rather roughly will fail to get my attention.
4. I can fall asleep just about anywhere, anytime. And I tend to fall asleep in about five seconds. The only time I have trouble falling asleep is if Mr. Shakes has fallen asleep first, because he snores so incredibly loudly that it feels like he’s trying to saw my head into two via my ear canals.
5. If I’m talking about my Londoner Andy, my speech takes on a vaguely London accent as I start to drop my Ts. Again, this is something I’m totally unaware of doing, but Mr. Shakes and our pal Mickey Mouse recently pointed it out to me (much to my embarrassment). I have no idea why I do it, but I suppose it has something to do with subconsciously recalling the billions of hours we’ve spent talking on the phone or in person and channeling his “voice” into a conversation about him.
Speaking to the collection of bizarre idiosyncrasies that passes for my personality, these probably aren’t even the top five of my weird habits, but they’re the first five that came to mind.