26 August 2011

slightly obsessive behavior

I have this incredible ability to do things repetitively/obsessively. It sounds like a problem, but I promise it's not.

It's things like being able to eat the same lunch every day for a week. My tastebuds do not get bored, and I do not stop craving whatever it is I made too much of at the beginning of the week.

In reading Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, that book on cooking and eating alone, I've become more assured that this isn't bizarre behavior. Many of the essays in that book involved confessions of what a person ate every day for {insert absurd amount of time here, such as six months}.

Left to our own devices, we crave routine and familiarity. Is that because we want to feel not alone and so we create a continuity of our own?

I don't know; I just know that I could eat a fried egg sandwich every night and still get excited for that first bite.

Or it's my ability to listen to one CD—or heck, even one song—over and over, always coming back with the same freshness, the same feeling that this is a power song for me.

I should not admit how many times I've listened to "Belle" from Beauty and the Beast. It's on my Broadway playlist on Grooveshark, and that's the third thing I do every morning at work.

Step 1: Put lunch in fridge. Most likely, it's the same thing as yesterday.
Step 2: Look at email. Ignore pressing things for just a few more minutes.
Step 3: Start pretending I'm on Broadway. Let's start with..."Belle."

So I am a creature of obsessive habit, something I've been reminded of in two ways recently.

Way the First: This week, my friends Brenda and Beth brought back into my life the Rufus Wainwright song "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk."

It's on a CD that Brenda made for me a few years back, so technically, the song never left my life; I just haven't listened to it in awhile.

Hearing it again, I remembered how I laughed when I first heard it. Brenda has this slightly/very unnerving ability to choose songs that speak to that part of you that you don't speak much about.

It's freaky, actually, listening to songs that make you wonder if she somehow broke into your journal, even though she lives in a different state. {And you don't have a lock on your journal, so maybe "broke in" isn't the right phrase.}

This particular Rufus Wainwright song hits me here: I, at times, have very little willpower. Mostly this is when faced with Oreos or some other cookie. So these lyrics—oh, how I relate to these lyrics:
Cigarettes and chocolate milk
These are just a couple of my cravings
Everything, it seems, I like's a little bit stronger
A little bit thicker, a little bit harmful for me

If I should buy jellybeans
Have to eat them all in just one sitting
Everything, it seems, I like's a little bit sweeter
A little bit fatter, a little bit harmful for me

What was that old Pringles ad? "Once you pop, you can't stop"? Yeah, that's me and Oreos, which is why I don't normally keep them around. A little bit fatter, a little bit sweeter, a little bit harmful for me—in massive quantities.

No amount of running can help you avoid the weight gain from eating a package of Oreos a day. Not that I do that.

Way the Second: Did you read about me and Downton Abbey? You probably should. Slightly obsessed, yes.

What's the point of all this confession? Honestly, I'm not sure.

Do I want you to buy me Oreos or talk about Downton Abbey—all in an effort to test my will power? No, and that just sounds cruel and mean-spirited.

Do I want to be Belle? Yes, but that's beside the point.

Do I want to hear that I'm not alone in my very focused behavior? Maybe, just maybe.


  1. i can't buy cereal, animal crackers, or pretzels. i will eat the entire quantity in one day.

  2. Amen. That is precisely my problem with Oreos: I am not alone. This makes me feel good/better.



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