Everyone knows the old joke that “It couldn’t have been a person with OCD who termed the disorder because the letters would have been in alphabetical order.” Had a person with OCD been in charge, those with the disorder would be labeled as those that require a world where “Everything Is Properly Sorted.” Alphabetical order, see how easy that was?
I think we all have a touch of OCD, some things are important to some that aren’t to others. Some require an immaculate house with vacuum lines on all the carpeting, all the time. Some require tool boxes with little cut outs so each tool can be put back where it belongs. I’m a freak about some things: all the glasses and cup handles face the same direction and are in straight rows, food labels face front, my faucets are shiny, but there are piles of papers everywhere. That’s the way in my world. I’m sure every one of us could find something within themselves that would be classified as teetering on the edge of OCD.
No one in our house is quite as bad as Spice. I’ve never been around anyone like her. From the time she was an infant and able to point, she would sit in her crib and point at open dresser drawers and closet doors and not go to sleep until they were closed. I don’t mean that the drawers were hanging all the way open even, they just weren’t firmly shut. Apparently that was not right in Spice’s world.
From the time she could crawl, she’d spend oodles of time sorting shoes, she’s pair them up and somehow knew that the left shoe would go on the left, the right on the right. She would spend hours organizing and reorganizing the hall closet where we kept the shoes. I could visit with friends, chat on the phone and never worried about what mischief she might be getting into. Now that I’m thinking of it, I wonder if that says she has a shoe fetish, or an organizational one? Hm.
She always kept her old bedroom fairly neat, everything was in little bins, books went on the bookshelf, frogs went on the frog shelf. The doll stuff would go in the doll corner and the stuffed animals went into the big bucket. She had her own sense of order and enjoyed putting things back together. Granted, she was little and it wasn’t always perfect, but she gave it a hell of a shot. It seemed to almost give her physical pain if someone came in and messed her stuff up.
Now that we are in the new house and the girls have their own playroom, she delights in cleaning. She’ll spend hours sorting and organizing, ending with sweeping with a little dust broom to ensure she got every bit of dirt off the floor. Don’t get me wrong, a mama can go into the playroom and have heart failure, wondering when the tornado came through exactly, but once she starts a clean-up project, she doesn’t stop until it’s done.
I was recently upset when I tried to put clean clothes in her dresser and opened the drawers to find them jammed with piles of unfolded clothes. I yelled and she said, “Leave the clean stuff on the top, I’ll fix it tomorrow.” Sure, I thought, but I did what she wanted. The next day, I took a peek and wanted to know who let the Gap Store clerk come in and fix her dresser. It was immaculate. Everything was sorted and folded like it was displayed in a store: long-sleeved shirts in one pile, short sleeves in another. Pants drawer had a pile of jeans, another of plain leggings, another of patterned leggings, one of skirts and shorts.
Remember, this is the same girl who asked Santa for a nightstand and her grandmother for a floral arrangement to display on it… What six-year-old wants stuff like that?
I find her behavior endearing and very cute right now, but I can imagine as she gets older, that shit’s going to suck. OCD teenager having a bad hair day? God help me.
On Sunday the girls came with me to pick up my prescriptions at the local grocery store. As we were leaving, Spice noticed that some aisles have letters and asked why. I told her that's how people find things. They could say to the person working in the store, "Where would I find deodorant?" and the person would tell them, "Aisle A." Spice thought about it and said, "Shouldn't deodorant be in Aisle D?"