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.
www.patient.co.uk 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