The ABCs of My OCD

Song Lyric of the Day:

High Anxiety / It’s always the same / High Anxiety / It’s you that I blame / It’s very clear to me / I’ve to give in / High Anxiety / You win

Mel Brooks / “High Anxiety

In case you’re new to my blog or haven’t popped by in a while or are just really good at tuning me out when I get all repetitive-like (I’m looking at you, dear), I’m heading off to Toronto tomorrow for the Toronto International Film Festival. It’s pretty much all I’ve talked about lately. And to say I have ants-in-the-pantsitis is a complete understatement. I’m basically bouncing off the walls since the last vacation I enjoyed was our amazing trip to Uruguay last March. After that trip, Rich and I stayed much closer to home, and this year we’ve only gone away together for a grand total of two nights, once to Chattanooga for Valentine’s Day and then to the amazing Creekwalk Inn for our 9th wedding anniversary in April. So am I ready for a vacation? You bet your ass I am.

As I wrote the other day, it’s something of a tradition for me to freak out a bit before going out of town, whether it’s for an overnighter or for a longer trip. I blame it on my selective OCD. I say selective because, while I don’t need to tap the lightswitch 18 times before leaving a room or, say, blink three times and spin in a circle every hour on the hour, I do have my quirks. One of those quirks is making list after list of things to prepare for vacation, things to take on vacation, things that need to be taken care of around the house, bills that need to be paid, etc. And I have a thing about taking extra underwear on a trip. I’m not talking the recommended extra pair or two, but almost a whole week’s worth of extra undies. Rich likes to tease me about that hypothetical underwear dilemma/nightmare, the one that’s hovered in the back of my mind for every trip over the last dozen years or so, that will lead me to need all those extra undies. I shudder to think what that might be, should that particular catastrophe ever strike.

Pre-trip freakout rituals aside, my day-to-day OCD quirks are limited to two things: my alarm clock and the front and back door locks (okay, three things). I have to check my alarm clock several times before I can rest assured that I set if for (1) the correct time and (2) the correct time of day. As in AM instead of PM. That little mistake has made for a few bad days over the years. I won’t get started on how I used to obsess over the volume of my alarm, but ask Rich how many mornings he’s had a heart attack as a wake-up call and you’ll get the answer to that. As for the locks, Rich knows how much of a trigger this is for me. All he has to do as I’m, say, drifting off to sleep, is casually whisper, “Goodnight, and are you sure the front door/back door is locked?” knowing full well I’ll hop out of bed to go check right that very moment. I think he — and the dogs — think it’s funny.

My packing is about 85% complete, so all I have to do tonight (besides freak out and inadvertently annoy the spouse) is double- then triple- then quadruple-check everything*, amass all my electronics (laptop, DSLR, digital camera for shooting video, and iPod), finish rewatching Being Human (ahem), and make sure my earplugs and sleep mask are at the ready for when I’m settled in on my flights. Because for me, flying is a time for sleeping. I’m not there to socialize with my seatmate(s). So I swaddle myself in a blanket — covering my neck, of course — pop in my earplugs and put my mask on. Sure, if the plane — God forbid — starts to go down, I’ll hold my seatmate’s hand and be their best friend to the bitter end, but until then? I’m napping.

*Underwear counting included.

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