Some people say, “I’m soooo OCD,” and they say it while they’re giggling and insisting that you remove your shoes before you walk on their carpet. Unless these people are simultaneously popping Anafranil and flipping a light switch on and off exactly 13 times, they might not actually be OCD.
(I hate taking my shoes off in other people’s houses. What if I didn’t know you were one of those people, and I’m not wearing my “company”-grade socks? Or what if I’m wearing heels with no tights or anything, and now I’m just padding around your house barefoot, like a goddamn street urchin? Most importantly, why did you buy carpeting that you never wanted anyone to walk on? I mean, Pergo is a thing for a reason.)
I don’t want to join the ranks of the irritatingly tidy who trivialize obsessive-compulsive disorder, but YOU GUYS, I THINK I MIGHT HAVE OCD FOR REAL. Let’s review the evidence.
ONE. I think the Virgin Mary is magical.
I have about five Mary-themed air fresheners in my car, because once I got in a bad car accident but didn’t die, and no one can prove to me that it wasn’t because of the rose-scented Virgin of Guadalupe hanging from my rearview mirror. Related: I carry a rosary for good luck. And also an evil eye amulet… and a key chain in the shape of a gas pump, which matters only because my dad gave it to me. So far, so normal — AM I RIGHT?
TWO. I’m a selective eater.
In the very technical sense of the word, because I could eat most of you under the table, quantity-wise. But anything with an icky texture — which is the majority of all foodstuffs, FYI — is verboten.
For example, any kind of seafood sends a chill down my spine. And I can’t even start with cooked fruit. “Even apple pie?” you say, somewhat condescendingly, to which I reply, “Fuck your mushy apples.” (American Pie allusion unintentional and immediately regretted.)
THREE. I “knock wood” to avoid bad luck.
But it’s so much more than that. I knock on my forehead, specifically, and in clusters of three. So if I have a jinx-y thought, or hear some bad news, or someone else says something that is clearly going to tempt the fates, it’s knock-knock-knock on my forehead. Then, I need to find two other reasons to knock wood within the next hour or so — resulting in three total knocks of three raps each. Since I have negative thoughts constantly throughout the day, I’m usually not at a loss for material.
However, if I’m in a public place where I’ll look batshit crazy for repeatedly punching myself in the head, I try to slyly knock against the back of my skull when no one is paying attention. Of course, this affords much less protection than a direct rap-rap-rap on the front of my forehead, so I try to do it right whenever possible. Otherwise, I spend way too much time later in the day trying to “fix” my inadequate knocks with more and more knocks, and it becomes kind of a time suck.
FOUR. I’m sure my loved ones are about to die.
This extends to everyone in my family, but I’ll use my husband as an example, just for brevity’s sake. So I had a trivial email exchange with him earlier today. I was lamenting the fact that our local public library doesn’t offer any storytimes for young babies when I’m off work, and Mr. Hightower was encouraging me to write them an angry letter. A “Dear Ellen,” he called it, referencing the time he wrote Ellen DeGeneres a scathing letter for being a scab during the writer’s strike.
The conversation gradually tapered off, and I’d been using my work email, so I was about to delete his last message to keep my inbox clean. But as my cursor hovered over it, I thought, “What if he dies on his way home tonight, and this ends up being the last email he ever sent me?” So I kept it, because you never know. I’ve saved routine voice mails from him for the same reason — just in case those end up being the last words he ever says to me.
FIVE. I really wanted this list to be an odd number.
I would have preferred three or seven, but I’m willing to settle for five.