In an attempt to convey what the condition makes me do, I described the regimented arrangement of the things on top of my chest of drawers (see last week's post). Employing items on the table - salt and pepper pots, glasses, cutlery - I illustrated the point with an impromptu demonstration of spacing, centring and pattern-making.
Friend A frowned a little. Friend B shrugged and said it sounded 'quite normal'. Not quite the reaction I was looking for.
I girded myself to share a more 'weird' practice, something that would really prove the point - and settled on my bathroom light pull. How, you might wonder, can OCD influence your approach to a light pull?
|Photos: Peter Gettins Photography|
Here's how. The pull is a teardrop-shaped piece of wood with a fingerprint swirl of grain on each side; one dark with only a couple of whorls, one lighter with multiple loops. On leaving the bathroom, I swivel the pull around, so that the lighter side faces me, and the fingerprint is centred. I don't know why, it just 'feels right' - which is the basis of much of my OCD. An inexplicable feeling of things being 'right' or 'wrong' that traps me into repeating a compulsion, until I feel the internal shift to 'right'.
As Friend B didn't seem to be getting it, I moved on to another aspect of my condition.
'I've lost sight of what normal is,' I said. 'I mean, how do most people arrange their socks?'
Friend B sat bolt upright. 'What do you mean, arrange their socks?'
'Well, you know? How do you put your socks away?' I was uncertain why she was so agitated.
'You arrange your socks?!' she said, genuinely horrified.
So that was it. She had finally come unstuck over one of my lesser OCD evils; one which, to me, is only a few steps removed from simple tidiness. At least I'll know how to get the message across next time: go straight for the sock drawer.