don’t look at me like that.

the other night i fell asleep while ryan and i were watching tv. i do this pretty often when we’re together; ryan stays up much later than i do, so i’m always the first one down for the count. just before i drifted off, ryan removed my glasses from my face and put them on the coffee table. he’s nice like that.

we woke up at noon the next day. when i reached for my glasses, i noticed that ryan had folded the earpieces. “that’s interesting,” i said.

“what?” he said.

“when you took off my glasses last night, you folded the earpieces in. i never, ever do that. i always just take them off and put them down.”

“so i shouldn’t have folded them in?”

“oh, it’s not that,” i said. “i just remembered that when i was little, i asked my dad why he and my mom never folded the earpieces in when they took off their glasses. he said it was so they wouldn’t ruin the hinges. i never realized until now that that’s why i don’t fold my earpieces in, either. i guess it’s a headley thing.”

several times during my adult life, i’ve come across these headley things–things i do for no other reason than that’s how i grew up, things i never notice until someone else brings them up. the headley things are so ingrained that it doesn’t occur to me that anyone would do these things differently.

1. one new year’s eve when i was little, i went into the kitchen to make myself some chocolate milk. there was very little chocolate syrup left, so i did what we always did at my house. i unscrewed the cap on the chocolate-syrup bottle, poured the milk in, put the cap back on the bottle, and shook it up, thereby getting as much of the remaining syrup as possible.

the babysitter came into the kitchen just as i was pouring the milk into the open bottle. “alison! what are you doing?” she said.

“there’s only a little bit left,” i said. “so i’m making sure i get it all.”

“oh,” she said. “that’s weird.”

2. everyone comments on this one, so i can’t remember who was the first. the conversation goes something like this:

“alison! what are you doing?”

“uh, i’m cutting up this here pizza.”

“with scissors?”

“sure. that’s how i always do it.”

“how come you don’t use a knife or a pizza roller or something?”

“it’s easier this way.”

“that’s weird.”

if any of you people out there plan on buying me kitchen utensils, please do not buy me a pizza roller. i will never, ever use it. headleys cut pizza with scissors.

3. after the pizza is eaten, there’s this part of the conversation:

“you’re putting the scissors in the dishwasher?”


4. “alison! what are you doing?”

“having some ice cream. want some?”

“you’re going to eat it in a coffee mug?”

“yes. i’m going to eat ice cream in a coffee mug. not a bowl, not a dessert dish, a coffee mug. now, do you want some or not?”

it seems as though most of the headley things are food-related. hmm.