Force of habit

This, please.

(the latest in a Wednesday series of insipidities)

My classmates and I tend to sit in the same place in the room, week after week, for no other reason than habit. When someone moves, we tend to remark upon it.

Similarly, at work, despite the wide availability of bathrooms throughout the building, I tend to use the same one. What can I say? It’s close to my office. Tonight I stopped by the bathroom and was brought up short by something I have never seen in my almost five years here: an out of service sign. WHAT? Unthinkable. I almost went in anyway. Then I sucked it up and used that other, smaller, strange bathroom down the hall that’s clearly geared more toward us office folk than undergraduates. This one has plants, and hand lotion. It’s weird. I object.

Habit and routine get a bad rap, but they’re comforting, and in small-scale form, tend to be innocuous. What’s the harm in sitting in the same place week after week? What’s the harm in using the same stall in the same bathroom? People like patterns and predictability.

Here though I offer a cautionary tale. I work with someone who sits in the same place at the table no matter what room he is in. He gravitates to it instantly. He has been known to oust unlucky people who get there first, not very politely. Why? I do not know. It’s possible that the place holds some sort of philosophic or cultural significance. It’s not the head of the table, but just to the right of the head. Does that mean something?

Is rigidity in one’s personal quirks a sort of gateway to rigidity in thought pattern and belief system? When does habit become a curiosity, or a joke that’s more sad than funny?

Le sigh. At present, I’m more interested in working on the story I have to turn in tomorrow than these questions. The blog is getting short shrift, again.


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