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Robb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 12:48 PM
Original message
Wanted: annoying habit
Lemme 'splain.

I need an annoying, or at least singular, habit to help identify a character in my book. As an example: Fox Mulder on X-Files is always eating pistachios. You can start a scene with nothing in frame but a pair of black dress shoes and scattered pistachio shells, and know that it's Fox up there.

I'm drawing a blank, and messing around on DU instead of writing. Anyone throw me a lifeline? :shrug:
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radwriter0555 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 12:51 PM
Response to Original message
1. Sunflower seeds. Matchbook covers... I used to dissect and shred...
matchbook covers... and eat sunflower seeds.
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radwriter0555 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 12:52 PM
Response to Original message
2. Oh, and rolled up pieces of paper. I have to roll receipts and such
on the biad. TIGHT as I can. Make long little sticks out of them.
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patdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 12:53 PM
Response to Original message
3. Smoking those cigar like cigarettes instead of real cigaretts and the
amroma of those sweet ones hangs in the air long after the person is gone!!!
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 12:55 PM
Response to Original message
4. Constantly picking at their hands.
My stepdad does this and it just drives my mom and I nuts. Don't know why, it just does.

Chewing on hair. Cracking knuckles. Drinking milk and coke together. Eating miniature Reese's Cups, then playing with and crumpling the wrappers (yours truly, lol!)
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Bossy Monkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 12:55 PM
Response to Original message
5. Peeling labels off beer bottles, shredding napkins
It might help if you gave us a clue what kind of character you're talking about, or at least what environment s/he will be operating in. I once did a John Le Carre parody where everybody had an endearing idiosyncrasy just like his real characters; it got pretty silly eventually.
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HEyHEY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 12:56 PM
Response to Original message
6. The Character always phones during a sports game
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Robb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. Ha!
Sort of a compulsive type cat. I like the crumpled-up paper bit; I'm thinking it's something he does instead of smoking -- and he has lots of opportunities in the story where he could really use a smoke. The "reveal" is he turns out to be someone no one expects in the end, and the clue is just to the reader. The rest of the characters never get it.

Shredding matchbook covers is pretty good, although a little obtuse for an ex-smoker... And how often do you come across matchbooks in day-to-day life anymore?

Lots of good ideas to start from, though. Thanks all!
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HEyHEY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. here's a habit I have..I'll let you use it.
I tear up coasters...I tear them up into small small pieces, I mean TINY...then I play with the pieces on the table...you know I build little hills with them and stuff.
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SOteric Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 01:14 PM
Response to Reply #11
18. I don't know that it's annoying, but when my friend tried to quit smoking,
she took up sucking on extra sour lemon drops and atomic sourballs. The intense flavours interfered with her ability to enjoy a cigarette...and the wrappers left a telltale trail for a few weeks.
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thom1102 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-03 09:27 AM
Response to Reply #11
43. maybe he has to go to a certain place to get them...
Edited on Fri Oct-24-03 09:28 AM by thom1102
one of the only remaining places that still has matchbooks. Plus the matchbooks remind him of his former vice and keep him from picking up a cigarette.

How about chewing on a pen/pencil. Ex-smokers often do that because it has a similar feel as a cigarette, and with them putting it into their mouth, it satisfies that oral fixation of the cigarette.

Oh oh, how about this. He is always asking to borrow someone's pen/pencil, cause he keeps losing his, and then he is always returning it chewed up?
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radwriter0555 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-03 10:21 AM
Response to Reply #11
45. Well it can be ANY bits of paper. Matchbooks were of course related to
the smoking habit gone for 18 months now.

Now I roll up any receipt I get, in that tight little tube, starting at a corner. I keep them in my console in the cars.. save them up actually to do the twiddle with.

Any piece of paper will do, I'll manage to work it and roll it up.

Ooo, another one is PAPER clips. I have to bend them out, and fashion right angles and SPIN them while I'm on the phone.

Hmmm, I'm a tad more compulsive than I realized. I should work on that, LOL!
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number six Donating Member (244 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 12:58 PM
Response to Original message
7. when in doubt...
go with relentless foot tapping, facial tics, jerky movements.
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thebigidea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 01:00 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Number Two duly notes your answer.
Questions are a burden for others. A still tongue makes a happy life. Be seeing you.
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number six Donating Member (244 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #9
22. Damn you
I'll escape your giant golf balls one of these days you damned societal allegory
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thebigidea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 12:59 PM
Response to Original message
8. refers to self in 3rd person
claims uncle invented cotton gin.
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bif Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 01:01 PM
Response to Original message
10. Throat clearing
every 10 seconds. That's prettyh annoying.
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Wickerman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-03 10:22 AM
Response to Reply #10
46. Yeah, and sniffing
I hate throat clearing and sniffing. Its even worse when they stop - its like waiting for the other shoe to drop.
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bif Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 01:01 PM
Response to Original message
12. And cracking knuckles.
n/t
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sexybomber Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-03 10:42 AM
Response to Reply #12
49. oh God
I hate that more than anything on the planet. It just skeezes me out. :scared:
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Richardo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 01:02 PM
Response to Original message
13. Let me see (checking giant scroll Mrs Richardo gave him) ;-)
Edited on Thu Oct-23-03 01:07 PM by Richardo
clicking ball point pens
chewing fingernails
gnawing pencils
irritating nose-whistle (like Garrison Keillor)
cracking knuckles
neurotically pulls on eyebrows
tears beer bottle labels into tiny shreds
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Richardo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #13
17. Says "right?" or "OK?" after every frickin sentence - like O'Reilly
Right?
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Lars39 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 01:26 PM
Response to Reply #17
21. hehe-----we came across these guys at a garage once, where the
actual mechanic was an older guy named Billy going to college for some sort of engineering degree. Smart and practical; had no problem slinging himself under the van to check things out. His boss just hung around, ending EVERY sentence with "Idn't that right, Billy?"
Hilarious. And Billy never acted like it bothered him at all.
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Lars39 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 01:09 PM
Response to Original message
15. Tapping rhythms with fingertips.
I am sooo bad about tapping songs on the steering wheel...
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kmla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 01:10 PM
Response to Original message
16. Humming the Hokey Pokey.
Intermittent loud flatulence.
Spitting out partially consumed altoids.
Obsessively trying to spit out a stray hair - "Thppt. Thppt."
Clearing a wedgie every 30 seconds or so.

Any of those annoying habits annoying enough? I could think up more.
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DeposeTheBoyKing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. Bubble wrap!
Have the character constantly pop bubble wrap. I can only get about 7 popped before my husband is grabbing it and throwing it in the trash.
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ronzo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 01:19 PM
Response to Original message
20. Tooth sucker.
Edited on Thu Oct-23-03 01:19 PM by ronzoNOLA
As if they have a piece of rib permanently stuck in their teeth. You know what I mean...

edit : sp.
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JohnnyAmerica Donating Member (186 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 01:51 PM
Response to Original message
23. If he's a smoker or a non-smoker.....
when he's nervous, he reaches into his pocket and pulls out an old, favorite Zippo lighter and plays with it, opening and closing it, making a noise that, trust me, truly annoys.
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NuckinFutz Donating Member (852 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 01:58 PM
Response to Original message
24. giggling/laughing after each statement
whether it's funny or not.

smacking mouth while gum chewing, etc.

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bif Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 02:01 PM
Response to Original message
25. Here's the most annoying habit I know of...
when someone finishes sentences for you. Or repeats the last couple of words you say. Drives me nuts. ...me nuts.
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ronzo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 02:05 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. ... you nuts?
Yeah, that's a good one. It would also be fun to write.
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Lizz612 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 05:23 PM
Response to Reply #25
32. Along those lines...
Edited on Thu Oct-23-03 05:23 PM by Lizz612
For years my cousin would silently mouth the words he just said, as if going over them in his mind, or trying to relay them to me telepathically. He'd come in and ask "Have you seen Granpa?" *Have you seen Grandpa* without changing expression or looking away. Drove me up the wall!
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Richardo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 05:25 PM
Response to Reply #32
33. Margaret Smith did a bit about that a few years ago - hilarious!
Had no idea some people really did it.
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E_Zapata Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 05:41 PM
Response to Reply #25
37. god, that is pricelessly AWFUL.
That has to be the most annoying thing on earth.

I am going to remember it the next time I really want to annoy someone. And my defense when they come down on me? "I am just validating what you are saying."
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Kamika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 02:07 PM
Response to Original message
27. making clicking sounds with your fingernails
My cousin does this with his one hand and i swear ill kill him soon
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geniph Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 02:31 PM
Response to Original message
28. Snorking instead of blowing their nose
You know what I mean - the people that make that horrible GANNNKKK noise snorting snot back up from the back of their throat instead of getting a tissue like a decent human being. Snorkers make me see red, quite literally - my big brothers used to hawk up loogies and spit on me, so that sound sends me into a blind rage.

Snorkers must DIE!!!
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Kamika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 02:33 PM
Response to Reply #28
29. Oh god
They make me feel ill seriously one guy snorted for like an hour and spit out the most gross thing ever and i threw up when i saw it
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MojoKrunch Donating Member (513 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 05:13 PM
Response to Original message
30. Tuneless, subliminal, humming to oneself.
Or a running interior monologue subconsciously mumbled aloud.

Mojo
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Richardo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 05:15 PM
Response to Reply #30
31. Oh! Oh! and high vibrato whistling....
I used to work with a guy in a clerical job that did that ALL THE LIVELONG DAY.

Still get the shakes thinking about it.
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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 05:30 PM
Response to Original message
34. Explain about the character - what does he do, where does he go,
Edited on Thu Oct-23-03 05:33 PM by Rabrrrrrr
what's the time period of the novel, etc.? I can think of many things, but need some context.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 05:33 PM
Response to Original message
35. Picking scabs?? pretty annoying...and messy
:)
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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 05:34 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. And self-mutilating so that new scabs will form!
That would be cool.
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MojoKrunch Donating Member (513 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-03 08:44 AM
Response to Reply #35
39. Ewww... I can see it now...
Camera pans over cheap leather shoes and slacks as *scabs* fall to the floor around feet.

BLEH.
lol

Mojo
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GoddessOfGuinness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-03 05:50 PM
Response to Original message
38. How about this one?
Edited on Thu Oct-23-03 05:52 PM by GoddessOfGuinness
My husband never throws away the foil wrappers from Hershey Kisses. Instead, he rolls them up into balls and shoots them across the room for the cats to chase.
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MojoKrunch Donating Member (513 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-03 08:46 AM
Response to Reply #38
40. Oohh.. I like that one...
Chocolate addiction *and* messy/artistic.

Kinda reminds me of the guy from BladeRunner who turned matchsticks/toothpicks into little men.

Mojo
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Red State Rebel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-03 09:11 AM
Response to Reply #38
41. Popping and Cracking Gum
My sister used to do that, made me want to scream!
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VelmaD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-03 09:20 AM
Response to Original message
42. It wasn't pistachios...
Mulder ate sunflower seeds. Which is a great bad habit for a character.

Knuckle cracking is a good one too - I do that and it drives people around me insane.

Wearing white socks regardless of what else he's wearing would be one that would annoy the hell outta me. :-)
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Robb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-03 10:21 AM
Response to Original message
44. For the record...
I'm going with a combo pack... he's popping those cheap candy mints you can get by the plastic bucketfull, constantly. And he works on the plastic wrappers in his pocket until they're smooshed into these seamless plastic pellets.

...Which he leaves around, so we can see he's been somewhere. Thanks everyone! Popped off 2000 words this morning without breaking a sweat.

Onwards!

:)
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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-03 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #44
47. Ha ha! Round little plastic pellets like mouse poop
or rabbit poop.

I like it!
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GoddessOfGuinness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-03 03:31 PM
Response to Reply #44
51. LOL! I bet it's especially obnoxious in a concert hall setting!
I'm picturing the slow movement of the Grieg Piano Concerto...the audience enraptured by the soft silver tones gliding from the piano to their very souls, leaving them breathless. Then, in the most deliciously intimate moment...
crinkle, crinkle, crinkle
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Spider Jerusalem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-03 10:36 AM
Response to Original message
48. Carrying a Zippo lighter and continuously clicking it open and closed...
with one hand. There's an annoying habit...
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mykpart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-03 01:02 PM
Response to Original message
50. Here's one my son used to do:
He would sing softly, under his breath, in a deep voice, old Negro Spirituals. Favorites were "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," and "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen."

Another thing you might use is maybe the character only wears a particular brand/style of shoe that is out of fashion.
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geniph Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-03 05:59 PM
Response to Original message
52. One of the posters here
once was complaining about his cubemate, who would make loud, moaning, semi-orgasmic noises whenever he ate anything - and he was constantly eating. I asked if it was only when he ate bananas and carrots, but no, he said it was when the guy ate anything. I'd have had to kill him in self-defense.
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