Feb 06 2014

A bit wacko

I was tidying my room yesterday morning, before I checked out of the hotel, and realised just how stupid that is. The maid would be in shortly, so why is it that I feel compelled to straighten out the bedsheets, place the TV remote neatly back in front of the telly at a 90 degree angle and wipe the excess water from the sink and taps, before I go?  I’ve not always done it… just for the past couple of years.

It’s the same at home. In the morning, before I take the kids to school, I have to make the beds and wash up the breakfast things before we go. I simply cannot leave the house until those particular chores are done.

Even if we are running late – which we often are.

Even if I am working from home and will be returning within 20 minutes.

So, I’m thinking that I might suffer – just very slightly – from CDO*

I say ‘slightly’ because this certainly isn’t something that rules my life. I’m not continually tiding up at home and minutely adjusting hanging pictures and placing all my DVDs in alphabetical order (although that would certainly help me find them a bit easier, once I’d selected one to watch from the database (yes, my DVDs are catalogued)). No, it is purely the chores mentioned above that leave me feeling uncomfortable if I don’t do them.

I heard a wise man on the telly once say (actually, it was David Beckham) that we all have a little bit of this in us.

Nice to know I’m in such illustrious company.

*Note: CDO – It’s the same as OCD but with all the letters in their proper order.


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  1. Frances

    I need to read the Sunday paper in the same order……newspaper first, and then ” You” magazine..from the back page first, then try and do the crossword, then start from the beginning, and in the bathroom it has to be toilet, teeth, face, when going to bed. Never really thought of it as OCD but I guess it is a form of it. Now you have started me thinking about it, there are probably other things in daily life that come into the same category.

  2. Brennig

    I have my ‘getting out of the house’ routine which leans heavily on me putting things in the appropriate place(s) when I get home.

    I don’t straighten hotel rooms/hotel bathrooms before I check out, but I will always make sure my bed is straightened and the bedroom tidy, before I leave the house. You know. In case I should ever get lucky.

  3. Graham W

    I think I have a touch of OCD when it comes to all things Microsoft Office…

    Any Excel docs I produce have to have the cells match on a table with the same fonts and matching colours throughout. Word docs need to be correctly formatted, with bold titles and well-spaced paragraphs and emails need to be spell-checked with correct capitalisation throughout.

    I reckon I could get twice as much work done if I didn’t care so much about my presentation skills!

  4. Masher

    Frances – Hmmm… is it obsessive behaviour or just bringing a sense of order to things, d’ya think?

    Bren – having a routine when you leave the house is no bad thing – saves you locking your keys inside. And, if you were to really get lucky, she’d make the bed for you!

    Graham – Oh mate, why does that not surprise me? :)
    Having said that, I know exactly what you mean and I’m much the same. Sometimes I’ll spend more time ‘tidying’ a spreadsheet than it took to put it together in the first place.

  5. Dave

    Everyone has the makings of OCD. It is just routine. The problem comes when the number of routines and the time they take overtakes the time available and then they start affecting your life adversely. The MS Office example is a very good one. Nothing wrong with a nicely presented spreadsheet, even if it takes a little bit longer than someone else. Not even a problem if tarting it up takes longer than inputting the data. There’s plenty of time. But what if you now have to do ten of them. It takes you 15 mins to put in the data. Not a problem, just 150 mins, two and a half hours in your working day. Except you take 45 mins to tart each one up. Now you’ve got ten hours work to fit in an eight hour day. And then you make a mistake in one of them, your boss ain’t happy. So now not only is it taking an hour to do each one but another 30 minutes to check each one to make sure it’s right. Your boss says you needn’t bother with all the matching colours, but he’s “wrong”, because it’s only because of the colour combination of the various rows and columns that makes it so readable. And then, because you are so stressed that you might make another mistake you have to make sure you listen to your favourite piece of music before you leave home to relax you. Even if you are running late. And if you are running late you might have to listen to it twice to calm down even though you are now even later………

    And then everything builds up as more and more routines crowd in trying to control the perfect day.

  6. Masher

    You sound like you have some experience with this, Dave.

  7. Dave

    Yes, my ex. It’s a fascinating mental illness in how it affects people and understanding their logic and everyone is different depending on what they can find to obsess on and what the compulsion is. But not when you live with someone who has it. It consumes every minute of the day, and that day extends until every routine is finished, even if your day then becomes 36 hours each time. Not that I’m looking for sympathy but if ever you come across someone with it, look out for their partner, you can have no idea what they are going through trying to keep the person anchored at least in a small way with the “normal” world.

  8. Toffeeapple

    What’s a spreadsheet? ;-)

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