This morning, on the highway, I was tailgating a two-thousand-and-late Honda Accord. Behind the wheel was a balding man in a plaid shirt. He had a wedding ring and a wrist watch on a leather-band on his left hand. The same hand he would use to twirl the few hairs on the top of his head. He did this while driving. And it was driving me insane.
I wondered if his propensity for baldness was too much testosterone or too little self-control for a horrific habit. What if he was like one of those sad birds you see at a pet shop that plucks out its own feathers out of frustration and/or sadness? Well, wait. He wasn’t exactly plucking or pulling his hair out, so it’s not a fair comparison. He was twirling, like a four-year old girl. And it was still making me crazy.
Not being able to shake the thought of what I saw, I googled hair twirling – after I got off the highway, of course. In my search I found that there is a term for his condition called Trichotillomania and it’s abbreviated TTM. It’s some sort of version of an obsessive compulsive disorder. I instantly felt bad for the guy. Here I was judging him and getting crazy about his neurological disorder. He probably has to do it in the car because his wife beats him with a frying pan every time he reaches for his head.
And then the guilt consumed me.
What kind of person gets mad about someone else’s involuntary weird habits? If someone were to stutter, would I punch them in the face? If someone were to blink excessively, would I shake them by the shoulders? Then, I wondered, if I had some sort of condition, like Intermittent Explosive Disorder or Rage Disorder or Monomania (singularly obsessed with hair twirling).
And then someone honked at me because the light changed to green.