Only Human After All
You’re familiar with the terms perfectionistic, orally fixated, anally retentive, obsessive-compulsive, right? Well, we all have our little idiosyncrasies. Yours truly is no exception. Most of us manage to cope and avoid a visit to the funny farm, of course, but our little quirks may give us (and others) pause for thought on occasion.
For instance, my husband used to call me a raccoon because I washed everything; even a measuring cup that had held only water went into the suds. Even today I still rinse dishes before placing them in the dishwasher. Except for the mutt and the cat I live alone these days so the dishwasher runs only about once a week. (No matter what the manufacturers claim I have yet to find dishes with a week’s worth of dried crud on them to come out of the dishwasher squeaky clean without pre-rinsing.)
As for housekeeping, unless I’m expecting company (when I do turn into a frenzied cleaning freak) I can tolerate dust on the tabletops and dust bunnies under the chairs as long as the furniture and floor remain free of any clutter such as magazines, dirty clothes, shoes, junk mail, etc—at least for a while. After all, even the worst housekeeping backslider can take only so much dirt and disorder.
When it comes to hanging pictures, however, I could make Martha Stewart look like Homer D. Poe’s bumbling apprentice. The entire project becomes an exercise in precision engineering calling for a tape measure and often a ruler and yardstick as well. Every picture must be perfectly centered on the wall or equally spaced and balanced within a collection. There’s a pencil (to mark the determined location), the correct type of hanger (nail, bull dog hook, etc.—even a sewing needle on occasion), a hammer and, of course, a level. The whole process can be tedious and painstaking but—Dang!—when done it’s a masterpiece of composition.
Until recently I would round up the gas pump total to the nearest ten-cent increment. No more. Gas prices being what they are today I’ve learned to tolerate the odd numbers registered on the pump screen and to drive less.
I also count stair steps (mentally), both going up and coming down. As for that old superstition, “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back”— I gave up worrying about that a long time ago. After all, I am an adult. Well, most of the time, anyway. Besides, my brain has enough to do dealing with me as it is.
A Little Buggy
In view of this you may think that I can be a little out of joint or perhaps even a bit obsessive-compulsive when it comes to keeping a fairly well-ordered life. You could be right. But something happened the other day that could give even Felix Unger a complex.
My friends Marla, Anita, and I met for dinner at a southwest-style restaurant. Having had a really frustratingly bad day—another major hassle with my computer, the bane of my existence—I made sure the first thing I did was place a rush order for a nice big Margarita. Marla and Anita followed suit. The three of us sat and chatted for about two hours as we stuffed ourselves with corn chips and salsa, soft tortillas and queso, tortilla soup, refried beans, chicken quesadillas, and sopapillas with honey and chocolate sauce. By now even my computer wasn’t bugging me. Life is good.
The Tipping Point
Then came the checks. Each of us checked the totals, figured the tips, and inserted our credit cards into the pockets of the check folders. Then it happened. Anita had second thoughts and decided she should increase the tip. Now Anita is a dear, kind-hearted soul who wouldn’t consciously do anything to offend anyone. But her concern for others can seem a bit over the top. She said she wanted to make the total on her card to be an even number. But this made the amount of the tip uneven, so to round off that amount she placed an extra penny in the check folder so our waiter wouldn’t think she was skimping on the tip.
By now I was agog and my mind was a-boggle. “And I thought I was obsessive-compulsive,” I teased. Anita giggled. Seriously, though, I think Marla and I need to toughen Anita up a bit before her kindness kills her— or she ends up in some serious therapy. There a penny for one’s thoughts (and second ones) could add up to big bucks. Rounding up that total could max out anyone’s credit card—with or without a tip!
© 2012 The Wit’s End Scribbler