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.