In the past, I have gotten unreasonably frustrated when I was required to unlock both the door and the deadbolt to enter my house. Alone. After dark. I have felt forgotten and hassled in the cold, with a sticky key to contend with. Regrettably, I have let this seemingly small encounter with a DOOR really dent an otherwise good mood, so that by the time I got past it, I was grouchy and unpleasant. Niiiice. A woman who can let an extra lock completely derail her.
But it brings me to the topic of quirks. One of Bill's happens to be double-locking his front door, day and night. But we all have them. And most times, it takes a live-in situation with someone you didn't grow up with to really cast light on them. Roommates help with this. Kibbutzes, communes, collectives or cooperatives could do the trick, too.
In our case, marriage brought a whole host of quirks to light for both of us.
Our perception of another's quirks/idiosyncrasies/neurosis follows a pattern that repeats itself.
Since one of my particular quirks is that I'm an incurable list maker, I've included for further illumination:
The Perception of Quirks: in 5 Stages
1. A curiosity: As in, "Oh, that's so interesting. I didn't know someone had a way that they prefer to ______ (fill in blank with just about anything)
2. Exasperating: As in "Seriously?! There are rules about how one must properly store a toothbrush?"
3. Alternating between plain Annoying and Endearing--as in: Sometimes I finding it annoying that you must have the blankets exactly equidistant on the bed with no wrinkles or untucked parts, (thus sometimes requiring their total removal to correct their chaos) and other times, when I slip between two perfectly smooth sheets with blankets as ready to pull up around my chin as any hotel bed, I find it endearing that your quirk of wanting perfect blankets before you sleep made that small serene moment possible.
4. Accommodation: As in, "Though I don't understand your particular need for spoons specific to the task of eating grapefruit, we will add them to the wedding registry anyway." (They are perfect, btw)
5. Acceptance: As in, "Whether I find your quirky insistence that I unplug my car charger because you read somewhere, sometime, that it could start a car fire in some cars, (with certain car chargers made in Taiwan between the years of 1999-2001) annoying OR endearing: I accept it.
I accept your quirks without having to argue about just how quirky they are.
I accept your quirks because I know you have to contend with a whole host of mine....along with my unspoken assumption that my way was so perfectly reasonable-- how could anyone do it otherwise?
And we both have learned, countless times, that there was an "otherwise" way to do it: unimagined before we met the other. A thousand little things we never realized, or really ever thought about, that could be done another way.
You could slice cheese or prefer it in chunky wedges with a knife.
You could be a receipt tosser or hold onto them with an urgency that suggests they have winning lottery numbers on them.
You could stick the soup-stirring spoon on the counter or you could assign it a sacred spot on the spoon trivet.
You could think toenail trimming is kind of an anyplace home activity or you could fervently believe it should be done in private only.
You could close up your dry goods with little protection from the elements or you could use binder clips of various sizes to maximize the shelf life of all your food.
Or you could do something else altogether.
But chances are, if you live with someone, they are working toward a peaceful acceptance of the beautifully quirky you, and you're moving toward that end with them.
Lucky for me, I've always been a sucker for a good quirk.