Quirk Fret

I have a pair of cuticle clippers in the car and I’ve been known to tame an errant hangnail at a stoplight.  I like my Arnold Palmer’s with 1/3 lemonade, not the half that most restaurants try to serve.  And, I hate it when I’ve gotten the ratio right – even if the AP has started out as half lemonade and half iced tea – and then the server tries to bring me a fresh glass thus undoing all of my mixology.  I’m quirky – that’s why I have this blog where I hope to take my skewed worldview and share it with the universe and in so doing show that there is more that unites us than divides us.

But all of us have peculiarities… some of us… like myself… may have more than others but let’s not focus on this particular neurosis for the moment. Okay, maybe using my name and ‘quirk’ in the same sentence is unavoidable… but enough about me… more on what I’m thinking.

Some of us outgrow our quirks – others’ idiosyncrasies mature along with them. I have one friend who is so hands off, despite our bond, that I thought something was seriously wrong with her child when she smothered her with hugs and kisses.  All was well; it’s just that she is only ‘touchy-feely’ with her family. One close friend’s husband is very, very neat. Another forbids the scent of mint in her environs – to the extent that her husband kisses her goodnight before brushing his teeth.  And, lest he dare tend to his teeth before his wife, he holds in his breath and kisses her on the cheek.  That’s love.

Once, the only time I’ve gotten sunburn in my adult life – daytime vacation drinking is clearly dangerous– I held off moisturizing so another buddy could peel off the sheets of crispy skin.  Okay, truth be told, my pal didn’t have much to peel after I’d had a pass at my shoulders.  Sometimes, idiosyncrasies bind us: aren’t all friendships based on mutual ‘interests’?

“You’re weird, that’s how I know you’re mine,” I tell my children in part to inure them to possible, future schoolyard taunts. And, well, because they are mine after all, and I’m an honest parent.

We love our friends, especially those amongst them who we consider family, and our actual relatives sometimes, because of or in spite of their quirks – and are comforted by the reciprocation of the sentiment.  It’s good to be appreciated because of our ‘unique’ qualities and do the same for others.  And sometimes, if we’re in sync with our treasured ones, the ‘quirkdar’ [quirk radar] is so engrained in the relationship that it’s reflex.

One afternoon, my children and I were enjoying time with my close pal, the one with the OCD-level neat husband, and her children. It’s a great stroke of luck when your kids like kids whose parents you adore.  My girlfriend is brilliant, witty and wise.  Her husband is a warm, generous, bright and wildly successful family man who has been known to start cleaning while offering guests another glass of good wine.  He can indulge his compulsion for cleanliness even while entertaining; that’s a skilled, quirky man. Not surprisingly, he likes his house neat when he returns from work.  So, at 4:00pm, while the children splashed in the pool, my friend and I – without looking at the clock or coordinating our behavior – started tidying up.  It was a reflex at which both of us laughed … while we continued to clean, quickening our pace at the thought that traffic might be light.

Because our family loves theirs my pal and I erased the disaster that is any children’s play date as much as possible. Why? Well, because at the end of the day, love cleans up the mess of love.  Love is unconditional – and it has a sense of humor.  And, it’s reassuring to know that no matter how ‘interesting’ we are, we are worthy of our friends and their love.

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