I’m Not That Picky

It’s not a secret that quite a few things in this life bug, bother and baffle me. We’ve united in furytwice. But the other day, I was chopping up pickles for tuna sandwiches—and making absolutely certain to keep the butts (where the stem had been) out of the mix, for people who are particular about such things—when I realized that it really all balances out. Meaning, there are lots of things I don’t mind at all, that others simply cannot abide. I noted this fact as I popped the butts of about 15 baby dills in my mouth, while doing a happy food dance.

Maybe I’m not as picky as I once thought. Let’s swan dive into some examples.

I don’t panic over banana strings, because I’m too busy eating them. They’re called phloem bundles—but I just call them “part of the banana”—and they help carry nutrients to the entire fruit. So while you’re delicately removing them with grouchy, pursed lips, my fully nourished body has moved on.

bstrings

I also don’t mind extreme heat. I was born and raised where it’s routinely over 100 degrees in the summer—and I like it. In fact, I like it to be so hot it’s hard to breathe. Bring it. I prefer dry heat, but I’m not that picky. I also love the deliciously crippling heat of saunas and steam rooms.

Side Note: My mom loves steam rooms, too. One time we were at a spa in Arizona and decided it was time for a good steam. The room was rather large and looked a lot like this:
steam room
Ours was brighter and appeared welcoming. Other women were already in the middle of their terrifying experience steam, so we found a spot and sat near each other. Our moods were good as we anxiously awaited purification. We were quietly carrying on about something—more than likely the location of our next meal—when all of a sudden, the loudest, eeriest, most horrifying sound came surging out from below the benches. I’d liken it to Darth Vader’s breathing, but about three minutes longer and maybe how he’d breathe if he had fingernails and someone was pulling them off, one by one, with needle-nose pliers. Right when the sound started, I jumped out of my skin and held both palms up high to show I wasn’t armed, then turned to look at my mother—who I thought would always protect me—but I couldn’t see her. I couldn’t even see my own body. WHERE WAS MY BODY?! It was like a thousand angry cumulus clouds had filled the room. The sound, plus the absolute blindness—and truly not knowing if something had gone awry in the bowels of the generator—had me disoriented and confused. Just when I was about to assume the fetal position and re-invite Jesus into my heart, the steam stopped. I could sort of see the door, and soon, a few faces even came into view. I looked to my left and my mom was sitting straight up, bug-eyed, with both hands on her heart. Once we made eye contact and blinked hard a few times, we died out laughing. Then we held each other and promised to never let go. Then we remembered food was next on the itinerary, and the joy was back.

We needed comfort.

We needed comfort.

I’m guessing this isn’t common, but I like to listen to songs on repeat. If I fully and completely love a song, I can literally have it on repeat for several days. However, I never re-read books—ever—even ones I dearly love. I have zero desire to re-read a story I’ve already fictitiously experienced. I’m sure these two things don’t jive, but it’s my reality. I also never re-watch movies. Wait—that’s not true. I forgot about Dumb & Dumber. And Tommy Boy. And Knotting Hill. Oh, never mind; I was younger then. These days it would feel like such a waste of precious time to re-watch a movie.

And now I’m probably going to make some of you mad. So if you have a short fuse or feel defensive over your slothful ways, you might want to go stand by that sink of dirty dishes and count to ten. Here goes.

I enjoy cleaning. The house, the garage, the porch, the car. I love trimming trees and pruning hedges. I like putting away clean laundry. I like taking out the trash. I like sweeping off the patio. Certain tasks are more rewarding than others, and I especially delight in the ones where I can see marked improvement and revel in the visual appeal of orderliness. A cluttered space is a cluttered mind, so I love making—and keeping—things neat.

Order creates harmony and happiness in my brain synapses, so cleaning doesn’t feel like a chore to me.

Side Note: This is one of the many reasons I’d find driving a tractor or running a lawn service more fulfilling than wordsmithing Hello Kitty dresses. Plowing a field, mowing, landscaping—something where I can see progress—satisfies my being on a cellular level.

Side Note For The Side Note: My friend text the other morning and said she stopped to fill up on her way to work and saw a bunch of lawn guys jump out of a truck. She found herself looking at them longingly, like TAKE ME WITH YOU. She also has a good job—the kind we’re supposed to want—but there she was, looking dreamily at the crew and wanting to jump in the back of the pick-up with her own bag of Takis. She thought I’d think she was crazy, but I told her, “Shut. Up.” the way I do when she texts me pics of good food, because, I. KNOW. AND. I. WANTS.

This plus this equals YES PLEASE.

This plus this equals YES PLEASE.

Hand in hand with cleaning is this: organization soothes my soul. I love the satisfaction I get from changing a light bulb, putting new batteries in a flashlight, charging my Fitbit and cleaning out a junk drawer (I’m almost totally positive I don’t need the gas bill from 2012 or those tiny, random screws or 2-year old lip balm I never liked to begin with.) I love adding new passwords to my master file and feeling like I have my affairs in order. Disorder weighs on me—I can feel it physically. I have approximately umpteen thousand trillion photos and videos saved across 3 hard drives and the Backblaze cloud—and they’re mostly organized by date and event—but I also have lots of duplicates because of edits and photo albums. It soothes me that they’re safe, but weighs heavily on me that they’re not fully organized the way my brain wants them to be.

Side Note: At any given time, if someone thinks I look off my game and asks what’s wrong, it’s probably just that I need to organize the pantry or pack for a trip. Nothing is wrong, I’m just mentally tidying up—which often times presents itself as a serious face.

Please don’t get physical with me, but I also love waking up early on weekends. I know that’s not popular, but for me, it just means I have more time to do things I love. An extra hour or two allows me to make the most of every minute not spent at my work computer. If I’m asleep, I’m just dreaming of life, but if I’m awake, I’m actually living it—and that makes me happy.

I drive 40-45 minutes to work each day—each way—and I don’t mind it at all. I listen to a lot of audiobooks. Reading is fuel to my soul and my commute allows me to get through exponentially more books than I would if I just read before bed. I actually look forward to getting in my car each day, so I can get back to my story.

audible

I know many people who just hate certain words. I have to say that, while I completely and irrationally despise the word “tasty” … I’m not as passionately disgusted by “moist” as a lot of people I know and love. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like it or use it, but I don’t run away plugging my ears either.

Side Note: One time, my sister and I were discussing words we dislike and most of the usual suspects came up (ointment, panties, goiter), and then she said, “I HATE the word duvet.” I just laughed like, “Duvet? You hate duvet? You actually have an opinion about duvet?” She got more and more worked up the more she considered this “obnoxious” word. I was becoming weak from laughter when my niece—just as serious as her mom—chimed in, “I can’t stand the word “elsewhere.” I decided they were two peas in a pod—just two peas hating-random-words-they’d-have-a-hard-time-escaping-in-this-life in a pod. Just two ointment-hating peas in a moist, tasty pod.

Sorry, I’ll go now. But not before I share the greatest comment section of all time—please enjoy all 2,800 and thank me later.

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23 thoughts on “I’m Not That Picky

  1. You had me at “part of the banana”:) I love hearing the balance of things that do and don’t bother you, and then thinking about the same on my end! For example, I despise the process of putting back on the duvet cover (apologize to your sis for the horrific word drop), but I love the refreshing new organization that comes with unpacking boxes! Oh, and thanks for the greatest comment section link…lololol and eeeew

    • Hopefully she won’t see your comment. But now I remember how much you always said you hated that chore! That comment section is a SURE laugh every time I look … it never fails! The randomness of some of the words people dislike tickles me to no end 🙂

  2. I really love your sensibilities. I also think you could score with a poster that says, “Don’t dream about life; wake up and live life.” or have I seen that on Pinterest?? Anyway, thanks for reminding me about the horrific moment in the sauna. 😦

    • Hmm, I’m not sure if I’ve seen that on Pinterest—but in all likelihood, the sentiment exists somewhere! Happy to remind you of the horror in AZ … snort! I’d go back TOMORROW! 🙂

  3. Food? Yes, please. Lots of it!
    Mowing the lawn? Absolutely. Or even vacuuming…don’t you love hearing the little tid bits of dirt being sucked up?
    Eating the banana strings? Probably not, but oh well.
    Dry heat? Adore, but I like to be close to some pristine water in the midst of it. Or ice water usually is sufficient.
    Despicable words? I’ll have to think on that one.

  4. You aren’t picky. You are particular. I know— it sounds weird but that’s how you would be described in these parts. Duvet does sound uppity for what is essentially a pillowcase on steroids.

  5. I can see where you’re coming from with feeling like it’s a waste of time to re-watch and re-read, but I’ve always loved doing those. I’ve seen my favorite movies/read my favorite books upwards of a dozen times. It’s like slipping into a pair of old shoes you used to wear all the time but fell out of favor…they’re so broken in and cozy and familiar. With books, though, I’ve found that they speak to me differently at different points of my life. The Great Gatsby was good when I read it in high school…but amazing when I read it in my mid-20s, after I’d gone through a devastating heartbreak or two. Life experience can change what you get from any kind of art.

    • Yeah, I know many people who feel the way you do. For me, there are too many other books I still want to read and I can’t imagine using that time to re-hash a story I’ve been through. I don’t know—that’s just me. If I did do it, I’d probably pick The Power of One, because I miss Peekay 🙂

  6. Oh Anna…you make me want to be a better person. And we gotsta have a beer someday. Gotsta. Although I do fear my junk drawer may give you a mental breakdown. I’d blame the clutter on the kids, but let’s be honest…the apples don’t fall that far from the tree. I do love to get and feel organized though. I am forever organizing things…my problem is that I can’t quite keep them that way. I do rock at keeping my photos organized on my computer though. I never have trouble finding the exact picture I need. Yes, yes…you can bow to me if you want. 🙂

    • Ohhh Kelly—I like these things and do pretty well, but don’t get it twisted. You’d have bugged out over the junk drawer I cleaned out last week. I’d let it go for MONTHS and was just shaking my head and every piece of nothingness I pulled out of it. It was a joke! I need to tackle a couple of closets, too. I LOVE to be organized, but it’s not like everything IS organized every moment! Maybe we need to discuss your photo method. I’m at an impasse with them and need some direction! And as always, beers, yes.

      • So we are even more alike than I thought…whew! Although I don’t think I have EVER cleaned out our junk drawer. In fact, I would almost bet that when we moved houses, I just transferred the junk drawer…emptied it into a box, then emptied that box into the new junk drawer. 🙂 But isn’t it funny how you have to find the exact right drawer to be the junk drawer? Like it is really important to be specific about where your junk goes. And the fact that you are even admitting from the get go that THIS drawer is going to be the black hole of sh*t. We don’t even try to NOT have a junk drawer.

        And the picture system really isn’t complicated at all. I am just really good at making file folders on my computer. I name each individual folder by month and year, along with a brief title of the main events in that folder (Grace’s 9th birthday, Summer, etc). Then at the end of each year, I make a parent folder for the whole year so I don’t have a million folders cluttering my Pictures folder. And of course I have two or three backups of pics…that is the biggest reason. I upload photos to Facebook. It us not so much that I think people care about seeing my kids opening Christmas presents (because snore…), but it serves as just one more backup in case the computer crashes.

  7. You know that half of this gem speaks to me (waking up early, organizing and cleaning, dreaming of running away to join a landscaping gang) and the other half has me side-eyeing you (even typing m-o-i-s-t is offensive, as are banana threads). But more importantly, I laughed / nodded / squirmed throughout! Love it.

    • Sorry I’m just now responding … I was eating banana strings. Wait! Come back! (yolk) Please stay! I still say we shouldn’t TOTALLY write off our landscaping business. Or maybe we could just go farm to farm and ask if we could grab a day to plow the field? A day here and there would really re-fuel me. As long as the tractors are 2-seaters, we’d be fine and that would be a day well-spent! 🙂

  8. We share a lot of the same quirks. I LOVE cleaning and organizing. I call it my “therapy”. I’m a voracious reader but NEVER re-read books. I hate re-watching movies. And I’ll listen to the same song for hours and hours if I like it. But the phloem on the banana? Hell NO.

  9. So, what your saying is that the banana string is where all the vitamins are? Kind of like eating the apple peel?
    How do I get around the gagging part? Is it as delicious as the rest of the banana parts?

  10. Darlin’ – WE ALL MELLOW. Even crazy people like you and me. Fortunately the only thing we’re picky about is our PARTNERS and we’re both blessed to have the best!

    • I’m also kinda picky about salsa, Greg. Light on the onions, heavy on the peppers. I hope you can get good salsa in Montana, but I’m not even sure if you like it! 😉

  11. Well for what it is worth, I eat pickle butts with enthusiasm, AND reread certain books. AND I can obsessively clean especially when I’m anxious. Sometimes the way I know I’m anxious is when I wet a paper towel and start wiping down every little crevice on my stair banisters. Must be too many pickle butts.

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