A Creature of Habit
I woke up on Saturday morning only to discover that my watch had stopped. I still wore it throughout the day as I don’t feel properly dressed without a wristwatch. As I was out for the day I wasn’t able to immediately resolve the issue. Today I decided rather than replace the battery, why not just buy a new watch. So, I went to my local branch of Argos and bought exactly the same make and model of watch. When I used to work in “the city” I wore a quality Rotary analogue watch that my wife had bought me as a gift. However, due to my work it kept getting scratched and damaged, so I swapped to something cheap and functional. This change has now become a habit and the fancy watch only gets worn on high days and holidays. Hence, I bought yet another a bog standard analogue black Casio watch today. It costs £7.99 which is about the same price I’d be charged for the battery to be replaced in the old one.
We all have foibles and habits that we adhere to and naturally I have my fair share. Now that I’ve retired and no longer have to deal with clients, I don’t worry too much about sartorial issues. I dress functionally and again tend follow a “like for like” replacement policy when it comes to clothing. I’m not as bad as Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) in The Fly and have a wardrobe full of the same outfits but I do tend to stick with the same brands and styles. For example, once a year I buy two pair of a particular type of Reebok Hiking Shoes. One black and one white. I then wear them in rotation when I’m not required to wear formal shoes and just run them into the ground. They are practical, functional and sufficiently presentable, so why burden myself with the dilemma of choosing another brand and product line?
There are other telltale signs that show that I’m a creature of habit. For example, as a household we recently decided to try a different supermarket. Broadly the change has proven successful as we find that we’re reduced our monthly grocery spend without compromising on quality. Cleaning products do not command brand loyalty. Bleach is bleach. However, there are certain items that I will not swap brand. Baked Beans is one such item. Tea and coffee are others. I guess everybody has some personal lines in the sand that they will not cross. I am always interested in a bargain but not at the expense of my enjoyment. Cheap biscuits are indeed cheap, but they are seldom pleasant, which is their fundamental purpose.
I’m also a great one for plans and I seldom do anything significant on a whim. If I arrange to meet someone at a restaurant or venue that I’m not familiar with, I always check transport arrangement in advance and use Google Maps and Street View to familiarise myself with the area. Again, when I worked in central London, a friend of mine found it fascinating that I had an exit strategy if there ever was a major incident. If the important transport hubs were shut down, I had a route planned in which I could effectively walk home. Funny how some folk saw this as an odd thing, where to me it seems like common sense. I like the peace of mind that planning in advance provides. I also hate it when someone else included in any social arrangement makes an ill-conceived change that has a knock-on effect on everyone else.
Now although I may be a creature of habit, I am not a slave to routines. In certain aspects of my life I am very happy to be adventurous. I will happily try any type of international cuisine, with my only real stipulation about food being that it has to be dead when it’s served up in front of me. I guess a lot of my personality foibles stem from my upbringing and the world view I’ve adopted over the years. My Father has an academic background and favours logical, reasoned based thinking. One of the greatest lessons he’s taught me is the importance of focusing and marshalling your thoughts, especially before speaking. Hence, I have a methodology that I bring to bear on most aspects of my life. It may make me a creature of habit, but it also makes me a content one.