What You Do When There’s No One Around
Well, no, actually. If we could be flies on the walls in the homes of Houzzers across the globe, we’d be able to witness marvelous things. Odd things, too, but marvelous nonetheless. Fortunately, many of our community members have shared their quirks, so now I don’t feel so different anymore — and, I hope, neither will you.
1. Talking to animals and plants. Time and time again, Houzzers owned up to calling on their furry friends for a chat. “I talk to my dogs all day long when I’m alone. They don’t respond, but they’re really great listeners,” jwbarone from the U.S. says. And she’s not the only one who seeks out unusual partners for conversation. Many Houzzers, such asLaura Beaupeurt from Australia, admit to talking to themselves, when not talking to their pet, and some people even owned up to seeking advice from their plants.
Why do we talk to pets when we know they won’t respond? “Many animals are social beings, just like us humans,” says Sandra Schmidt, a psychologist from Berlin. “When we tell our beloved four-legged friends about our problems and they cuddle up close to us, we feel understood and accepted.”
But there’s another reason too: It feels good. Schmidt says it encourages us to think out loud. “We can process our thoughts more easily in this way — as if they were somebody else’s thoughts,” she says. So talking to ourselves, pets and plants is a way to gain new insights. Well, there’s our answer — and permission to continue that chat with the goldfish.
U.S. Houzzer cocoanlace also has an unusual dress code, and is similarly unapologetic about her snacking choice. “I am usually naked. Also, I have tortilla chips and salsa for dinner sometimes.”
Finally, kudos to Barbara from Australia, who’s finally letting herself do all the things she wasn’t allowed to do as a kid. “I don’t have to wait till hubby turns his back to lick my plate, ’cause we both do it!” she says. “I think it’s an insult to the cook not to lick your plate clean. Well, that’s what I say to justify it.”
She adds that often we put that pressure on ourselves: In a sort of preemptive obedience, we submit to what we think others expect of us. Being able to escape those expectations feels very sweet.
It’s good to know that even the most diligent among us are afflicted. “I hardly ever turn my brain off.… When I’m at home, I read, study, take notes, do research,” Erica Bagnascofrom Italy says. “Of course, I do it all … in my pajamas!”
We all have such cravings, no matter how healthful our diet may be otherwise. Eating is closely associated with well-being. It can trigger a childhood memory, or it can bring pure and simple delight, sort of like raiding the cookie jar. And sometimes we even do it out of consideration. Junko Kawakami from Japan secretly eats a Japanese specialty that might not look very appetizing to everyone. “I like natto [fermented soybeans], but my husband doesn’t, so I eat them when I’m home alone,” she says.
We seem to understand this on a subconscious level — that’s why we set our voices free and sing when we are home alone. “I feel sorry for my neighbors, ’cause when I’m home by myself, I imagine being Beyoncé,” Natalia Shashkova from Russia says.
Singing, dancing and making music are all expressions of pure joie de vivre. Without music, humankind would be nothing. And yet, many of us prefer to be musical on the sly. For one thing, most of us believe we can’t sing; for another, we think we shouldn’t do it in public. But don’t we find it incredibly charming when someone is doing it anyway, quite unselfconsciously? There it is again: preemptive obedience.
Sorting stuff seems to be satisfying and calming — rather like meditation. Australian Houzzer janetneve3009 relishes the opportunity to put things in their place, even if that means making an initial mess in order to sort things out. “When I have a (rare) Saturday morning free, I love nothing better than to throw the contents of my craft box onto the coffee table and then put everything back in ever so neatly! Incredibly ‘uncool,’ but I love it.” German Houzzer Amelia Sommer also admits to taking everyday sorting to a new level: “When I hang up the laundry and a piece of clothing requires two clothes pegs … they have to be the same color.”
Schmidt says of our organizing idiosyncrasies: “With all the stress and chaos many of us experience every day, we enjoy being able to actually finish a job and check it off. Done! It gives us the feeling that at least in this one area of our lives, we have created a little bit of order.”
The question of why we do these things is not really all that important as long as our quirks don’t interfere with our everyday lives. At home, we can be who we want to be — and that’s the only thing that counts.