I have a secret. I eat oranges. Compulsively.
Well, not oranges, per se. More like orange. One per morning. Every morning of my life.
The first thing I do when I get out of bed, before brushing my teeth, before feeding my children -hell, before even greeting my children – is sit down at the table and eat an orange. It's as fundamental to me as breathing.
Now, I admit, no-one else I know eats an orange every single morning of their life. No-one else ensures that their fridges are stacked with oranges at all times, even denying their own children an orange in the evening if it means there won’t be one available for the morning.
And, for a while, I was ashamed of my orange fetish. I tried to hide it from friends, furtively eating my orange in bed on weekends away, guiltily smuggling oranges from the breakfast buffet on holidays.
But then, as I grew older, and started looking around me, I stopped being ashamed. Everyone has idiosyncrasies. Everyone does weird things. And who are others to judge me when they are just as peculiar themselves?
My father, for example, is known for his devotion to apples (yes, fruit fetishes must run in the family). He eats a minimum of four to five a day, core and all. And my mother (she who thinks I’M strange) will not leave the house without making the bed. EVER. She could be deathly ill, on her way to hospital on a stretcher, and she would ask to be let down to make the bed before they depart.
My own husband has dozens of odd habits. Some involve food, others involve his work practices, and several involve his choice of underwear. And my youngest child is so quirky she could qualify as another species. From offering complete strangers a smell of her blanket, to sucking the noses of people she loves, to singing Happy Birthday at the top of her lungs to everyone she meets, the child is unconventional, to say the least.
As for my girlfriends, well, one lets her toenails grow to ridiculous lengths, one is on a constant quest to buy the perfect pair of brown boots to add to her collection -none of which she ever wears, and a third gets – wait for it – eyelash extensions. And one obsessive friend wears nose pore strips every two or three nights. IN BED. WITH HER HUSBAND.
Oh, hang on. That nose strip one is me. Guess some of us have more than one weird habit.
We all have our eccentricities. They are what differentiate us from, well, each other. I mean, if I wasn’t a nose-strip-wearing-eater-of-daybreak-oranges, I could be you. So let’s embrace our inner weirdos, and be proud of how odd we are.
But if I see you laying a hand on one of my oranges, you’re outta here.