4/10/09

Wise Women Friday: Agatha Christie

Words of wisdom from the writer Agatha Christie

Curious things, habits.  People themselves never knew they had them.  

I'm sorry about that bad habit of yours.  You really should have listened to your mother.  She told you not to bite your nails/smoke/over indulge/eat with your mouth open/complain/whine/interrupt people/get enough sleep/drive slower/blame all your troubles on her.  But then, by the time she actually noticed, it was already too late, wasn't it?  The habit had become as engrained as a planter's wart.  And now you're stuck with it.  

According to a recent article in the LA Times, habits are incredibly hard to break.  Apparently, that is news to someone, somewhere (perhaps that neighbor of yours with the penchant for self help/diet books.)  As for me, I make it a habit to know all of my faults, so I already knew that I couldn't break those regrettable tendencies.  I know, for example, that I have programmed myself to worry too much/sneak chocolate/hate people more successful and talented than me. (You know I mean you, right?)  I have also made it a habit to splash my face with water ten times whenever I wash it.  I've tried eight, but it never works.  I just keep going until I reach ten.  Don't ask me to do eleven -- that would be like asking a vegan to wear leather.  I must read before I go to sleep, and I must have three pillows: one under my head, one over my eyes, and one under my knees.  I must eat dessert.  I'm sorry.  It's wrong of me.  I know.  I've tried to stop.  But I need a little sweet thing.  That's just how I am.  

I am a creature of habit, and I'm sorry to tell you, but you are too.  I didn't want to tell you; I knew it would upset you.  I kept it to myself as long as I could, but eventually the truth built up inside me like lava in a volcano, and then the words just erupted out of me, the way they always do.  Every time.  Me and my big mouth.  I wish I could be discrete like you, but saying too much is one bad habit I just can't seem to break.  

15 comments:

Lynne said...

Oh, I'm trying to think of my habits. When I'm at a restaurant I have to straighten up the table throughout the meal, I can't stand it to be messy in front of me. When I want to stop thinking about something I make up songs, usually about my cats. You have much more normal habits, I especially like the 10 water splashes. You must be where Kate gets stuff like that!

Cafe Pasadena said...

I'm a canine of habit.

Addictions include the being under the spell of the notorious goddess MF. Everytime I try to break her hold on me, she seduces with food like bacon. I fail, and have to begin again.

What's a dog to do.

Susan C said...

Why is it that bad habits are hard to break and good habits are easy to break?

Petrea said...

You're not getting me to fall for this. I'm not going to tell you what my bad habits are.

Margaret said...

Lynne: somewhere there are table bussers thanking you.

CP: Go get some kibble.

Susan: True. And the worst is exercise. It takes so long to get in shape, but you can fall out of it almost instantly.

Petrea: You're just saying that because you are perfect and have no bad habits at all.

Petrea said...

Sorry, no, I'm not taking the bait.

altadenahiker said...

People have trouble shedding bad habits? How odd. Where's my pipe.

Shell Sherree said...

I count to three when I'm pouring milk into the jug to make our morning lattes. And I count to three when I pour water into the coffee machine tank, even though it's a different amount of liquid from the milk that also takes the count of three to pour. That's normal, though - isn't it?

altadenahiker said...

Oh, I'm kind of glad to see that last one. I count to twelve when I fill the teapot.

Petrea said...

I'm glad to see all of these. But I'm still not confessing.

Desiree said...

What drives me nuts is how easy good habits are to drop, and bad habits to acquire. More details at some future happy hour. More likely a disgruntled hour!

pasadenaadjacent.com said...

I'm perfect. I learned that from my favorite self help book "I'm O.K. your not" not that I needed it. I count to three at stop signs

Margaret said...

PA: Of course YOU are perfect. I never had any doubt.

Shelly said...

Nothing like kids to point out your habits. My son noticed that when I am eating cereal, I scoop up a spoonful and then give it a shake. For ages, he just watched me, then he couldn't stand it anymore.
"Mom! Why do you always do that?"
"Do what?"
"Shake the spoon. Every single time before you take a bite of cereal, you have to shake the spoon!"
"Well, because I want to make sure there's the right ratio of cereal to milk, that's why. I have to shake off the excess."
Perfectly logical, right?
So now I have a habit of doing it just to see if I can bug him.

J&D said...



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