Saturday, February 9, 2013


Quirky - noun
1. an individual peculiarity of character; mannerism or foible
2. an unexpected twist or turn
3. a continuous groove in an architectural moulding
4. a flourish, as in handwriting

I sometimes get into asking people for words they feel describe me. I recently did, and because I'm in a new environment with new people, who have learned to know me in a different way, I ended up with a whole new set of words. I was very pleased. However, a few years ago someone gave me the word "quirky," with the following explanation: It's not that you as a whole is weird, or even that you as a person is weird, it's just that you have so many quirks to navigate around. Like an old house.

I didn't like the explanation much at the time. I could see my self standing there as a house with "loads of potential," but with squeaky floor boards, a heavy draft, stairs that would be 'perfectly safe as long as you walk along the wall,' water that would freeze in winter, walls you couldn't hang pictures on because they tilted too much, that place in the wall where mice come to die, and that overpowering but impossible to locate smell of mothballs and dust, and possibly dead mice from the wall. I gave it a lot of thought, for about fifteen minutes, and then I forgot about it until this week.

Living abroad has given me the opportunity to rethink the neighbourhood so to say. And yes. I admit it. There are quirks in this building, oh boy, are there quirks.

1. Obviously no neighbourhood association to care about façade. 
I dress like a deranged art teacher, there's no way around that. My clothes are all either too big, too small, flowing in the wind, brightly coloured, heavily patterned or extremely simple and all-black-and-mysterious. The art teacher hasn't quite decided if she's the flowing preschool version or the I'm-so-indie-it-hurts-to-look-at-you art school version. Oh well.

2. Serious draft problems. 
Some things doesn't register with me at all. The most problematic thing of these: skin colour. I'm having a hard time explaining this one, but I can assure you it's absolutely true. I can _see_ colour, I can _name_ colour, but for some reason - unless it's pointed out to me, or I actively have to do something to remember someone's looks, I just don't _notice_. This is fine in Norway. Only been awkward twice. Here, however, it's all sorts of awkward and let me tell you, the question "wait, what, are you black?" doesn't go down well with everyone.

3. Knocking in the walls.
If I've been inactive for too long, I cannot sit down without drumming at things. No anecdote or anything, I'm just annoying.

4. More than one bat in the attic. 
I've done a lot of weird stuff. I've had a lot of odd ideas, that I haven't realised are odd until I've put them into life. I've been proud of all of them. Some of these are still flapping around up there growing and sucking the life out of my sense of "how things are in real life." They are obviously vampire bats.

5. Treasure room/that room where everything useless ends up. 
Closely connected to the last point. I have anecdotes, random encounters, memories and odd stories enough to make anyone think I am a liar. That, however, I am not. Just a tip: I usually have pictures.

6. Might be haunted.
I have a seriously scary witch's laughter. It pops up at the oddest times, usually when someone hurts themselves (mildly to moderately) or do something stupid, and it does makes me sound insane. Luckily people tend to give me all sorts of slack. Quite the cackle.

7. Might be haunted 2.
But I try to hide it as much as I can.

8. Squeaky floorboards and howling when the wind blows. 
I sing. A lot. Out loud, while walking, while thinking, while cooking. Usually I am surrounded by people who tell me to shut up, but not here. Creepy.

9. A steady leak from the roof. 
I cry when I am happy. I cry when I'm sad. I cry when I'm touched or enthusiastic or stressed. Not sob. I rarely sob. But tears come running very easily, and I never remember to mind.

10. Loads of extra, unexplained rooms.
My house is annexed in every direction. But at least that means there's room for a lot of people!

11. The X  factor. 
Maybe it is a combination of all my quirks. Maybe it is the "kind" façade, the stories in the treasure room, or the number of extra rooms to rest in. But my house attracts a neighbourhood, and has the best lawn parties. Just saying.

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