30 June 2011

The Parameters of Normal

There is a popular saying around these parts. It materializes on bumper stickers, tee shirts, coffee mugs, and even downtown marques: "Keep Santa Cruz Weird."
The oxymoronic insistence of this statement is, for me, a source of great amusement because it implies that anything less than strange would just be, well… strange, not to mention quite utterly unacceptable.
It begs the question:  if weird is the norm in this coastal haven, then is it REALLY weird?  And who is to say what is normal and what is weird? Who are these people- the mysterious "they" that keep making up all these rules?  And in what beige cookie-cutter suburb do “they” live?  Not here, that’s for sure.
Umbrella Man, downtown Santa Cruz

As the crow flies, my own small beach community is very near to Santa Cruz.  I feel a definite affinity for the uniqueness and diversity of California’s unofficial “Surf City” and the entire central coast.  Perhaps the real question then is this: was I attracted to this area because I am weird or am I weird as a result of living in this area?  Or, is my particular brand of weirdness just so normal it doesn’t really matter? 
I’ll let you be the judge. Here are three of my (maybe) not-so-normal norms:
1. I typically procrastinate washing my laundry for up to 2-3 weeks at a time. Perhaps it is laziness, a lack of time for what I deem a low priority, or the desperate clinging to the last vestiges of a once-twenty-something self. The point is that it is perfectly NORMAL for me to wait until I am down to last, most threadbare and undesirable pair of undergarments in my wardrobe (or heaven forbid, none at all) before I will rummage the cupboard for quarters and detergent and march myself over to the laundry machines. And yes, I have even gone so far as to purchase new undies just to avoid the wash for a few more days - shameful, I know.
2. I am a thief. Well, okay, not really. But I do have a collection of hotel soaps, shampoos, lotions, mini sewing kits, and disposable shower caps - it seems I have a compulsion for pilfering these small items (but really aren't I paying for them anyway with the cost of the room?). And if perchance we order room service, I absolutely cannot resist swiping those tiny bottles of breakfast ketchup and jams. Not only are they adorable, but who knows? They might come in handy one day. Savvy? Yes! Weird? I think not.
3. I find television completely unnecessary. Yes, I do have a TV, but I am not connected to cable or satellite of any kind. We receive only two (yes, I said TWO) channels - filtered through a cumbersome antenna perched precariously on the top of the set.  It is not merely an issue of cost (though we do save greatly), but rather one of need.  I do not particularly need the mind-numbing entertainment of 300+ useless program listings.  AND with the advent of wi-fi internet, everything I need or want is available to me within seconds.  Local and international news, weather, the occasional show via Hulu, and all the Netflix a girl could ever want.  Call me crazy, but it makes perfect sense to me!
So there you have it. Okay, now it’s your turn.  What are some of your normal idiosyncrasies?  And don’t fear the oxymoron – maybe you’re just keeping your town weird too J

Cheeky smiles,

Today's Gratitude List:
  • my neck/shoulder/arm is FINALLY starting to feel better
  • a new YA novel to check out for next year's literature circle list: The Iron King
  • just purchased our tickets to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival - very excited!


  1. I used to live in a place that was taken over by the "not-weird" It was kind of a hippy -dippy place, but then go gentrified and before you knew everyone looked like everyone else. Same cars, same highlighted hair, same demographics. I missed the weird.

    Missed it because I am weird too - I love to spend time alone and sometimes would rather be by myself than anyone else. I also don't watch TV and cannot participate in conversations about "the Bachelorette" or Dancing with the Stars." But it's me, it's who I am. And I ma keeping it weird.

  2. Now I'm really embarrassed, Niki! I have a washing machine in my house but have been known to purchase undies for myself and socks for the husband rather than do a load of laundry. I will also let laundry sit in the dryer for days until it's horribly wrinkled.

    That's as much of my weirdness as I think I should share at this point!

  3. I am impressed that you have enough underwear to go two to three weeks without washing. I'd need to go out and triple my supply!

    Thanks for rewinding at the Fibro.


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