I’ve been talking about “crazy” a lot over the last few days. First, I happen to know a surprisingly large number of people who are in the Crazy Business: psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, and so on. Second, I’m writing a character for my nerd club who is what I keep describing as “crazy.” Talking about her to another writer who’s considering writing her son, I ask if he inherited any of his mother’s crazy. This leads into a conversation about how crazy manifests.
What a fascinating question!
In the case of my new character, we’re talking a kind of bipolar crazy where she’s delightful one day and terrifying the next. She dumps her man one day and is stalking him the next. She indoctrinates her children to be fiercely loyal to her and suspicious of the motives of everyone else. In other words, I think that if she was a real person, she’d be certifiable.
But thinking about it, I’ve decided that “crazy” covers a really wide spectrum. I worked for a psychologist for awhile, and I got to see just about every flavor of crazy you can imagine. “Crazy” is a handy word because it includes any sort of behavior at all that is not the statistical norm. This means that every single one of us can be crazy somehow or some time.
Here’s my crazy list.
- I am compulsive about my phone cord. I can’t stand for it to be twisted even a little bit. I unplug and dangle it a couple times a day to keep it straight. If I borrow someone else’s phone, I have to untwist their cords too. If the cord has become so twisted that it can’t be undone, I almost can’t stand to even use the phone. Just looking at the picture I posted above makes me feel twitchy. I know. Crazy.
- I have a chalkboard at home and a whiteboard at the office which I use to write funny quotes or Notes To Self. When I change the message written on either, it has to be completely cleaned off. No spreading the chalk dust around or letting the marker smear. I insist that my slate be completely blank before I start something new. Water and soap if necessary.
- I can’t keep my hands to myself. Apparently, I have a tactile addiction. At the store, in homes, at work – I want to touch everything. I shop for clothing by touch, as a result of which I have a drawer fully devoted to fuzzy clothing. I have a soapstone rhinoceros I play with at work so I don’t wind up fiddling with things that aren’t mine or I can’t afford to lose. I keep silly putty in my purse so I have something other than destroying my fingernails to do while I’m supposed to be sitting still. (Clearly, I don’t have a germ phobia.)
Speaking of phobias:
- Wind. Seriously, it terrifies me. The psychologist I worked for once told me that wind used to drive pioneer women mad. They’d listen to it, blowing around their tiny prairie home all day, and start to hear voices or become convinced that the wind would carry them off. I believe it. I’m pretty sure it’ll happen to me one day. I’ve had several near-brushes with tornadoes, and many more imagined brushes with tornadoes. It even has a name: anemophobia. If a tornado really does sweep through my house, you’ll find me splatted up against a tree three miles down the road because I was too petrified to hie myself to a safe location. (Dustin has been informed that it is his duty to pick me up and haul me to safety in the event of said tornado.)
- Crowds. I’m demophobic! In high school, I used to play a game with myself as I walked down the halls between classes – I’d see if I could get from one place to another without having to touch anyone else. No bumping. I got to be very nimble about swerving out of the way. The noise, the smells, the bumping and getting squished? No thank you. Unfortunately, this makes things like big parties or concerts rather difficult. Oh well.
- I have a very hard time with Thursdays. What the heck? But it’s true. I think it’s because that’s the point in the week when I’ve been working the longest and still have to go back to work for another day. My circuits are simply most likely to short out on Thursday evenings. This often manifests while I’m standing in my closet after work, looking for something to wear to the Kingdom Hall. I’ll decide I hate all of my clothing, I can’t find the skirt I want, and I’ll just burst into tears. Boom. Poor Dustin.
- I’m pretty sure I’m seasonally affective, which means that I suffer from lack of sunlight. I get crankier in the winter than I am in the summer, even though I love the snow and doing things like curling up on the couch under a pile of blankets. I treat this problem by camping out in front of the window in Dustin’s office during lunch. Usually I have to share the space with the cat, but that’s okay.
I think that pretty much rounds me out. I’m just garden-variety crazy. I’m sure anyone else could come up with a comparable or even worse list. Even people who seem perfectly normal are sure to be hiding some serious quirks that would probably make you laugh if you knew about them. Or cry. Whatever works.