I am someone who is all about rituals. Deliberate or otherwise. Today has been a cloudy, wet day and all I want to do is cuddle up on the couch, watch the movie Twister, and eat strawberry fig newtons. I’ve been like this since I was a kid. I don’t know where or when this custom began, but I did it quite frequently when I was younger. Can’t say that I followed it into adulthood, though.
As today is another Friday, I spent most of my morning trying to decide on what song to use for this week’s blog. The ones I have lined up in my mind didn’t seem to fit my mood. Then I looked at what some would consider “gloomy” weather and it occurred to me what I should choose.
This song was used as a promotional tune for the film Twister. I don’t think it would have ever been a single if it hadn’t been for the movie. Then again, maybe it would have. Either way I fell in love with it because, at the time, I only listened to country and Shania Twain was one of those hot artists who had burst on the scene. I remember repeatedly listening to the mixed tape my neighbor had made for me with this song on it. It was midway through Side A and the portable cassette player I had didn’t have a rewind function. So at the end of the song I would have to flip the tape over, fast forward, and then flip the tape back to Side A. God, even typing that out was exhausting. I can’t imagine how I suffered through. Especially since I am someone who obsesses over a song and will usually listen to it over and over until it has lost all meaning.
I don’t even remember where were going, but I remember sitting behind the driver’s seat in our station wagon, window down, singing along to this song with my headphones on. In the middle of doing my rewind, my mom shouted over her shoulder that I was off-key when I had my headphones on. “What do you mean?” I had asked. She elaborated and said that when you couldn’t hear yourself sing, properly, you would go flat. That had to have driven my mother crazy. She could never sing herself, but she was someone who would tell you if you were off or flat. This was because my grandfather “could sing.” He recorded himself for demos and was even the head of every church choir they happened to come across.
Where the rainy weather and fig newtons came from is a mystery. The first time I ever saw this movie was at the theatre inside of the Buffalo Bills hotel and casino. I sat near the front of the theatre and my cousin, who is sort of like a pseudo sibling, sat toward the back. I’m pretty sure he sat back there because he wanted to sneak out and get alcohol while I was distracted. He was the type. I was too distracted with the movie.
Our annual trips to Buffalo Bills was another one of my obsessive rituals, now that I think about it. Always during the summer time or my birthday weekend I would want to go there. I loved the over-the-top cheesy decor, the access to a single outdated movie, and the large video arcade. I could roam free there and never worry about being harassed. For whatever reason they let you get away with it there, more-so than in Vegas. They were sticklers about kids being anywhere near slot machines.
This memory got me wondering what other strange rituals I have and do. At least the ones that I am relatively aware of. I’m sure there are ones that I just haven’t picked up on. For instance, an obvious one, if I am ever feeling blue I will pick up Long John Silvers. Nothing fills that cavernous void much like the greasy goodness of fast seafood. There was a time that I had it every day, for lunch, during an entire month. This was due to the fact that my prior place of employ was a soul sucking/crushing hell hole.
Then there is my obsessive pattern of only eating my fortune cookie after I am 100% done eating, and then I eat one side, read my fortune, and then eat the other. Once it’s gone I shove the fortune in my pocket, because no one should ever throw away good fortune.
There is my annual rewatch of Will and Grace and Golden Girls. I’ll start from episode 1 and work my way through. I’ve done this for the past 10 years.
Then there is the more insidious habits… The ones I dread to share but for the sake of clarity I shall.
In a past blog I have disclosed that I am a sex addict. Most don’t know about it and most view it as a joke or an excuse. It’s not, for me, at least. I can see how my patterns and emotional turmoil fuels it. I share this because in the past I would “act out” (which means engaging in behaviors breaking my self defined sobriety) I would immediately follow it with consuming some kind of unhealthy food. It was almost as if I was “click and treat”-ing myself. (Aka reaffirming that behavior with some sort of “reward.”) As a way to curb my bad choices and maintain a lengthy sobriety, I just cut out the middle activity and went straight for the food. Got a month of sobriety and twenty pounds.
Strange how most of my habits center around food.
Can you tell I was a fat kid growing up?
It has occurred to me that these topics all stem from the same space: my obsessive compulsion. The need to re-perform these rituals during certain events or feelings of emotional turmoil. It must bring me some sort of comfort or I imagine I would stop.