Things I am a bit OCD about

This is a work in progress, but here are a few things to start:

1) BEING LEFT BEHIND

One day in Grade 1 it was time for our weekly swimming lesson at our school’s pool. The rest of the class had all got up and left but Mrs Bowl announced I had to wait behind because I hadn’t finished some piece of work. And only once that was completed could I follow the rest of the class. As I sat alone in the classroom ripping through that work as fast as I could I remember feeling my bladder in a state of collapse with all my fretting at being left behind. Now I think about it maybe even a tiny bit of pee came out. It was a horrible feeling and to this day I am disproportionately agitated by being late or not getting somewhere as quickly or efficiently as possible.

Oakleigh State School — my second school

2) SEATING*

Just like Wild Bill Hickok — I cannot stand sitting at a restaurant facing a wall. Although I am not so worried about getting shot in the back, it’s more to do with the fact I need the visual stimulation and to “people watch” and just maybe a tiny bit of claustrophobia thrown in there.

3) UPON LEAVING A MOVIE THEATRE

When the credits come on and it’s time to leave and you are walking slowly amidst your fellow movie-goers and if someone says to me, “So what did you think?” I just cringe! I hate it. It’s not the question — it’s just I hate having everyone there suddenly being privy to my opinion of the film. Cause saying the perfunctory,”yeah it was good” is, well, “perfunctory” and just forced and bullshit. UGH. And plus I can walk out of theatre being entertained and  thoroughly distracted for that 80 minutes so the answer — “yeah it was good” might be just be the answer to the question of was I “entertained” and “distracted”. But then upon greater consideration I just might be appalled by the experience — see Prometheus.

Yeah I think/worry too much. I know.

4) FANS

I like having a fan on when I am sleeping. I like the hum and the gentle breeze. Maybe it feels like I am camping or hints at some primal throwback of sleeping rough. I dunno. I don’t really care. I just like my fan. (It also masks a lot of noise and thus I can sleep through the neighbour’s party or the street-sweeper roaring past.)

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I think most people have what I call a “sleep idiosyncrasy”. I have known people who can’t sleep unless the blankets are pulled over their heads, others who can’t stand someone touching them while asleep and at least one person who has a special pillow-case that she took with her even when travelling.

5) BAKED BEANS

Can’t stand them. They make me gag. No idea why.

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6) BEING SEEN IN PUBLIC WITH MY MUM

It was nothing against my mum — it was just because us together were so OBVIOUS. So when I was a kid I hated being seen in public with my mum because I imagined everyone knew we were related — not just cause of the age difference, but because we had the exact same coloured hair — bright red. And I hated people knowing something about me and thus judging me. I was a lot more obsessed about privacy in those days. I remember meeting mum in the city once and we had to walk down Pitt Street and I purposely walked a few metres away from her.

Nowadays I really don’t give a shit, but I still don’t like being conspicuous in public.

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7) PEEING IN PUBLIC

I hate getting my wang out in social situations. Most people would agree with me on this abstraction. But any public toilet I would argue is a “social situation”. I have had enough epic battles with my little fella just willing him to work (no matter how busting I was) whilst standing shoulder-to-shoulder with randoms. So I refuse to do it anymore: I pee in private. That’s just how I roll. (Get over it).

*BONUS: “SEATING ARRANGEMENTS”

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Just quietly — if the “Last Supper” happened the way Da Vinci painted it — it would have been a rather dull evening. Jesus would only really be able to talk to those right next to him and similarly everyone else on either side further and further down would have the same affliction. It would have been a fucking social disaster but I guess everyone was focussed on other things and not really talkative so possibly actually inspired.

And similarly I couldn’t understand why in Happy Days (and a billion other TV shows) that depicted family meals — there was that big empty space at the table so the single camera could get the best view (Happy Days was filmed live). It seemed like no-one wanted their back to the wall — the opposite of that OCD impulse I outlined above.

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Not dinner at the Cunningham family table – but an example of how everyone positioned themselves in Happy Days for the camera

The round table of Arthurian legend would have gone off I think. But although you might think this was the most democratic of seating arrangements — you just might be forgetting that the round table itself might be shoved over in a corner making certain seats facing the walls far less pleasing than those that enjoyed a more generous aspect.

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This is Dee and my dad’s cousin in Winchester UK looking at the “Round Table” in 2009.

And this is my point. Looking out into the room, being able to see everything, and yes, not having anyone able to creep up behind you, is the ideal seating position.

RANKING

So I might just pretend I know what I am talking about and attempt to rank the optimum positions at a table.

The prime position is right in the middle (one thing the Last Supper was right about) and facing out. It’s the centre of attention, has the most conversational opportunities, and — as previously stated — has the view in case the conversation is incredibly boring.

On either side of this position are almost as important but conversely — the position across (even though this means you are facing a wall) gets points as well (for the conversational opportunities).

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PITFALLS

And here is a situation I would like you all to consider. So you arrive early for a group dinner and you are faced with the conundrum of an empty table. Where do you sit?

For “introverts”: 

Problem #1 If you sit at the end that would expose you as, at worst: anti-social or at best: a newspaper-hoarding/cat-talking recluse.

Problem #2 If you are first on the scene you are supposed to guard the table and sitting at the table’s extremities is doing it wrong! I know this is not actually necessary with civilisation and the reservation system but we all know civilisation is pretty fragile and not claiming a table with any purpose looks bad when everyone else arrives.

For “extroverts”

Problem #1 If you take the best position you have to bring it on. If you are gonna come early and stake the prime real estate but sit there all schtum and depressing you fail. And even if you are gifted in entertaining, you now have pressure to deliver.

Problem #2 You know that the next person to arrive is going to be horribly boring and they will, by necessity, dutifully sit next to you or directly across. So by coming first you could be effectively deciding the whole nature of seating. Quite a cross to bear.

Problem #3 What is this social situation? Do you deserve to be in the middle of the event. Taking any prime positions may mean stepping on toes. Who organisied this occasion? Is it someone’s birthday etc? If you are just a bit player in this event then you might need to rethink your place in this event’s pecking order and if you still think you are worthy enough – well, good luck!

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