Saturday, July 14, 2018

Too Old to OCD

Here we are, flying across the Atlantic again. Our 13th Trip is behind us so I’m not waiting for anything to go wrong again. I know it will but I’m a little more insouciant about it now.

If you count all the times I have done this flight, including those without my wife, I have done this trip 17 and a half times (the one-half being that time I came over to England and never returned) so there is very little to surprise me anymore.

Traditionally, I get through a flight by bitching about each of the segments—taxi to airport, security song and dance, waiting for our flight—but I just don’t have the energy for that these days.

Overall, it’s been a sort of loose trip. We packed, but not as carefully and meticulously as usual. I only got the cases down two days before we had to leave, and we sort of threw things we thought we’d need into them. And none of my usual “going to America” rituals came into play.

It’s not that I don’t want to go, which I don’t—I would happily have stayed in the UK this week to enjoy the glorious and nearly-as-hot-as-New-York weather—but I’m getting sick of being sick of the effort it takes to get there. All the moaning about the inconveniences and the delays and the food and… I simply can’t muster up any enthusiasm for that.

Therefore, I’m just going along with it, without all the rituals I used to employ to help pass the time and assure a safe flight. I’m still doing some of the rituals, but that’s because, in cases like this, they are truly important.

I recently found out they call this behaviour “Magic Thinking,” where a person thinks, “If I do such and such, then this bad thing won’t happen, or this good thing will happen.” I was surprised; it’s not magic, it works. Every time I fly I wear my lucky underwear and we have never crashed. What more proof do you need?

But, overall, being OCD takes a lot of effort and, these days, I can’t be arsed Oh, I’m still OCD, just not as much as I used to be.

I know there are cans in the cupboard with the labels turned to face the back or, heaven forbid, stacked upside down, but I don’t have the desire to set them right. You know, with the labels facing forward and right-side-up, as God intended.

Over the years, many spreadsheets have fallen by the wayside. I used to keep track of how much I exercised, what I ate, all the movies and plays I went to and all the places I have lived. That final spreadsheet came complete with a coding system comparing things like cost, porch, access to amenities, size, storage and location. These ratings were automatically run through a formula the produced a Quality of Life indicator. I no longer understand the coding system, or the formula. Other spreadsheets had similar systems that I no longer understand, and almost all of them had charts and graphs. I must have spent half my day updating spreadsheets to quantify what I was doing the other half of the day.

But my flight rituals, they’re important. Mainly because—as we have just discovered—they work. The underwear is the one people know about, because my wife knows, and we joke about it with friends. But there are others, those that other people do not know about. They are the true talismans. Because they work. But that’s about as OCD as I care to be these days.

I continue to keep meticulous track of our finances, even though I don’t really want to. I can’t put that aside, however, because it’s required (taxes, royalties, and all that). Likewise, I keep a spreadsheet of every book I have ever read but that’s also necessary because, well, they’re books I’ve read. I mean, you have one too, don’t you?

I never went to therapy for my OCD. I never needed to. I was comfortable with it, and it served me well, and now that it doesn’t it has fallen by the wayside. I now spend a lot more time doing things and a lot less time keeping track of them. And I don’t go through as many mandatory rituals.

But I still put on my lucky underwear every time I fly.

This is my 9th post of 2018. Above is a graph comparing post quantities from previous years.
What makes you think I'm OCD?