Thursday, 10 December 2009


Polka dots. Originally, I thought the background design for my blog was a wise choice. Simple, clean and modest wallpaper; it’s not too distracting from the copy of the main blog and the absence of garish colours is refreshing.

Until I notice the sporadic spacing of the dots themselves. At first glance it would appear that the green polka dots, set against the cream backdrop, run in sets of three. Do you see?

I feel my eyebrows knot into one another as my concentration rises and my eyes bore into the computer screen. THERE IS NO CORRELATION IN THE WAY THE GREEN POLKA DOTS ARE POSITIONED ON THE WALLPAPER. The designer has just sprinkled them willy nilly. This is worsened by cruel trickery – because some of the dots are clustered in an ordered fashion, you are given a false sense of security that the wallpaper indeed, has a logical pattern. It is only on further inspection that you notice the sheer sloppiness of the design.

Pfft. I don't feel like blogging now, wretched thing. Why can’t they all run in sets of three??

Saturday, 5 December 2009


Everyone has idiosyncratic behaviours of course. I think I just have 90% more than the average person. You could be so laid back you’re horizon but I bet you they’ll be something that’ll make you tick. I couldn’t possibly cite the reasons behind the habits, niggles, irritations and compulsions.

I could lie to conceal the fact I’m actually mental, but it’d be tricky to justify why all the labels of my cosmetics have to be facing to the left... and probably make me sound more nuts.

My housemate thinks it’s a self-indulgent disorder, perpetuated by my reluctance to temper it. The world is unlikely to end if the kitchen floor is not mopped, apparently, but I’m not willing to take the risk. Besides, I need my sleep.

Unfortunately OCD doesn’t permeate into the pocket of my life where it would thrive and benefit most - academia. Providing the books on my desk are piled in size order (large to small) and at an angle I find acceptable I can break off my work mid-sentence. But vacuuming only half of a room would be unimaginable. These are not priorities I can control.

Friday, 4 December 2009


There’s no logical pattern to it. No theme to the madness. No correlation in the bizarre rituals that litter my daily routine. I’m quite blind to the array of discarded shampoo bottles strewn across the bathroom, yet when the cap isn’t placed back on the toothpaste I have been known to throw myself on the floor wailing. The only tea towel I cannot touch is the red one. But the red coffee cup is the lucky one.

The smell of bleach comforts me but I sneeze at the smell of soap. In London I have to get the tube to get from location to location.... I balance myself precariously in the middle of the carriage (my legs have to be fairly apart to do this) without touching a single thing. No seat, no window no surface. Try sustaining that for half an hour, it’s like being on a surf simulator except the ocean is the putrid scum of a grimy city. I can sit quite happily on buses though...?

The obsessive compulsive’s sphere is not penetrable one; it’s laden with contradictions. If you weren’t a fanatic yourself you’d get lost in the paradoxes of it. Yes, even Alice eventually made sense of Wonderland but, as she had various guides, here I am.


The unthinkable just happened. I’m taking the bin out - through the kitchen, through the living room, out onto the landing and downstairs. Upon my return from the wheelies I notice a trail of putrid, pungent potent matter in my wake.. Sweet Jesus. It then takes me an hour to get the gunk out of the carpet. I feel like Hansel or Gretel following the trail. Pieces of bread I wish it were, but BIN JUICE?! Trauma.

My housemate Dan shouted at me last night to stop moving his shoes. He’s a skater. I calmly stated my case. I don’t move them, I simply but them together, reunite them as a pair, and one is always on the other side of the room to the other. He told me he’s planning on bringing the contents of his room downstairs and dumping it all on my favourite easy-chair so I shut my gob. It reminds me of the time my friend Katy and her brother were having a full blown argument on the middle of Porthmeor beach. In front of everyone he shouts that she better watch out or he’ll creep into her room in the middle of the night and smear baked bean juice on her upper lip; that the smell will be the first thing to hit her when she awakes, probably contaminating her duvet and sheets throughout the restless night. She consequently shut the hell up. Everyone has their fears don’t they…?


I’ll give you an overview. I eat standing up – the quicker I can consume food (integral to survival or I’d take a rain check) the quicker I can wash my plate, the quicker it will be clean and slot back into its life with the other plates on the shelf, equilibrium restored. I drink coffee in one go if there’s no coaster (most of the instances people think I’m mental are just caffeine induced trips.)

Candles are dotted around my room, and incense; pretty, domestic girly objects, but they’ll never be lit – why would I want to do that when they can remain untouched and clean? They are mere props to support the farce that I’m an ordinary functioning 24-year-old human being. I sellotape wires down. You know the ones, they protrude from your computer, your sound system your lamps, all have to be either hidden under the bed, or under tables or selotaped down to minimise the clutter.

My housemates don’t wear rubber gloves to wash up and I’m incredulous. Bare hands? BARE HANDS? It’s as serious as someone not wearing a condom or something, and I shudder at the thought. There’s a reliable stock of around 3 pairs under the sink now, last week the left hand glove got perforated by the apple corer I was cleaning and filled swiftly with dirty water. A back up is always needed or I’m faced with going to bed leaving a half-done job and sleep does not come easy.

Now I’ll attempt to dilute the drama queen approach – I wouldn’t say my OCD is outstanding, extraordinary or a textbook case. But tendencies, I’ve always had. And recently they’ve been getting worse…

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


I dont like crumbs. I dont like dirt. I dont like mess. I like clean floors. I dont like toasters because they create crumbs. I like cif. I don’t like fluff. I like kitchen roll I like cling film I like tin foil. I don’t care about recycling. I don’t like beetroot, soy sauce or tea. They all stain.

It’s about control apparently, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Trying to control something when other compartments of your life are in somewhat of a flux - and taking it to the extreme. If I had anorexia at least I’d be thin right? What does obsessive-compulsive disorder do for you? Alienates your friends and family and fucks everyone off at parties. Whoop! Well you do have surfaces you could eat your dinner off I suppose, but I doubt you’d want to do that.

Now the people I live with aren’t particularly messy or unclean; the battle I have with the kitchen floor every night is solely between him and me. That bastard. Moreover, I wouldn’t want them to get involved, I don’t think it’s safe, dragging them in to our nightly domestic battles... 8pm comes, everyone’s eaten, I’ve washed up and I’ve mopped.

Yet early the next morning I’m like a moth to a flame - I can spot the dirt. One tiny piece of onion shaving (did I miss that the previous might or was the kitchen floor hiding it from me to reveal it later and then revel in my anguish?) a ball of fluff, toast crumbs, pools of coffee. Where? What? How? I can mop it and mop it and it’ll never remain perpetually flawless. “Work with me, for once, come on” I want to scream, as the kitchen floor seems to smile up at me: the undefeated. “Jess it is impossible to maintain a polished floor” my mum recently offered by way of support. Pfft. I’ll show her. cites Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as “a common mental health problem. Symptoms typically include recurring obsessive thoughts, and repetitive compulsions in response to the obsession. A common example is recurring obsessive thoughts about germs and dirt, with a compulsion to wash your hands repeatedly to "clean off the germs". However, there are many other examples” Heavy. Now I’m not here to mock or poke fun at this debilitating condition. I’m not about to claim I had contracted it full tilt. It’s a serious issue and as a nation we do tend to blow things out of proportion a smidge.

People get peckish around 1ish and declare they are “absolutely starving.” Well, they’re not really are they? They don’t live in a third world country they just need to walk 500 metres to the canteen. Your Aunt Janice will screech at the top of her voice when a spider emerges from the plughole. Hardly an all-consuming fear of bugs now is it? She’ll get Uncle Jez to flush the little fella down the loo and she’ll enjoy a relaxing Radox bath - life continues. Soul destroying arachnophobia it isn’t.

We like labels, they save us, and we use them to rationalise our idiosyncrasies to others and ourselves. The ménage a trios between the kitchen floor, the mop and me, my housemate cites as procrastination and tells me to get started on my contextual analysis work most nights, to which I regress to my 14 year old ‘emo’ stage and whisper “You just don’t understand me.”

In all seriousness I’m an unusual medium. I wouldn’t say I need medical attention on the double, nor would I say this compulsion for order monopolises my life. But I’m not normal, and the obsessive-compulsive tendencies have been the devil on my shoulder since I was about 12.

NB: I DO care about recycling, just not as much as my desire to eschew clutter