We have a ceramic sugar bowl with a loop on the side which holds a small sugar spoon.
When the spoon is inserted with the open side of the spoon facing the bowl, it fits properly, all the way into the loop.
When the spoon is inserted with the rounded bottom fo the spoon facing the bowl, it does not fit all the way into the loop.
When the sugar bowl is passed to a guest, the spoon is usually in the loop, facing the correct direction.
Some guests return the spoon to the loop correctly; others put it the wrong way. Some notice that the spoon didn’t go in all the way and turn it around; others leave it facing the wrong way.
Those of you who know me personally or have read my blog for a while no doubt realize that seeing the spoon facing the wrong way and sticking precariously out of the loop is, to me, like nails on a chalkboard. It is, quite simply, something that is Not Right, and what’s worse, something that is Not Right for No Good Reason.
But aside from my personal fascination (probably bordering on OCD) with trivial little things like this, I find myself wondering if anyone has ever studied it. It seems to me that you can divide people into three categories: people who simply don’t notice things like this; people who notice but don’t care; and people who notice and care. Do these categories have greater significance? Do they speak to people’s work habits, intelligence, happiness, etc.?