If I have an OCD, it’s putting things away. I’m not much of a cleaner, but I’m a tidier par excellence.
Once, when I was about 9 or 10, my mom, step-dad, little brother and I were driving through San Francisco in our van. It was a big outing for us and of course, we were probably fighting like crazy. I may be imagining that, but I doubt it. Anyway, we were in the middle of the city, crossing an intersection and got creamed by another car. Me and my little brother were thrown around the back. There weren’t any seats back there, just us and all our stuff and now it was all over the place.
I don’t think anyone checked to see if we were okay. I think my step-dad got out of the van and started yelling and threatening people. He was a pretty violent person, so that’s how he dealt with everything. My mom started crying. I don’t know what my little brother was doing. I started straightening. Amid the tumult and madness, I put things away.
I don’t believe that was the first time I’ve asserted personal control over an out of control situation like that, but it was pivotal. It was probably a tipping point where that tidying behaviour became ingrained. I only wish that there had been actual cleaning involved. Instead, it was straightening things up over the top of a layer of dirt or muck. Even now, when I look around, things are arranged, but rarely dusted. The kitchen counter is scrubbed (and arranged), but the floor — hey, I’m 6′ tall and it’s out of sight / out of mind.
So, I haven’t unpacked yet, but I will. I can’t help it.
What’s your OCD?
Susan Scot Fry
Update… I unpacked immediately after this post. 🙂
Gotta love me!
Buddhists have a tradition called sweeping. It’s meditation in motion. The illustrating story is of a woman who sweeps the temple steps every day. I believe my tidying has elements of that meditative practice.