My Strange Idiosyncrasy


Wouldn’t it be interesting to know people’s bizarre idiosyncrasies. People, myself included, have strange ideas and beliefs. Ever considered people’s strange habits? An idiosyncrasy, as defined by Wikipedia, is

an unusual feature of a person…also means an odd habit.

Idiosyncrasies also often times referred to as a peculiar or eccentric mannerism or characteristic. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with this term and its meaning or who don’t have any idiosyncrasies, defines idiosyncrasy as:

  1. a characteristic, habit, mannerism, or the like, that is peculiar to an individual.
  2. the physical constitution peculiar to an individual.
  3. a peculiarity of the physical or the mental constitution, especially susceptibility toward drugs, food, etc. (allergy, in other words)

I have never, not once in my whole life, heard a person casually bring up this term or its meaning, nor have I ever had a conversation ever with anyone  about idiosyncrasies or even odd habits. I’ve never come across an article or blog mentioning or sharing personal, specific idiosyncrasies or had any friends ever share with me their own idiosyncrasies. I’m sure there are plenty available, I simply have not happened upon one. The first time I heard the term, I was 16 years old, at which time I realized my own idiosyncrasy  hile peculiar to me, actually quite common, according to my research. It’s really hard to explain, in fact–I feel silly sharing it, that’s how bizarre it is. So here it is.

My idiosyncrasy is a strange obsession with numbers and grouping number/letter patterns together into smaller, more organized groups of letters/numbers. Oh my, this is harder to explain than I anticipated. Okay. Anytime–and I mean literally anytime I’m driving down the road~I’m doing this peculiar habit; when I’m watching t.v. and, particularly when there are writing or number patterns displayed, such as in commercials, I’m doing this; when I read magazines (not books, because I get in to the content too much in books to pay attention to this) or when I look at billboards or see street signs, there it is and I’m doing it.  My idiosyncrasy, more specifically, is this: when I see words or phone numbers or addresses, I count the total number of letters or numbers in the word(s) and then I break down each individual word into smaller groups of letters or numbers. For example, if I see a word that has twelve letters, I will break it down in my head to three groups of four letters or four groups of three letters. Then I double check that it makes sense by counting them characters all individually as well as the group as a whole. Then I move on to the next word. What’s so strange is that when I look at a word, I don’t see a twelve-letter word; I see four groups of three letters (or three groups of four letters, it depends on which way appears more organized and closely matched) in a little pattern. That’s what I see in my mind when I look at street signs, city and state signs, advertisements and billboards, businesses and office buildings… it’s very strange!

I do this constantly. I can’t help it, and I can’t stop. I have tried to stop, I have tried to ignore this peculiar habit many, many times. But it’s in my head, it’s melded to my brain, it’s a part of me. I thought there was something wrong with me, like I had a strange form of obsessive compulsive disorder.  But after hours upon hours of research, I realized that “obsession with numbers” is the number one type of idiosyncrasy people report experiencing. I definitely feel an obsession with numbers when it comes to this bizarre idiosyncrasy, and like OCD, I am completely powerless to control it.

I can actually visualize the letter/number sequences grouped together very meticulously in my head, and sometimes it drives me crazy to the point I physically try to shake the images out of my mind.

This has been going on for many, many years  and although I’m not exactly sure when it started, as in when it specifically started, but it’s been over two decades, and you can’t change a behavior, no matter how unwanted or disdained, of that length of time just overnight. I have told only a couple of people in my life about this peculiar habit and while explaining it, they looked at me like, “Huh?”. I think it’s a much easier thing to explain by blog rather than in a conversation. But I needed to get that out because I was really feeling something was wrong with me. And it’s been bothering more lately, and I believe it’s possibly due to my issues with attention deficit disorder.

I would love to hear other people’s weird idiosyncrasies, please leave a comment and tell me about your STrAnGe idiosyncrasy, and tell me: what is it (behavior, habit, movement, etc), how long ago did you first notice it, do you embrace it or hate it (like I hate mine!). Your feedback would be fantastic!


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