Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Still working on this character thing. I need quirks - those weird little 'things' we all have that make us human. I'm looking for something fun and not cliche - no food or weight obsession things. I found a role-playing site that lists quirks, but many are unusable (Uses the same hand gestures in conversation as they do when casting spells.)

Do you have any *friends* with quirks you wouldn't mind sharing with me? I'm trying to think of everyone I ever knew, but I'm really not coming up with much.

This character analysis stuff is so in-depth. I don't think I even know myself as well as I'll end up knowing these characters.

Do I have quirks? I don't like my feet to be dirty, which is funny because I go barefoot a lot. I hate chipped nail polish on myself and others. I will develop a preference for a particular mug or glass and not be happy if it's unavailable when I want a drink. I hate premixed fruit salad that allows the flavours to mix so that all the fruit tastes the same. I like color. I get depressed if I'm stuck in a white or grey room. I can't think of more, but there probably are more...

Tell me yours or any you can think of - pleeeease!!


Dodi said...

I can think of a lot of stuff, some mine, some from others. Turns out I'm a tad compulsive.

Off the top of my head:
- Paranoid about bad breath. Brushes teeth a lot. After lunch at work everyday. Keeps those finger brush things in purse. Brushes all the time, but can't floss regularly, even knowing that rotten teath between teeth is a major breath factor.

- Conceptual food issues. Mushrooms are nasty fungus that taste of dirt. Cheese is mold. Milk is just plain weird because it is another species breast milk. Yet will eat ice cream, cheese and yogurt (which is both breast milk and bacteria). Selective thinking is the key, ignore the source if it's tasty enough.

- In college I dated a guy who's Mom would come down every night after she had gone to bed to ask if we smelled smoke. I thought it was her checking up on us, but he said she did it almost every night.

- My BIL is a compulsive cleaner. He can't relax in a messy house. He spends 10 to 45 minutes cleaning when I gets home from work. Counters cleared and wiped down with a spray cleaner, floor cleared and vaccumed, dishes washed. The maddening part is that he doesn't care where the stuff goes as long as it isn't visible, so he shoves it wherever. You can't leave anything out or it will get thrown out or shoved where you can't find it. My sister is forever looking for her stuff.

Karen said...

good stuff. I like the breath one :O

Trackrick said...

I know someone who used to say "go ahead and" far too often. Like "I decided to go ahead and go for a run", instead of "I decided to go for a run". Usually that phrase is used when you shouldn't do something, or you weren't originally inclined to do it, but you did it anyway. He used it outside of those parameters.

The drawback to that one is that there's already a movie character that does that - the boss in "Office Space" ("Yeah. I'm going to go ahead and sort of ask you to come in this weekend.").

Another quirk is my own. I wash my hands a lot (to avoid getting germs into my body when I rub my eyes or just touch my face, where most germ entry occurs - I've been doing this ever since the Great Redbrook Plague of '95). I wash them so much that they get very dry, and in the winter, when the dry air makes them even more so, the skin cracks open like crazy and it hurts a lot. And I don't like putting lotion on my hands to prevent the cracking because then the palms get all greasy, and I hate that.

Also, looking over that previous paragraph, I probably use the word "and" a bit too much.

Karen said...

extraneous phrase is a good one - thanks!

I'm always trying to stop myself from saying "yeah" instead of yes, but I do it all the time. Hit me if you hear me say yeah

Karen said...

ps just use the freakin' hand cream already! It soaks in after a minute. Your new wife won't appreciate lizard hands...

Anonymous said...

i lick my lips. which chaps them, which means i constantly need lip balm, which i can never find.

Dodi said...

Here are some more, I kept a notepad file open all day to collect stuff as it occurred to me.

Ooh the lip thing. I've recently become obsessed with always having lip balm available. I used to use Burt's Bees balm until I read something about pepermint oil being a skin irritant and realized my lips were getting worse the more I used it. I've been replacing all my stash of Burt's Bees with basic original formula Chapstick. I can't use flavored stuff anymore cause it makes me want sweets. I got a three pack in my X-mas stocking that has finally allowed me to put a stick everywhere I tend to need one: purse, coat pockets (all winter coats), work desk, home desk, next to recliner, nightstand. I can't bring myself to by store brand lip balm, must be Chapstick. Have some stuff from health store too that is pretty good. I think there are currently five tubes of lip balm by my recliner (in front of tv of course) right now.

- Cuts salad throughly and mixes all the ingredients before taking first bite. I always cut my salads up into bite sizes before eating. This started because I usually eat lunch out and read so I like to cut everything up ahead of time so I don't have to put down my book as often. But I do this so regularly that a friend assumed I was doing it to examine the whole salad. She thought I was looking at every piece to make sure it was alright.

- I find people who can pull out movie quotes and music facts with no effort quirky. Especially when they apply in a funny way to situations. Like Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane conversing in literary allusions, in playful, bantering way. I love that their way of using quotes isn't typically the direct words that relate to the situation, rather the sentence of stanza before. Then the other will supply the next part that is actually relevant. A modern twist on this would be movie, TV or song lyrics.

- I know a very butch lesbian who looks, dresses and talks very masculine, but has a treasured doll collection she keeps in a lovely lit curio cabinent in her living room. She will talk lovingly about each doll. In many ways she is very "girly" just not on the surface.

- Sorts all snacks before eating, even when flavor is not effected by color or shape. M&Ms, jelly beans and Skittles by color. After sorting them will eat until all the colors have the same amount. Then will continue eating so that there is an even number. Sorts and stacks crackers and chips with the bigger pieces or whole in a pile and eats all the little pieces before eating the bigger pieces. Eat broken chips before the whole. Eat all the cereal out of a bowl of Lucky Charms before eating any of the marshmallows.

bobapede said...

I hate it when people at work, usually on Friday, say, "Any plans for the weekend?" in a cheery, friendly, gee-I'm-interested-in-you tone of voice. I think, but don't say, "What the f... business is it of yours?" I say, "No, and I hope to god my wife doesn't have any plans for me." Then, while they're obviously waiting for me to ask them the same question, I just stare at them, until they say, "Well have a good weekend," and walk away.

I also hate part 2, on Monday, when they say, "Did you have a nice weekend." I usually say, "It was great. I did nothing. I sat in my recliner and stared at the ceiling the whole time. I even slept there. I didn't get out of the chair until I had to go to work this morning. I hope my wife cleans up the mess." Then, I repeat the stare while they wait for me to ask how their weekend was.

How's that for a quirk. Why is that a quirk? It seems like normal behavior to me, but nobody else acts like that. In fact, some "friends" tell me I have a reputation as an oddball. Go figure.

Speaking of friends, who needs them? What's that all about, anyway? I have no friends and I want no friends. I never had a friend. At least, I never had an acquaintence I would define as a friend. It's not their fault. It's me. It's all I can do to share some activities with my wife and family. There's no room in my life for anyone else. If I want to do something, I don't immediately think of a friend to do it with. I want to do it alone. Watch a movie or a sporting event? Alone. Read a book? Alone. Sit in my recliner and stare at the ceiling. Alone. What's with other people and their obsession with friends. All they do is complain about them. Of course you're going to complain about someone if they cross the line of acquaintanceship and start hanging around all the time, getting in your face, asking you to help them move or build an addition on their house, or offering to help you do things you (or I) would rather hire someone to do.

I have lots more, if this is useful. I won't be offended if it isn't, though, because it shouldn't be. It's just normal behavior as far as I'm concerned, not quirks.

Lactose said...

We're sat here, a few of us, and this has just raised a smile. So here's a few from myself and my friends :-)

Nods frequently but isn't really listening.
Always has (what appears to be) egg sandwich stains down the front of his shirt.
Makes the best sandwiches, ever.
Says "excuse me" a lot.
Loves to sprinkle quotes through her conversation.
Chews their hair in the corner of their mouth.
Bites their nails.
Constantly hears the call of nature…
Will talk, exclusively, about Dr. Who, whenever the chance arises.
Will talk, exclusively, about The X-Men, whenever the chance arises.
Has an outstandingly good vocabulary.
Seems to always leave a job half finished.
Tends to spray spittle while speaking and under the influence of alcohol.
Ask the time a lot when they don't really need to know.
Looks at their watch a lot without actually registering the time.
Is extroverted to the point of embarrassing her companions.
Is stoically northern to the point of embarrassing his companions.
Blows his nose incredibly loudly.
Smokes too many drugs to be health.
Believes firmly that the culture is degenerating and always talks about the "old days".
Smells really good (without the uses of cosmetics).
Makes lousy coffee.
Eats sunflower seeds, one at a time, they seem to produce from nowhere.
Has a very hairy neck, and therefore presumably a hairy back as well.

An interesting exercise, cheers Karen we had fun with that, hope it's of help.

I'm not sayin' which of these apply to me though :-)

Karen said...

Thanks for all the input! Excellent stuff here. I'm trying to have one of my characters misuse cliches.

I'm really bad at that office chit-chat - gee, I wonder why. The Monday morning weekend recap was always grueling. "Beats being stuck here with you" never seemed appropriate.

I HATE it when people offer coffee and then make a really weak pot or worse - instant.

I like the weird time quirks, and I really want to use the egg sandwich stains thing - hilarious.

I had a 30 minute conversation about the X-Men yesterday, but I don't do it on a regular basis...

If anything this exercise has shown that we definitely do have and notice quirks. I guess my characters can't all just drink Coke and like dogs.

Shortfuse said...

From the workplace:

-Begins every sentence, even yes and no answers, with “It’s complicated. Let me explain…”. What am I three years old?

-Someone gets on “Down” the elevator, say on the tenth floor, and insists on trying to get the 11th floor button to light up. When that fails, they say “Oh, this is going down?”, open the doors and get off again.

-The guys 8 cubes over from you handles business calls on an appropriate low tone, but personal calls are so loud they may as well be on the PA system. Just to prove he has friends I guess.

-Rocks back and fourth like “Rain Man” when you ask him a question. The more complex the question, the harder he rocks. He’s probably get whiplash if I asked him the meaning of life.

-If you appear to heading towards the washroom (which has 3 urinals and 5 stalls), at the same time, he will turn around and go back later. Some guys just like their privacy.

-Has to wipe down the microwave with anybacterial towlets before using it. The last person who used it might have had a level three bio-hazard lunch.

-People who come over to your desk and say, “Are you busy right now?” I usually just respond that I'm not and I get paid to read the news paper all day.

-Won’t reload her stapler. Goes to the stationary cabinet, gets a new one and puts the empty one back.

-“Oh, you wanted me to read that e-mail you sent.” No, I just like chewing up bandwidth to help slow down illegal music downloads.

Karen said...

wow - I'm impressed you have such a snarky side. You always seem so easygoing.
I'm going to start saying, "It's complicated, let me explain..." before every sentence.