Saturday, October 10, 2009

You Habitual Thing You


Humans are creatures of habit. We all know this, but when you take the time to really(really) think about this fact it is kind of scary just how habitual we are.

Here is the reason I even thought of this: I am at the High School, and I am giving the SAT test to aspiring (yawning) youth. After the second test started I made my way to the bathroom. As I walked in to the completely empty 12 stall room I made my way to the second to last stall. I always go into the second to last stall in this bathroom. The room was empty, I had my choice. I wonder if subconsciously I think that stall hasn't been used as it is at the end of the room and therefore it is clean(er).

My bathroom habits aside. Let's think about other things. Dressing - how do you dress? I am willing to bet, unless you are interrupted while dressing you do the same thing every time - left leg in the pants first, shirt next, socks last etc. My favorite (and this was a college psych. professors example) is the shower. I am almost certain you do the exact same thing in the shower every time (washing up I mean....) shampoo first, conditioner next, I let that sit then soap body always starting on my left arm (well unless I really stink, I guess I go for the pits first then) rinse and get out.

I always eat my popcorn in the theater before the movie and rarely touch it after the show has begun. My hubby waits and eats it during the movie. This was a big deal when we first started going to movies together because I was doing it wrong. (we have it worked out now ;)

How about when you meet in the same meeting room all the time. Do you always chose the same seat around the table if it is open. Don't you feel a slight moment of panic if your seat is taken - even though 12 other seats are open, you still think -where am I going to sit now? I do this at parent group time at our preschool. I always sit on the right side of the table near the entrance (maybe I feel like I can make a quick get away when the moms start b*tching) Or church. If you are a regular church goer I am willing to bet my oldest child that you sit in pretty much the same area every time, if not the same seat. A quick glance around a small congregation quickly shows who slept in by the empty spot. Come on, you know this is true.

You are shaking your head at me. You are not that predictable. But, sorry, unless you are a complete random freak (of nature) you are that habitual. Most of these things are unconscious, most of these actions go unnoticed by the common person. But, some of us observe these things. A good boyfriend/husband (insert wife here Will, Sage, Adam, Dearest/girlfriend for you ~K) will pick up on your nonverbal clues and use them.

Thinking to one's self "oh when she does that she is cold, I will quick grab her a blanket...."
you have suddenly scored huge points.
"oh, how did you know I was cold? thanks." he/she says.

I had a boyfriend like that in college. He knew by how I held his hand what I was feeling. If I rubbed his hand with my thumb I was happy/content, if I didn't I was thinking, or there was something wrong. He is the one that pointed this fact out to me. I was doing this without even thinking about it.

Have you ever been driving to say - the office supply store, but you find yourself in front or on the way to work or the grocery store? because you rarely head to the office supply store, but rather, when you are on that particular road you are going to work. My mom used to do that with my grandma's house. She would always end up heading toward her house when we hit town... and then realize we were to turn back there since it was the mall we wanted.

We get "used to" doing things a certain way. These are habits. We are indeed, creatures of habit. This is not a bad thing. Not all habits are bad. They help us function, they can keep us organized and our mind focused on the bigger things.

Just like breathing - I would not want to have to remember to breath, I would die ! I swear... I would be like, "oh crap forgot to breathe!" plunk!

10 comments:

rxBambi said...

This post could have been written specifically for me. I am totally a creature of habit. I think I did a post on it a while back but I can't remember exactly. Hubby and I were chatting about the shower thing cuz he washes his hair last, I do it like you (shampoo, cond, let sit while I wash my body, etc).
Also I go to starbucks every day. Even when I don't really want coffee, I have to go. So sad, I know but I can't NOT go. Anyone would have an easy time following me, I do the same thing every day.
I think I need to shake things up a bit. Tomorrow in the shower I'm gonna wash my RIGHT arm first...

MagnificentDebra said...

I prefer the term 'ritual' to habit! Tee-hee! I love the comfort that these little things bring to my life. I enjoyed your post tremendously...some of the things I don't think about probably deserve some thought..."an unexamined life..." and all that...

Vodka Logic said...

As rxbambi said, I could have written this blog. We always sit at the same places around the dinner table.

As for driving, no matter where I am going it seems I want to drive to work. Not that I want to work but I drive it so often that is where I head, only to have to plan a route to where we really want to go.

Chief said...

Morning routines are a perfect example of this. get up, pee, start the shower, find a towel, scream at the boys....

If one thing is off, i am late for work, doesn't matter how insignificant

marinik said...

soooo true jules, we are creatures of habit.. without even knowing it. with me it's where i sit to eat at the table every time... oh and the "my side of the bed" thing... even now that hubby is gone... i practically have the bed to myself (aside from the few times that the boys invade my bed) and i even force myself to sleep in the middle.. but eventually find my comfort on the same side... we are one strange species i'll tell you... great post :)

Gaia said...

We are indeed creatures of habit, from the minute I awake, off to work and back. So boring. My son is always complaining that we do the same thing everyday. So on the weekends we reverse it by stepping out of our comfort/routine zone. Try to that is!

Will Burke said...

Two years ago, Andrea & I were going to Niagra Falls for our honeymoon, and she nearely took the exit to her workplace.
I guess that's why learning new skills is all about repition.
I think I'm pretty good at reading her signals, but we all think we are, I guess :)

Will Burke said...

PS Love the comic!

Tracey McBride said...

Very interesting post! I never gave this much thought until now. In fact, I don't even know which pant leg I put on first...I'll have to check that out after I post this comment. :) Very thought provoking. I suppose that we can make habit work for us so that those mundane things that aren't fun to do actually get done. Thanks for the mental snack!
Warmly,
Tracey

julochka said...

i'm often amazed at how that "my spot" thing happens even if you're on a multi-day course, you will go back every day to the seat you chose the first day and feel consciously uncomfortable if you can't do that.

but they say milk cows do the same...they go back to their spot in the stable, all on their own. maybe we're all just milk cows at heart...