The Little Things

If you’ve ever read the book “An Abundance of Katherines” by John Green, you know that the main character, Colin, has a weird habit of anagramming words. He can do it on the spot, instantly, with any word or phrase thrown at him. Weird, but also awesome at the same time, I think.

Though I don’t have any special talents like anagramming words or discovering theorems for “Dumpers” and “Dumpees”, I do I have a quirk that I’ve been doing for a few years now. I notice idiosyncrasies.

I’ve always been fascinated with humans. I like to watch, study, and think about individual people who I find interesting (and no, that’s not weird). In my head I notice little things that they do. I notice their idiosyncrasies.

For those who may not be familiar with the term, an idiosyncrasy is a behavior or thought that is peculiar to an individual, kind of like a strange habit. For example, when I first learned of this word in a psychology class, the instructor told the class that she had an idiosyncrasy of counting to 5 whenever she went up the stairs. She would number each step, 1-2-3-4-5, and then start over until she reached the end of the stairs.

Since learning of this, I’ve kind of grown to be obsessed with people’s idiosyncrasies. Again, not weird.

The more I get to know someone, the more I become aware of their peculiar habits. For example, I’ve been working in this same office for a little over 2 months now for this internship that I have, and the more time I spend in the same room as my supervisor, the more I notice she does funny things without even knowing it. For one thing, she reads aloud. No matter what it is she is reading (email, text, Facebook post, etc.), she reads it aloud. Luckily, this doesn’t bother me because I prefer not to work in silence, but it is funny to pay attention to sometimes. She also makes noises like “hmm” when she’s working. It’s like whenever she reads something (aloud) and thinks about what just happened, she comments on it to herself with a quick, “hmm”. As if to pause and let what just happened sink in.

Though I pick up on idiosyncrasies with a lot of people, the one person I have picked up on the most is my boyfriend. I’ve spent a lot of time with him in our 3 and a half years of dating, and he is one of the most interesting people I know. And I’m not just saying that because he’s my boyfriend and I have to. While some idiosyncrasies that he has are cuter than others, every little thing that he does without even knowing it I like to pick up on. I watch him when he’s not looking because I want to remember every little thing about him. We live apart as we go to different colleges in different states, so when we are together I try to burn memories of him into my head to save for a rainy day. I’ve always thought that I should put these things in a list to keep as a record, but I’ve never put my thoughts into action. Probably because there is a little part of me that knows this is slightly creepy, but I guess one of my idiosyncrasies is that I just simply like to notice other’s.

Idiosyncrasies of my boyfriend:

  • When he used to drive a manual Jeep, he would hover his hand over the shifter-doodle-thing before shifting.
  • After shifting, he would have to reposition himself by sitting up straighter because he is a slightly short human being.
  • He chews on the inside of his cheeks. A lot.
  • He sniffles. A lot. (And not because he has to)
  • He sticks his tongue out when he is concentrating on something.
  • When he is scrolling on his phone, he doesn’t use his thumb like most people, he uses his pointer finger.
  • When he cuddles he makes groaning and moaning noises as he shifts positions. (I like to tease him by telling him to “stop growling at me”)
  • When he sings he squints his eyes and tilts his head slightly up.
  • When he is is talking about something in a slightly sarcastic tone, or trying to make a joke, he bobs his head side to side, just like his dad does. (As a way of being proud)
  • When he’s seriously trying to describe or teach something to anyone, he takes pauses and swallows.
  • When he eats ice cream he flips the spoon over in his mouth before pulling it out (we both do that, actually, and our love grew by 10 miles when we discovered it)
  • When he eats french fries he doesn’t finish chewing one before popping another into his mouth. It’s one single motion of chewing, swallowing, and popping all at once. You have to be there to understand.
  • Every time he puts on a hat he squeezes the bill together with one hand.
  • When he throws a ball he purses his lips together into a straight line.
  • He only uses his hands to talk when he’s telling a story.
  • When he calls his dog’s name (Jersey) he says it like (JAR-sey).
  • Whenever I laugh at him he always says, “what?” because he likes to hear me say I think he’s funny.
  • He shakes his head and goes “brrrrr” when he eats something strange/intense or when he gets a chill. (Just like his mom)
  • He always misspells “good morning” he makes it into one word. (Yes, this bothers me. (“Good morning” is just like “good night”. 2. words.)
  • When we haven’t seen each other in a long time, he approaches me with slow movements and a closed smile. But with the kindest eyes you will ever see on a boy.
  • When he hangs up the phone he says “buh-bye”.
  • He never goes down the stairs slowly. It’s always fast and with high knees.
  • He wakes up with one eye open and the other closed.
  • He jogs with his hands low.
  • He never takes sips of anything. It’s always a chug.
  • He drives with his left hand on the top of the wheel. Usually to hold my hand, but no matter what.
  • Every time he sits up or sits down he sighs.
  • He never unties his shoes to take them off or put them on.
  • He tends to sleep with one hand under his face and one in-between his legs.
  • He snores even when he’s awake.
  • He answers the phone “yyyeeellow”.
  • His casual movements are slow.
  • “Hiya!”
  • “Bye-cycle!”
  • When he hangs up the phone he always says, “bye, I love you” instead of the usual, “I love you, bye”.
  • He hugs with his fists closed.

There’s probably countless more that he has that I have yet to pick up on. But by the time we’re old and gray, I expect this list to be full. I want to know every little thing.



Author: Mal Williamson

Hi I'm Mal (short for Malorie). I'm a senior at the University of Wyoming studying journalism and professional writing. Colorado native, I'm a firm believer in the outdoors and will find any excuse to be on a horse. I'm rarely alone, as I usually have my boyfriend of almost 4 years by my side, and if you can't find us hiking up the nearest mountain we are usually at a taco place ordering one of everything. If I'm unable to fulfill my lifelong dream of being an actress on SNL, hopefully you'll be reading my articles in the local newspaper someday.

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