Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Color me weird

Is it a habit or an obsession? Is it an obsession or a superstition? My life is filled with gray areas between these three behavioral disorders.

Am I avoiding that crack in the sidewalk because that's what I do every day, or am I really afraid of breaking my mother's back? It would be nice to use the excuse that I don't want to get the heel of my pump stuck in there. Plus, it would simply be fun to own some pumps. I digress.

Do I really think wearing the same 1979 Styx concert t-shirt and sitting on the same part of the couch to watch the game will help my team win again? Should I avoid lima beans today because my horoscope instructed this, or because I have an obsessive aversion to their God-awfulness? Should I be concerned that I forgot my lucky bus pass? Wait, I think that's different.

I decided to gauge my obsessive/compulsive/superstitiousness yesterday morning, just to see how freaky-strange my behavior truly is. Here's a timeline:

6:42—showered. The shower routine is a strange one. Either I robotically de-contaminate myself in exactly the same sequence of soaping and rinsing, or I stare blankly at the corner of the stall, like that kid at the end of the Blair Witch Project.

6:53—got dressed, in the same order as every morning since I wore Underoos: underwear, right sock, left sock, jeans, shirt, right shoe, left shoe. I once read in a novel about Afghanistan that many people consider it bad luck to put on your left shoe first, so I'm even more conscious of shoe-donning order.

7:00—poured cereal, filling the bowl two-thirds to the top, then pouring milk for a count of two. I must read something while eating cereal; anything will do. I read the bottom of a Kleenex box once. Check it out, there's writing down there.

7:07—took an assortment of pills, including vitamins C, D, a multivitamin, fish oil and a Claritin, washing them all down with black coffee and gagging slightly. I'm not sure why I feel compelled to swallow them all at once, but I do derive a twisted sense of pride from this ritual, and I suppose it could be a useful skill if I ever go to prison.

7:15—left the house and got into my truck. Before starting the engine, I always pull up my socks. Why? I think it goes back to the 70s, when showing any calf above your tube socks was a Class C Felony.

I'll stop here, since I've probably conveyed the true predictability of my behavior, as it occurs over a 33-minute interval on any given morning. Is this my way of coping with an unpredictable world? Maybe. Is it because my mother's Irish heritage passed along a large dose of superstition? Maybe.

But whatever the reason, I need to go now because it's 8:38, and I don't want to miss my peeing time slot.

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