Down with OCD?

The other night, Chrisie came back from shopping with treats for everyone, including me. She had bought each of us some of our favorite candy. For me, she got a movie theater sized box of Bottle Caps. While I adore Bottle Caps, I knew I might be in for a bit of teasing. I knew this because I know my wife well and also because she sported and absolutely wicked grin.

“Why the grin?” I asked.

“Because I’ll get to watch you eat them!” After saying this, she laughed. I groaned. She even set her FaceBook status as “high light for the night: Leighton sorting bottle caps (the candy). We need to get out more! :)”  I, of course, pointed out that they are different flavors (and I can spell highlight correctly).

She apparently gets quite the kick out of watching me eat Bottle Caps. While I do have a particular way of eating them, it seems perfectly natural to me. I pour out a handful, then sort them by flavor (not color, flavor), and set the different flavors in neat lines. Perfectly normal, right? It’s also perfectly normal to make sure the lettering on each one lines up neatly as well. Everyone does something like this. Right? Right?

Every time I do this we have a similar conversation. It goes something like this (and often goes exactly like this).

“You know this is what autistic kids do, don’t you?” she’ll ask.

“Maybe, but I’m not autistic.”

“It’s a little obsessive compulsive.”

“Is not.”

“It is too.”

“Is not, is not, is not!”

“What are you? Five?”

“Is not times ten.” She usually rolls her eyes at this point. I have no idea why.

“Ok, forgetting that you’re acting like a child, it is OCD to sort them like that.”

“No it’s not. The different colors are different flavors. I eat them from my least favorite flavor to my favorite flavor. Cola, grape, orange, cherry, root beer. See? Different flavors, it’s not like they’re M&M’s.”

“You sort M&M’s too.”

“That’s not the point! The point is, they are different flavors and I eat them from my least favorite to my favorite.”

“I thought red was your favorite.”

“No, cherry is my second favorite now. I changed my mind. Because I am not OCD.”

“If you say so, but you totally are.”

“Am not!”

“Are too . . . please don’t start that again.”

“OK, but I’m not OCD.”

Of course, that’s not a very accurate statement. I am a little OCD (I get it honestly). What’s amazing to me is that Chrisie hardly pokes fun at areas I’m really OCD, like when I’m reading. She once made the mistake of asking me why I usually read so long.

“Well, I like to end on the right page.”

“You mean on the right side?”

“Well, sometimes, but mostly I mean on the correct page.”

“Fine then. What’s the correct page mean?”

“I don’t want to tell you.”

“Why not?”

“You’ll think I’m weird.”

“It’s a little late for that.”

She was right of course. She already knew I was weird, so there couldn’t be much harm in telling her my page numbering thing.

“Well, the thing is, I really only like to stop on a chapter break. Or at least a break in the writing like when they put extra space between paragraphs. Sometimes a paragraph will do, but it’s not optimal.”

“So you like ending at breaks. That’s not weird.”

“I’m not finished. I also like the chapter to be an even number, unless it’s divisible by five. I actually prefer that even though it may not be even.”

“Well, that’s not too weird, I guess.”

“I’m still not finished.” She looked wary, but motioned for me to continue. “I also like it if the chapter break is on an even numbered page, or, again, a page number divisible by five.” She was looking slightly worried now, but I had to press on, “So the absolute best scenario is that I come to a chapter break with an even chapter number divisible by five also on an even page number divisible by five. Like, chapter 20 begins on page 100. I could easily stop there.” Maybe this is why I often just read books straight through.

She looked at me for a long moment and said, “I love you anyway.” She has never brought it up again. She clearly doesn’t understand that I’m the victim here.

But getting back to the Bottle Caps. I know I’m not OCD because I don’t always set them out in neat lines sorted by flavor. Sometimes I stack them in perfectly neat columns (by flavor) instead.

© Leighton Brown and Stories Now Told, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Leighton Brown is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Leighton Brown and Stories Now Told with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. For more information, please see the Copyright page.

About leighton

I could be considered a true Renaissance Man after having a long and storied (seriously, people actually tell stories about it) college experience and varied careers. I am also a shameless self-promoter (who did you think was writing this anyway?) who is prone to flights of fancy, an abundance of passion on any given subject, ,obsessive behavior, spontaneous storytelling (whether anyone listens or not), and making parenthetical references. I would also be thrilled if I heard someone use the word "raconteur" to describe me.
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7 Responses to Down with OCD?

  1. SynLar says:

    A little OCD maybe 😉

    My sister sorts out all the blue m&ms, and no else is allowed to eat them. Not she either until all the other colors are eaten…

  2. Terry says:

    I know what you mean about the books. I get the same way (though possibly not to the same extent. I prefer my breaks/chapters to end on pages numbered in multiples of ten.) And I know that a great number of people sort their candy before eating it, lol. I wonder if it’s exclusively linked with any other behaviors.

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