I look for patterns. I count to see if more men or women bear their testimony at church. I know how many days it’s been since I’ve stepped foot in the library. I like to know what the average is, and I like to be an outlier.
Sometimes I like to maintain patterns. I have never sent a text message. Not once. I realized that I hadn’t ever sent one a couple years ago and have decided to maintain that pattern. Is it likely that I’m going to be able to go my whole life without sending a text message, or whatever form of communiqué replaces texting a couple years from now? Almost certainly not. But for now I can keep the record going, and that makes me happy for some reason.
I like to be eccentric, so that partially explains this phenomenon. People know that I don’t text. I bring it up sometimes. Hey, I’m Chris, I can play the bassoon, I have 8 sisters, I don’t text. Never met anyone like me have you? But there’s also some intrinsic gratification that I receive from holding these patterns. I’ve had a Sacagawea dollar in my wallet since I was 16. I’m pretty sure that no one knew that (until now of course.) I have no sentimental attachment to it, and I’d spend it if I felt the necessity. I found myself a dollar short last week and nearly had to spend it, but instead I paid with a bunch of change. The pattern remains upheld.
I also enjoy breaking patterns. It gives me some sense of pleasure that everyone else is one way and I’m another. In Columbus there are 2 singles wards, and for those wards there are 4 Activities Co-Chairs at any time. In the 21 months that I’ve lived here there have been 13 different chairs. That seems like quite a high turnover. Why? Because they all get married. Of the 13 chairs, 9 are now married or engaged to be so. 1 has moved away and 2 have been called to be chairs for only a couple months, so haven’t received the blessings of their calling just yet. So if you’re an activity chair in Columbus you have a 75% chance of getting married, and the vast majority of those marriages occur within a year of being called to the position.
And then there’s me. I broke the pattern. Unlike my non-texting record, I’ll drop this distinction at the soonest available opportunity. But at least there’s a silver-lining to my perpetual bachelorhood. I get to stay the outlier.