Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Top Six OCDs

I firmly believe that everyone, in some form or another, has Obsessive Compulsive Disorders.  For some, it unfortunately rules every aspect of their lives, leaving them unable to function normally.  For others, myself included, they are more annoyances than life-altering.  My current top six OCDs are as follows:

1.  Locking the doors and windows at night.  We live in a pretty safe neighborhood, despite Crumbling Frights reputation (undeserved!).  We often will leave the house for a few hours during the day and not lock up due to negligence, laziness or lack of keys.  We have never had a problem.  However, when it's time to turn in for the night, I become a maniac, preparing the house for the hordes of thieves, rapists, tea partiers and murderers that are sure to be lurking in the dark.  I will shut and lock all windows and check each door in the house at least four times to ensure that it is bolted securely.  This includes making multiple trips downstairs into the garage to ensure that door is indeed locked and has not become unlocked in the five minutes since I last checked it.  If I neglect any step of this process, I will lay in bed unable to sleep, obsessing until I get up and do it.  If KT is feeling particularly mischevious or wrathful, she will simply say "Is the back door locked?" to send me into a spiral.  It's a powerful weapon for her to have.

2.  The gauges on my automobiles.  My friend Adrian, who is probably the most mechanically gifted person I know (although to prevent him from getting an ego I will mention that he often wears shirts that are too small), drives his car with about six or seven different lights flashing at him telling him of his impending doom.  It doesn't bother him in the least.  I, on the other hand, go into full meltdown mode if the "wiper fluid low" light comes on.  If, god forbid, the check engine light comes on, it's time for full on panic and Adrian can expect a phone call begging him to save me from the fiery death trap my car has become.  This OCD made me a dishonest mechanic's wet dream until I met Adrian.  I would routinely shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars for things Adrian will do for a six pack of beer.  I still receive random phone calls from mechanics I have used in the past telling me I should really get my car checked out to make sure I'm not about to kill myself or my loved ones.

3.  Checking the mail.  This OCD has gotten much worse due to the related circumstances of being unemployed (and at home) and anticipating various important documents in the mail.  It is also compounded by the fact that rather than follow a daily pattern, our mail lady seems to deliver mail randomly.  One day our mail will arrive at 10:00AM and the next not until after 5:00.  It's never the same two days in a row.  So, naturally, I obsess and execute a stake out.  I will check the mail box in 15 minute intervals when awaiting something important.  If I go downstairs to shower, I'll check it immediately before and again right after.  Last week I think I actually frightened the mail lady away.   She began walking towards our house, saw me standing in the doorway with crazed eyes and a creepy mustache and walked away.  I'm not making this up.  She returned an hour later to deliver our mail.

4.  Getting to the airport on time.  This has been a life long issue and is undoubtedly the main reason why KT is never too anxious to travel anywhere with me that requires flying.  For a normal person, a 9:00AM flight would consist of this thought process:

  • It will take me 30 minutes to get ready
  • It takes 20 minutes to get to the airport
  • It takes about 30 minutes to check in/get through screening
  • I will get up at 7:00, giving myself plenty of time

Here's my process:

  • It will take me 30 minutes to get ready, but I really should check again to make sure I have everything and what if the zipper on the suitcase gets stuck? And, I better make sure the oven is off and the iron is unplugged and the windows and doors are locked, so I need to allow myself at least 90 minutes here
  • It takes 20 minutes to get to the airport, but what if there is traffic or road construction or an accident on the light rail or I miss my bus or I twist my ankle walking down the stairs making me move at only half speed?  Better give myself at least 75 minutes here
  • It takes about 30 minutes to check in/get through screening but what if there is a problem with my reservation (even though I have checked, rechecked and verified no less than eight times) or what if there is a bomb threat or what if there are really long lines because we are at threat code level orange or what if I forget a water bottle in my carry on and am subjected to a full body search because of it?  Better give myself at least two hours here.
  • I will get up at 4:00, but I don't really trust my alarm, so I will set two - one for 3:30 and one for 4:00.

Inevitably, I (and whichever poor souls I am travelling with) end up at the gate three hours before scheduled take off.  And, once there, I will refuse to leave the gate for food, books, etc., as I might miss an important announcement about a flight change or cancellation.  All things considered, I now understand why KT is fine with me taking trips without her.

5.  Making sure the laptop/cell phone is charged.  The laptop and my cell phone must remain at 75% charged or greater at all times.  Anything less is unacceptable.  When not in use, they should be charging.  When in use, they should be charging.  It is essential to have multiple charging devices for both the laptop and the cell phone.  If either the laptop or the cellphone's little battery symbol should turn red, all other activities must cease until the device is successfully charging.

I have the above mandate printed and framed in each room of the house.  I have also made it the screen saver on both devices.  I am considering learning to cross-stitch so that I can imprint it on a throw pillow.

6.  Peeing.  Yes, peeing.  Nothing bothers me more than having to get up in the middle of the night to take a piss.  The nearest toliet is down a flight of stairs, which presents a myriad of obstacles to successfully emptying my bladder.  My size 13 water-skis don't fit on our stairs, which means I have to descend sideways.  Additionally, our stairs are usually littered with shoes, books and various other items that should be put away upstairs but I was too damn lazy to do so.  Once the stairs have been successfully navigated, I have to get by our sadistic cat who tends to attack anything which moves in the dark, sinking her teeth in quickly before scurrying off before I have a chance to retaliate.  If the cat doesn't get me, the dog will.  Not by aggression, but by simply laying her fat ass in the most inopportune place possible, ensuring she will be tripped over.

So, to prevent this hassle, I usually will pee - or attempt to pee - at least five times before going to bed.  I usually alternate my attempts with loops around the house ensuring everything is shut and locked.  KT gets quite a kick out of it, to the point where she will stand in the bathroom for my third, fourth and fifth attempts making grunting noises and saying something along the lines of "C'mon Prostate Boy, you can do it!"