Thursday, August 09, 2007

Does Your Routine Freak Others Out?

She slept in the exact same position every night. Flat on her back, arms crossed over her chest, my sophomore roommate looked like she was preparing for entombment. Her blankets never creased.

In the morning, she would lift off the blankets and fold them over, swing her legs around, and sit straight up, ala a vampire arising from the casket. She’d stay there for a few moments before standing up. Then she’d turn ninety degrees to the left and walk over to her dresser. Grabbing her comb like a vice, she’d comb the right side of her short hair twice and then comb the left. She’d then grab her towel, throw it over her shoulder, and walk out of the room to the showers. She never said a word.

It freaked the everloving shit out of me.

I thought of her while laughing my ass off during the opening scenes of Shawn of the Dead, when the good people of London slept through their waking lives, completely unaware that they were already zombies.

And I’ve thought of her again this week while observing the habits of a certain neighbor of mine. See, now that I have a roommate, if I want to have a morning cigarette (I know, I know, but it really is better for me to smoke than hit the bottle in the wake of my McOverness), I have to go downstairs and sit on the stoop (I feel like such a townie doing it, and it makes me laugh). Apparently, I’ve been going down at the same time every morning, because every morning, I see the same guy.

Every day, he emerges from his building, dressed in khakis and a solid-color short-sleeved oxford. He slings his black messenger bag over his shoulder just so. He steps onto the sidewalk, furrows his brow and walks a few paces before crossing the street at the exact same spot (just before the tree). He walks diagonally across the street, and when he reaches the middle of the street, he furrows his brow again and then reaches into his pocket for his cell phone. Checking the screen for important 6:30 AM messages, he then shakes his head and puts his phone back into his pocket as he steps up on the curb. He turns the corner smartly, and then he’s gone.

He freaks me out, too, and has me thinking that I need to shake up my habits a bit. What about you? Do you do something in the exact same way every day that might make someone think you’re a zombie? Does that thought disturb you?

8 comments:

Medbh said...

I'm not a routine person other than I will always smoke a cigarette after dinner. That's ususally my first one of the day.

Dear Prudence said...

I have no discernable habits/routine. Some days I could wake up to multiples of cat/dog puke to clean up, kids that need prompting, or coffee to make. I quit smoking in April before vacation so I don't even have that vice. I am sporadic at best!

The Hangar Queen said...

Routine in personal habits should be avoided.At least in public.

There could be someone observing you.

dive said...

I like my early morning walk along the Thames Embankment, Sassy, but other than that I like to mix it up.
Your mornings sound a bit "Groundhog Day" at the moment, which would freak me out.

Robyn said...

The guy sounds like Nicholson's character in As Good As It Gets.

My roommate in college was an epileptic. Sometimes she would sleep on the floor in the hallway, and we would step over her. Very insensitive in retrospect, but at the time it was fun.

Elizabeth Penmark said...

Sassy - strange questions, but are you from New York? Was your guy in Canada? Just thought I might know you. And if I did, I missed you!

Manuel said...

I change my routine on a regular basis. Security and all that. You never know who's watching...

Like today for example I had tea not coffee for breakfast....

Before Girl said...

I agree-mix up your routine if it gets too tedious looking out for some werid stalker-y type person. Especially in Somerville. Or Boston. Don't smoke every morning. Or do it out a window. Or better yet, just stop. I hate to sound preachy, but man, what is it about smoking? You are inhaling the fumes from burning leaves and poison. Kind of like sticking your head into a campfire. Not to mention, winter is coming. What's the fun sitting in the cold to smoke?

Seriously though, the same routine is not good. When I worked where you work, I even mixed up my routine there so that I wouldn't be found if needed.