“Indulging our quirks is the secret of contentment.”
—Sarah Ban Breathnach, Romancing the Ordinary
I have a complaint. Where has the Table of Contents gone? Two of the books I’m reading have chapters with names instead of just numbers, but no Table of Contents. The publisher couldn’t spare the space or paper for a Table of Contents, yet they can have a page in the back with details about the book’s typeface?! I’m as interested in the typeface as the next person (not very), but I’d rather be able to read the chapter titles and speculate on their contents. I also like consulting the TOC to see how I’m progressing through the book. I don’t like flipping through the book to read the chapter titles, or trying to assess my progress through them this way. It’s just one of my quirks.
A quirk is a peculiarity of behavior, an idiosyncrasy. Our quirks are part of the reason we are who we are—and most of them are completely harmless, though they may seem strange to others. Some of them become habits, or even superstitions—like the hockey players who will not step on the team logo on the floor of their locker room (and won’t allow visitors to do so, either) or the Hollywood writer who backs out of a room in which something good happened.
Quirks can be as simple as whether you put on both socks, then both shoes, or a sock and a shoe and a sock and a shoe; how you take your shower; in what order you eat the foods that make up your dinner (“never end with a bite of something you don’t like”). Some of my additional quirks include:
- I often get the hiccups when I take the first sip or two of a carbonated drink.
- I don’t like mayonnaise on anything except steamed artichokes.
- I keep lists of all the books I read each year.
- I talk to my dog and my horse just like they are people. (They don’t talk back, however, at least in words…)
- I prefer to slice fruit like apples, peaches or plums rather than eat them whole.