There are two types of people in the world: those of us who wouldn't even think of leaving town without a full gas tank, and those who just hit the road and figure they'll fill up whenever the gas needle's been hovering around "E" for several millennium. These people probably also only eat when hungry. I'm not saying one way's right and the other's wrong, except that's exactly what I'm saying.
So it's no wonder the other day I was intrigued by a topic trending on social media posing the question, "What's the weirdest thing you do that you're willing to admit online? "Intrigued" meaning I may or may not have read all 674 responses. I’m guessing that should probably be my answer to the weirdest thing I do that I'm willing to admit publicly.
And probably also explains why I had a few Christmas decorations to put away with spring just a week away.
But it was time well spent because, guess what? I discovered there are tons of other people like me who can't leave town without filling up first. Well, maybe not exactly tons, but one other for sure!
Not only that, but I found my people. You'll only use a certain pen to write with? Me too! You have to cut the tags off every single shirt you own? I thought it was just me! It was as if kindred spirits were finding each other.
Also my people: those who drive in complete silence. Because being alone with your thoughts over hundreds of miles is always an excellent idea. You start out debating whether you should pull off at Exit 471 for Taco Bell or wait until Exit 477 for Whataburger, and before you know it, you’re debating whether or not it’s too late to learn Italian, what you’d name your garage band if you start one, and then your entire existence on this planet.
But most people would rather listen to "Tequila Sunrise" on the oldies station. Whatever.
Mostly you just assume everyone's on the same page as you until one day you go to a someone's house and realize, say, they keep the house thermostat set at "Antarctica", or they don't refrigerate opened bottles of ketchup or hot sauce, and you think, well that's weird.
Speaking of which, people have some weird food likings: frozen Pop Tarts, slapping two pieces of pizza together to make a pizza sandwich, and ketchup on popcorn, just for starters. And if this is you, my apologies. At least know you’re not going through the food buffet of life alone.
I stumbled across some of my own culinary soul mates: people who eat their cereal dry, because milk just ruins it. People who mix their baked beans and mashed potatoes together, and Skittle-loving adults (except for the green ones).
Then there are those with odd bedtime rituals. Once on a trip I roomed with a friend who went to bed with wet hair and I couldn't sleep just thinking about it. Another friend can only sleep with her blanket over her head. I know, right? Though according to my top-notch experts on Twitter, not as uncommon as you’d think.
At least I'm normal. Pretty much. I mean, I can't wear socks to bed, cannot sleep with a crack of light anywhere, the ceiling fan must be on and the door must be closed. You know, so boogie men can't get in.
Actually a lot of our weirdness can be traced directly back to childhood. For instance, you spend all your growing-up years carefully avoiding walking on manholes that obviously will suck you into the center of the earth and straight through to China. And now, all these decades later, it feels like you actually have superhero powers when you bravely step on one and nothing happens.
There are people who can only turn the TV or stereo volume setting to an even number, people who always smell their socks after taking them off, and people who always read the last page of a book first. To which I say: weird, gross, and who still reads books anymore?
I guess the lesson to be learned here though is that maybe we're all just a little bit weird. And so what? I won’t judge your frozen Pop Tarts and you don’t judge my Skittles. Just keep being you. Keep doing you. And yes, take the road less traveled.
Just be sure to fill up that gas tank first.