I have a habit of brushing my teeth in a certain way every time. I rinse my mouth out in a pattern with a yellow cup -- first with hot water, then cold, then hot, then cold water to rinse out the sink. It keeps the water temperature even. I rotate in the same positions every night trying to fall asleep. My fingers have learned habits so I type my password immediately after my email address even when it's not necessary. I read the comics in the same order every morning while eating breakfast. I sit in the same seat in the same metro car at Cote-Vertu every time, every single time. Walk down the stairs, turn right, it's the second door in the car after the TV, the seat across from the metro map. When I ride with other people I make them sit there too.
Sometimes habits are disarming. When you realize what you're doing it's sudden, it's awakening. Sometimes your feet just walk and before you know it you're at the bus stop and you don't know how you got there. Then you furrow your brow and try to think about it, but it seems inconsequential, takes too much energy --
And we learn other people's habits too. We come to expect the way someone answers the phone, we feel comforted by the smells of shirts because someone washes them that way, we are balanced by another's routines, "making a temporary sense of the senseless, choreful day". When it changes we are alarmed, suspicious. We want things to go back to normal. Your life is unnerved when you build your habits around someone else's habits and then their habits change.
Returning to old habits feels weird -- why do I always sit in the same spot? Is it really necessary? But then I sit there anyway, just because. Just because it's easy, and I remember it. Perhaps my habit remembers me. It says hello, it welcomes me back, and though it may be uncomfortable at first because I don't want it! I don't want it anymore!, I eventually settle back into my routine and then I forget that I had ever tried to do something different.
It's hard to change a habit. There's just nothing else to do, it seems. It's lonely, a little, realizing you haven't changed at all. It hurts, thinking that you can't. You convince yourself you don't need to change anyway, after all, your morning routine is harmless. It's not killing anyone. So then everything is the same, all the time. All the goddamn time. The places you go, the bars you haunt, the streets you walk, the words you say, they're all the same, the places you go, the bars you haunt, the streets you walk, the words you say, they're all the fucking same.
So you resign yourself to a life of grayish suits, tired shoes, and a battered briefcase.