Pleasantly Neurotic


One thing I’ve learned from hanging around with shrink friends through the years: everybody behaves neurotically sometimes–nobody is exempt. Getting a diagnosis as clinically neurotic in some way depends on where your behavior lies along a continuum–are you neurotic all the time, or are you a once-in-a-while, casual neurotic?

I have self-diagnosed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder–not every second of every day, but pretty damn near close, and I have been this way most of my life, I think. It manifests in all kinds of kooky ways, like how I fold clothes in neat squares (as if anybody besides me sees it or cares), or how I tuck in the corners of the sheets on my bed. Because everybody knows if you don’t tuck them in just right, the earth’s magnetic field will reverse and we will be wiped out as a species.

I have come a long way towards recovery through the years, though–parenting will do that to you. The singluar experience of child rearing will wipe that OCD right off your face, and sometimes make it impossible for you to do things like, say, take a shower in the morning. Personal hygiene tends to be rawther important to those of us with OCD. And right at this moment my car’s condition happens to be proof positive of OCD recovery. (When it is winter in Vermont, you might as well forget about keeping a clean car.)

So I figure it all balances out–the wacky and the normal.

When I am under any kind of duress, though–even the good kind, my OCD announces itself loud and clear, like the fruit on Carmen Miranda’s hat. Right now, for example, I should be getting as much of my stuff into boxes as I can ahead of this weekend, when Handsome Chef Boyfriend will arrive to help me pack every single thing we can possibly squeeze into two carloads ahead of my move to his place. And ahead of my new job. Which starts on Monday. We will be back in the coming days to get more loads, but it’s a long drive–we need to make the most of each trip.

So I am polishing silver (and blogging).

Seems reasonable.

Silver polish was on my shopping list last weekend, when HCB was here helping. Why do you need silver polish, he asked?

To polish silver, I said. Duh.

The real reason is that what little silver I possess is tarnished to the point of being unrecognizable and I can’t bear to just throw it into a box that way. (OCD.) Ditto textiles. They’ve got to be clean, and preferably packed in plastic bins (the inside of which I just washed with hot, soapy water, yes really). HCB brought me cardboard boxes last weekend, bless him. I was explaining that I could not pack textiles into them because I’d have to wash them a second time, when I unpacked them, because they would be touching cardboard.

That’s why I was careful to bring you clean cardboard boxes, he explained.


Still, I admit to a bit of wackiness this week and last, and the week before. Which is why, I think, when my very sweet friend Rebecca announced this reading challenge I jumped right on it. At one time in my past when I had a disposable income I liked to buy books–lots and lots of them. I had bookcases on bookcases in every room of the house. (OCD, or possibly hoarding, definitely neurotic.) Weeding through them ahead of moving a thousand miles from Tennessee to Vermont was no small thing. I pulled a bunch of titles I’d never read thinking I would have plenty of time to finally dig into them in my new life. (Wrong.) But this challenge seemed like a great idea, and perfectly timed, poised as I am to take on extra projects.

January 2015 seems as good a time as any to start some serious reading. And a new job. And a new life with Handsome Chef Boyfriend.

Think I’ll go look for my fruit hat. Just as soon as I finish polishing silver.

Carmen Miranda

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