Quirks

Many moons ago, a neighbor mentioned that she refuses to leave the house when the dishwasher, washing machine, or dryer still run for fear that one of these devices would cause a flood or fire without her home to catch it.

She noted this practice in passing as something that severely hindered her ability to get housework and out-of-house work done at the same time.

Maybe she wouldn’t call the practice a quirk, but I would. The precaution seems out of proportion to the risk.

Which got me thinking: We all have quirks. I have my own peculiar habits in a similar vein:

  • I idle within eyesight until I see my garage door close completely—and stay closed for at least a second or two. What if I forgot to close it? Or what if, even though I hit the button, the door bounced back up after it touched the pavement? (I’ve seen both things happen, albeit rarely.)
  • When leaving my office, I jiggle the door behind me to ensure the lock has caught.
  • If I don’t see my dog right before I leave the house (and yes, she always gets a fond farewell and reassurances of my swift return), I’ll frantically search the house until I find her. Not seeing her triggers a primal panic about the end of the world—or, at least, the end of our world, hers and mine. Fortunately, as she never leaves my side unless I force separation, this panic happens rarely.

All these concerns have validity—mine and my neighbor’s—yet the world offers thousands of not-unreasonable concerns that haven’t converted into heightened precautions for either of us.

Seeking a common denominator in these habits, I touch on anxieties about risk or harm to important personal property and loved ones. Does this vein run only through my neighbor and me, or would it prove true for everyone?

What are your quirky, slightly unreasonable precautions?