By Becky Reno

This idea of deviate is a bit tricky, isn’t it?

To even mention deviance is to acknowledge the existence of some sort of “normal,” which I think is a myth. Unlike unicorns, and fairies, and jackalopes (which I just found out aren’t real, and am still pissed about, by the way), this myth is an asshole. This myth pits us against each other, and stirs up insecurities that should never exist in the first place. It obscures the reality that we all have far more commonalities than we do differences. That’s not to say that there are not differences though, in fact, just the opposite. We’re vastly different on a whole range of things, and those differences are precisely where the magic lives.

There’s a scene towards the beginning of Amélie where the stunningly brilliant Audrey Tautou describes people’s idiosyncrasies. (Naturally she does so in French, which makes them sound like the most amazing things in the world, so if someone could translate mine I would feel far more sophisticated (especially the mustard one).)

The funny thing about these little nuances, sometimes they’re so ingrained, so natural, they’re invisible. That’s the thing about our individuality- one woman’s normal is another woman’s deviate. Here is a list of some of the ways that I stray from the norm.

  • My dining room table is at most six steps away from my kitchen. Despite this, at least 90% of our meals are eaten on the floor.* To class it up we call it a picnic.

  • I rarely, if ever, close a cabinet door. This is also true of dresser drawers. This might be true of doors in our house, but we don’t really have any.**
  • I still hold my breath while I drive past a cemetery.***

  • When I put away mustard with a twist top- I lick it first.
  • When I see animals, I assume I’m getting some kind of message. I bought my house because of owls. These are two of the owls below, in fact. I had my son because of cardinals. Right now it’s dead birds.**** I’ll let you know what I figure out. And yes, predictably I did take a lot of Native American spirituality classes in college.

I’m sure I have so many more, but I don’t know they’re deviant until someone points them out. Help me out here, I’m not the only one, right? What are some of your little quirks?

*ON the floor, not off the floor. We use plates. Give me a little bit of credit.

**My husband thinks not closing doors/drawers is a thing. I think this is definitely NOT a thing unless that thing is laziness.

*** Except when I took this picture. I had to breathe, or I’d be joining them. Shit, I’m just realizing I’m probably full of spirits now.

****Not in a SARS kind of way. More like a “natural causes” way. Currently there’s a bird nest on my front porch. I’m expecting a macabre scene there any day. Hmm…putting these last two bullets next to each other is now making me link spirits and dead birds. I don’t suppose exorcism is anyone’s quirky little thing is it?



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  1. ajbbents #
    May 18, 2012

    I got caught up on the jackalope thing… not real, and creepier real than they should be. You ever see a rabbit with a horn and you’ll have effing nightmares for weeks. Cause they DO exist. (google image search: Shope papilloma virus) Creepy as fuck. So, kinda real. Not jackalope real, but creepy real.

    Also, Amelie changed my life. I can watch it over and over and over and still love it. Even, and maybe especially, the accordion. Deviant quirks – nothing better 🙂 Thank you for this!

  2. May 18, 2012

    You do realize I can never have mustard at your house. Or I’ll really REALLY have to pretend like I’ve never read this.

    • mrreno #
      May 18, 2012

      Fortunately we do not have the twist off kind, and if we did we’d keep a lick free one for guests.
      Apparently we’ve not ever had one seeing as how this is the first time I’ve heard of it.

  3. May 21, 2012

    Reblogged this on Danaerzsebet's Blog and commented:

  4. May 23, 2012

    “The funny thing about these little nuances, sometimes they’re so ingrained, so natural, they’re invisible. That’s the thing about our individuality- one woman’s normal is another woman’s deviate.”
    Wonderful observation. It’s like the line from an Avett Brothers song: “I wish you’d see yourself as beautiful as I see you…Why can’t you see yourself as beautiful as I see you?”
    The individuality of ourselves, our family, our lives is a bit bittersweet isn’t it. That’s why photography is so great sometimes- it removes us just enough to see our lives in a different light, therefore keeping us refreshed, creative, hopeful.

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