Firstly I have to mention I have recently been reading Jon Richardson’s book ‘Its Not Me It’s You’ (all be it only 60 pages in at this point) who is basically a self confessed perfectionist with a huge amount of OCD traits. He makes a very good point which I would like to adopt, that he has never had, nor sought a medical diagnosis for OCD and so would not label himself as someone who has it, despite the fact he clearly does. So I am going to put myself in the same category!!
I suppose I should explain a few of my traits and then perhaps go on to talk about how I am getting on with them while travelling and my attempts to alleviate myself of this cursed obsession. Imagine almost everything you do in your day to day life being done in an ordered fashion, take for a common example locking a door (which I will use as my prime example throughout this), easy you might think. Now imagine that once you have locked the door you then need to stand there and pull and push the door (and turn the handle if there is one) to make sure it is locked, now imagine that the number of times you push or turn has to be counted and further more you have selected allocated numbers you are allowed to count to in order to be satisfied, now imagine even when you reach this number you haven’t managed to do it to your satisfaction, now imagine doing it again to your satisfaction but you are still not convinced the door is locked and so you do it all again, now imagine once you finally walk away you find yourself 20 meters from the door wondering if you have locked it properly…………mental isn’t it!!!!! But it’s ooohhh so fun!
That, I have to admit, is probably one of my more annoying and intense imperfections, the rest are small, almost insignificant to anyone that is with me, such as lining my beer up perfectly in between two lines on a table (oh what a great game it is for my friends to constantly move my beer), or staring at a cash machine long after I have my card and money back, just in case something strange happens and I haven’t actually taken my card back. Hygiene is something that plays a part in this too, if you drink from my bottle I will probably stare at it for a while think of a course of action and then wipe the top when you aren’t looking, even though I always wipe it from the start of receiving it anyway….and this won’t matter as I will still be thinking about back wash, it doesn’t really matter to me as far as I’m concerned my bottle has been compromised and don’t even think of putting a coin in there because that beer is dead to me. Further to this, before (or after) rubbing my eye or handling anything which is about to go in my mouth I will wonder if I have touched anything which could cause me to get a deadly disease or virus and so will spend time thinking of whether this is possible and then begrudgingly go ahead and do it if I have too or go and wash my hand if I can get away with it.
To be honest as I am writing this I am starting to think I am being a little too honest about all this and surely no good can come from this. Even though I do all these things, I think no one ever really notices, as most of the stuff is going on in my head and it’s only my visible actions such as the locking of doors and checking everything is turned off that has any real effect on people as I hold them up in their day to day lives.
I could go on with lots more traits, but what is above is enough to give you an understanding (or an inclining to disregard me). There are things in my personality that would seem to be somewhat of a tangent from the obsessions, such as my lack of care for mess. I can quite happily just chuck my stuff on the floor and leave it there for weeks, I’m pretty sure I could have riffled through a mass of work papers on my floor and find something from months before buried at the bottom. There really is no exact science to why something needs to be ordered and checked and why others don’t. There are really only two things I am sure of when it comes to my habits 1) If I wasn’t the last to touch it e.g. a tap, then it was the responsibility of the last person to have turned it off, and any short coming from this would be their fault, 2) Alcohol completely wipes all of these traits out…….the more alcohol the more they disappear……but surely I can’t just spend my life drunk……can I??? If anything, this shows that all this is just some weird over thinking device in my head and in fact I am not really this person (not that i let it define me as a person, there is far more to me than this shitty little hang up), if alcohol can extinguish it then so I can I……I’ve managed to eradicate parts of it before, but then there is this fear that I will become one of those liabilities who’s friends have to run around sorting shit out after them!!!!
At this point it may be useful to mention mine and Ian’s relationship. He is literally someone like me’s worst nightmare, we should be like fire and water or chalk and cheese, and with regards to these matters we are, but somehow it works. He is an overly laid back, carefree person who seems to live to the ethos that ‘if it happens it happens’, where as I work more on the side of preventing unnecessary bad things happening. Maybe it works because I am there to safe guard us both and in a way look after him and in return he teaches me to be more laid back and less anxious. Despite this massive difference the rest of our personalities are so in tune that our pre mentioned differences pail an insignificant compared to our mutual passions, our drive for humour, having fun and taking the piss out of everything is probably our greatest attribute and with that everything else is swept under the rug…..until he pisses me off with some stupid laxidazy approach to something!!!!
As I have a limited amount of possessions to worry about whilst travelling I was hoping that perhaps I could alleviate some of these, perhaps I wouldn’t care so much if the door wasn’t locked as there could be no repercussions, wrong. It just means what I do have has just become even more precious, I lose my bank card and passport I’m screwed, so my options are carry them with me and worry about them all day or leave them in the room and worry about the door being locked and do my ‘routine’ for the first 20 mins……the choice is easy. Cleanliness was actually something I was doing pretty well at in the start as I was in Bangkok, it’s dirty to say the least, and our first hostel had rats!!! Somehow over time it has slowly crept in and I find myself constantly applying hand santisers and spraying cuts with antiseptic ALL the time. But perhaps this is just good practice!?
Beers are still being lined up neatly on the table, money is still being put in sequential order and rolled up neatly in my pocket, lights are still being checked, most actions are still being counted to numbers that are of my approval (trust me you do not want me to go into detail as to what numbers they are or why they have been chosen, only a few people know this), food on my plate is still being neatly cut into corresponding segments allowing for the perfect final mouthful consisting of a little bit of everything on the plate and things taken off the shelf in a shop are never from the front in case someone has touched them!!!!! Progress needs to be made!
One gripe I must point out, which I don’t think is really related, is I have a little thing about personal space. If you are invited in, that’s fine, if I know you and you’re not invited in, it’s probably ok, if I don’t know you and you touch my arm…….I don’t like it…….so stop touching my arm tuk tuk driver, it’s weird! Ok so that one is still fresh as it only happened an hour ago, but seriously, who goes around touching peoples arms!!!! Well to be honest….probably me when I’ve had a drink……but that’s ok then!
I could rant all day, have a moan and continue to list things I do which annoy me far more than they annoy those around me (trust me) but I’ll leave it there for now. What I am going to do however is make a very conscious effort to remedy these to the point where I feel a positive step forward has been made and a more relaxed, less neurotic lifestyle can be achieved. If I haven’t scared you off the website by now I’ll be sure to give an update on any progression.