Very Specific Rules for Everything

I have always been very particular about how I like my entertainment, food, living space, really just about everything, arranged or presented or composed. The thing is, I often don’t know exactly how I like something until I experience it the wrong way. If you asked me, “Randi, what do you think of X?” I may not have an answer. However, show me/give me a plate of/make a suggestion for X and I will instantly form an opinion of whether or not it is perfect and I am willing to have it in my presence. It is also likely that if you ask what I want to watch, I won’t be able to settle on one thing, but reach for a DVD on my shelf and I can say with some certainty, “No, not that one.”

This can make it frustrating to hang out with me.

Other people will sometimes try to understand my rules, but I myself don’t even always understand them. For example, I’ve never been able to explain to anyone’s satisfaction why I love Crowded House and can’t stand Split Enz. Yes, they do sound very much the same to me, OK? I can’t help you here.

I do try to respect and assert my right to have my rules, however. I think this is because – and here I’m going to get into my very very sad childhood for only a sec, so bear with – growing up I was never once allowed to have anything at all my way everevereverohmygodyouguys. I wasn’t even allowed to state a preference, really, and if I did it came with consequences. So, part of being my very own grownup now involves stating my preferences and indulging them whenever possible. If someone else’s safety or livelihood or feelings are involved, I am certainly capable of backing off. But if I can be considered in any reasonable way in charge of the situation, then I speak up about my rules. (You see, I even have very specific rules for how I’m allowed to have very specific rules.)

I am sure I’m not the only one who does this, but it can feel that way sometimes. I think it’s probably more accurate to say I tend to be the only one around at any given time with my specific set of very specific rules, so when my rules are being questioned, I end up feeling all alone. (All alone and completely right about everything, of course.) In order to feel less like the only one and to realize that we all have issues, I thought I would share my very specific rules with you and ask you to share yours with me.

(Some of) My Very Specific Rules for Everything

  • I don’t like talking in music. Very few exceptions to this one, most notably PJ Harvey because, well, she can do anything she wants, can’t she, and who are we to tell her otherwise?
  • I don’t like pictures in books. I will read graphic novels but it’s very difficult for me to follow the story. I go pages looking at only the text or the pictures and missing big chunks of important stuff.
  • I don’t want to do a puzzle or read a story when I’m playing a video game. I tend to shout obscenities at the screen when I’m being made to talk to the guy in the house, then go buy the potion, then move the blocks into the right formation, etc., etc.  I just want to run and punch and stomp on guys, OK?
  • I don’t like lace in socks. Say it with me: Socks are for keeping feet warm. Lace has holes. Holes let the warmth out.
  • I don’t like my coffee to taste like coffee. I need cinnamon or chocolate or somesuch added in. I do like other things – ice cream, hard candy – that taste like coffee, though. No idea why. I think I just like things that taste like other things. See also: turkey bacon and rice pasta.
  • I don’t like love stories with sad endings. Why did I just waste those 2 hours of my life? WHY?
    • Sub-rule: I prefer that love stories with happy endings not do a lot of bullshit maneuvering to get to the happy ending. I’ll watch the hate-hate-hate-LOVE!!! stuff, but give me something like My Big Fat Greek Wedding, where they fall in love and stay in love and the tension comes from external sources, or Music & Lyrics, where they fight and separate but it’s a realistic fight over something that matters, any day.

OK. Your turn.

15 thoughts on “Very Specific Rules for Everything

  1. 1. Books shouldn’t have pictures unless they are separated in a special photo section. And, those pictures can be referenced in the text, but the pictures themselves should be clearly labelled.
    2. Conspiracy theories (in either fiction or reality which begs the question) are unacceptable. Plots that untangle and uncover and resolve are not the same thing AT ALL.
    3. Good guys should be good, bad guys should be bad and never the twain shall meet.
    4. I don’t have an open mind. I spent half a century reading, studying, thinking, talking and debating the things I believe and they are the things that I believe. So just don’t.
    5. I do, however, have an open mind.
    6. Socks should not be lacy.
    7. Coffee, like the cheese, stands alone.
    8. Stripes, stitch repeats, color repeats, and the number of specimens I line up in a rack should all be Fibonacci numbers.

    Like this list.

    1. See, I knew I wasn’t the only one with specific rules, and I would have guessed you were one as well.

      I love your rule #1. I sympathize with #8 but tend to go with equal numbers myself 2*2 rib, 2- or 3-row stripes. I must branch out.

  2. I completely understand your need for rules. I have funny little things like that too (although none are coming to mind right now). I do, however, second the video game rule.

  3. I feel you on the choosing of movies to watch. I couldn’t tell you what I want to watch, but pick one and I’ll know right away whether it’s one I want to watch or not. The same thing goes for picking food/restaurants, just ask my boyfriend who lovingly tolerates this.
    My rules:
    1. Black tea should never be had straight. Always milk and sugar. Never cream.
    2. Intarsia is the devil’s work. Probably stems from being made to use that technique at a yarn shop I once worked at, but whatever. On the other hand, I love fair isle.

    I try to be laid back so not much else is coming to mind. (of course, the minute I post this, a million things will pop into my head!)

    1. Strangely enough, I have no specific rules for tea, though I have them for coffee. I love just about any kind of tea just about any way.

      Choosing off a restaurant menu can be a chore, but once the people I’m with start suggesting things I suddenly have all kinds of opinions.

  4. I loathe discussing a movie immediately after seeing it, especially if I see it in the theater. I need time to contemplate.

    There are two acceptable ways of drinking coffee: 1) half-n-half and sugar 2) black. No milk. No Splenda. No powdered creamer. No non-dairy creamer. No stevia.

    Shirts are not allowed to have cap sleeves.

  5. I understand the preference thing, sadly.

    °I get to decide who touches me. Anywhere.
    ° barristas/coffee counter people don’t get to scoff at my tea with a little ice, nothing else in it preference.
    ° If I say I can’t handle the conversation, it needs to end immediately. A 1 word “sorry” is ok, but that’s where it needs to stop.
    ° sexy clothes should never be itchy. NEVER.
    ° I can’t stand clothing that puts pressure on my collarbones, but I love corsets, which squeeze the hell outta your middle.

  6. Allison: Totally agreed on the cap sleeves! My shoulders look wide enough on their own, thank you, and they are also not pretty princesses.

    Meg: I have a big problem with clothes touching my neck. There was turtleneck trauma in my childhood. I can now appreciate a good turtleneck or cowl neck sweater, but anything – even a crew neck – that sits firmly against the base of my throat makes me feel like I’m dying. Also, as far as clothes go, I don’t like to wear a shirt that’s longer than my coat. Also, your first rule should be First Rule of the Whole Wide World.

      1. Yes. AND they always seem to have elastic edging, and if you’re lucky it will be really itchy and annoying – until, of course, your circulation is cut off and you can’t feel it anyway.

  7. This is kind of fun to see everyone’s rules and think of your own!

    The only one I can really think of is: No during shows/movies. If you’ve missed something, wait for the commercial or during the credits.

    I’m so with you on preferring no lame maneuvering in love stories. It’s usually so bogus and just makes me roll my eyes.

    1. I can’t stand talking during a movie or TV show, either! A little bit, softly, is OK, because I like to multitask so I’m pretty good at splitting my focus enough to talk and listen. But once the volume of conversation gets too loud or it takes too long, that’s when it really starts to bug me.

  8. I live more in the area of “gray” than “absolutes”, but I do have a no talking rule, applied most strictly to m husband, when I’m in the middle of counting a row. 😀

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