Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A Particular Fellow

He was particular on a number of fronts, this fellow, though not necessarily peculiar. Allow me, please, to enumerate the ways based on my vast experience with the man in question.

He strictly forbade himself from beginning to read a new novel on the same day he had finished the previous tome. That’s right, finish reading a novel on Tuesday, next novel starts no sooner than Wednesday. Rule applied only to novels, however, biographies and non-fiction books, for some unknown particular reason, were not similarly regulated.

Emails with blank Subject lines were worthy of his vast and highly capable derision.

His finger nails were deemed well overdue for a crisp trimming if they made contact with the keyboard when keying on his laptop. On an iPad he’d go nuts with the clacking of his finger nails on its glass screen.

Cleanliness was an area ripe for his attention. After pumping a tank of fuel at the gas station he would be desperately eager to wash his hands. The catalyst was the handling of the fuel nozzle having been preceded by countless unwashed patrons’ hands.

When it came to food related cleanliness his tendencies were housed in some semblance of practicality. For example, he became quietly enraged when food-handling plastic-gloved employees wore their gloves when conducting non-food tasks such as money handling, only to return to the food tasks while donning those same, now tainted, gloves. ‘What,’ he would say loudly in his head,’ is the purpose of the gloves? To keep your own hands clean or to keep the food clean from germ transfer from that other task?’

Let’s talk eating, if I may. The sounds of another’s mastication drove the silly fellow quietly bonkers. The sounding of a carrot being bitten in half was of no concern to his unique sensibilities, but the further decimation soundings of the orange root into smithereens were enough to conjure images of Expressionist Edward Munch’s 19th century painting The Scream. Of course it’s also possible this particular fellow was dabbling in self-satisfying and inane hyperbole. An apple was fully capable of generating the same reaction. The initial cracking, if you will, was entirely viewed as above board. It was the secondary chewing that nudged him over the edge. A cupcake, on the other hand, possessed nearly no neutral regard, it was all deleterious to his hearing instruments. Chewing gum, however, despite the name which you’d think may be problematic for him was incapable of generating a reaction. A different story entirely, though, should the chewing be done with the mouth agape. Dining experiences being conducted in a noisy environment became a source of favored anticipation as it easily drowned out a table’s worth of cacophony leaving him in peace.

Pie was preferred delivered and consumed in a bowl. The corresponding dining instrument should be a spoon, of course, so as to hug the contours of the bowl and reduce the odds of missing out on the deliciousness contained in a loose ort. He was visibly enthusiastic for suppers that could be consumed with a spoon, also in a bowl. No, not soups, though he delighted in their consumption, too, but they bore a much lower thrill level than a traditional entrée. Turkey pot pies or shepherd pies placed him in the proverbial bonus due to the bowl-based serving style. Then again, this guy had a thing for pie.

When eating donuts his considerable hankering was to consume the pastry with the frosted side down. That’s right, the frosted side by all means is deserving of landing directly onto the taste-bud laden tongue rather than waiting for the diluted chance happening through the chewing process. Deliver the frosted side promptly and without delay, get the taste buds engaged. Although, he preferred to conduct this ‘upside downing’ operation alone should somebody notice and he become obligated to explain the reasoning.

Based on the information provided above I submit that ‘peculiar’ as a descriptor is harsher than necessary, sounding almost sinister. ‘Particular,’ though, more cleanly claims his absurd idiosyncrasies. We’re talking about a fellow, after all, with a problematic self-imposed highly regulated book protocol and what seems to be ridiculous eating hang-ups. Peculiar? I think not. Goofy? Particularly so.