About Me

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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
"No, really!"

My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Schizophrenia (the Weather's) and Other Assorted Ailments (My Own)

I started the day giddy. Ebullient. I walked my miles in an environment that did not include winds sufficient to tear my limbs from my body. No rain splattered me. When the sky began to lighten, I could tell there wasn't a cloud in it. An hour later, I left for work and my pea coat felt a bit much. Hmmm . . maybe the cute Sgt. Pepper's jacket could soon exit the coat closet!

The morning continued to be lovely. In the first e-mail exchanged, I confessed to nearly weeping as I drove to work in the spring. My phones jangled like they have not done in a very long time. It's obvious Mr. and Mrs. Las Vegas are thinking "spring cleaning time". I booked jobs until hell wouldn't have me any more and this thrilled me to the extent that I repeatedly radioed David to tell him that's what I was doing. Home dudes were so busy that every one of my war wagons was out on the road well utilized.

Across the period of one short hour, it all changed. The sun went, the clouds came. The rain came down in sheets. David appeared for a short while and we simply shook our heads at one another. Will it ever end? Is there some force of nature that has it in for our small carpet cleaning business?

The wind presented itself for a change. Its short absence obviously revitalized it. It sucked two gigantic sets of double doors in-and-out, in-and-out until I finally had to lock them. All of my paperwork threatened to be torn out the door and flung across Las Vegas.

The shingles on my barn roof began to flap just as the crabby Mr. and Mrs. Las Vegas emerged from beneath their bridge in order to dial my number. But they didn't flap loudly enough to drown out some really rude comments flung over the phone at me. My best e-mailing buddy flew off the radar for awhile and I was working myself into a snit. One doesn't want to contemplate me when I am being skunked at work by the weather again.

First, I paced. I tried to find music that would soothe rather than agitate. I pulled out some old, daunting, problem files to occupy me. Nothing worked well. I was working myself into a spin and I decided to try something. I sometimes use a set of mindfulness skills to decompress. Some of the activities can include "stop and feel your ribcage move as you breathe" or "look upon yourself right now to see just exactly what you are doing". I looked upon myself to see what I was doing . . . and I burst into a donkey laugh. For I was doing exactly what I do each and every day at a particular time. What the heezy else would I be doing? It made me want to challenge the bloggers to chime in on something that amuses me.

I like to laugh. I like to laugh at people. The person I like most to laugh at is me. I am made up of warts and bumps and scars and bruises and I am laughable. Some of my flaws don't need to be aired in my blog, but some of my obsessive compulsive stuff is funny. Occasionally I try to make deals with myself to try something different or break the cycle in some way, but mostly - if the behavior is not harmful - I'm really OK with being the OC nut job that I am.

So here's the challenge to the bloggers: Share something in my Comment section that you do obsessively for no good reason and that you really don't have much control to change. What is it that you do that makes you the quirky one you are?

Here's mine: This is what I was doing when I looked upon myself this morning. Of course it's what I was doing ~ it was 10:00! Every day of life I eat a cucumber. At precisely 10:00. Cut with the same knife, cut with the same series of knife strokes, cut in exactly the same way. I put a precise amount of red wine vinegar on the cucumber slices and apply the precise number of twists to the sea salt grinder. Could I eat a cucumber at 9:45 or 10:15? Certainly. But I'd still eat the one at 10:00.

The sun has returned. The wind has remained. The phones started up again. It's only Wednesday and this will already go down as our best week of the year so far. I stressed, I laughed, and I was reminded how funny we are ~ myself and those I like to connect with. All will be well.

In my ears right now: An old favorite! I wish I danced like Mellencamp. Alas, I do not.

Something that charmed me: Pinky and Blaze have a new sister. Meet Little Red.


  1. @ Kirk ~ A little bit tightly wound are we, my friend? ;~} I know one of your most endearing ones is that tendency to apologize in writing for every typo you make!

  2. I'm not aware of my little compulsivities. My family tells me that sometimes they had my home grown pizza recipe for 2-3 weeks in a row, other times it was burritos. I only cook for myself now.

  3. @ Tag ~ Understood, my friend! You've read my words often when I've said "I have a dicey relationship with food." Well, surprise! Many of my OC behaviors are centered around food. I'm lucky to live alone. If I want shepherd's pie every night until the whole container is emptied, guess what? I don't get mad at me. The cats don't care. And they appreciate a steady diet of IAMS.

  4. I can't apologize for any typos now, because I dind't make any

  5. @ Kirk ~ STOP IT! You're making me grin.

  6. Limes, thanks for the chance to laugh at ourselves. I recently realized that, unless I am talking with someone, I count the number of steps in the stairs at school. Not out loud, mind you, but still...I've been climbing to my second floor classroom for several years--and guess what? The number of steps remains constant. Ummm, yeah... But what's wrong with eating the same thing night after night until it's gone? I do it all the time. I never thought of it as OCD--just laziness and disinterest on my part--cooking has to be done so I can eat, it's not a hobbie. (I pack basically the same thing in my lunch day after day too--again, laziness.)

  7. Les - you'd better watch out. My mom has eaten a cucumber sandwich for lunch every day for YEARS....and she's 96. Want to live to be that old?

    I wish I had some slightly normal OCD thing that I did every day, but there is no routine to my OCDness.

  8. I launch into the third person. When my children start to complain about this and that or whatever else it is I have failed to do or done with less than an acceptable standard of care, I talk in the third person, about she who is me.

    'She's late because she forgot to get to the shops in time before they closed and had to go elsewhere.'

    I exaggerate here, but I recommend it. Try it yourself.

    If you feel under pressure, turn yourself in conversation into a fictional character, turn the 'I'' of you, into a 'she' if you are a female, a 'he' if you're a male, and see how they react.

    My children hate it and they love it. It takes the pressure off.

    Thanks, Les, for the detail of your 10 am cucumber obsession.

    I, too, am a creature of habit, but that's another story.

  9. @ Doozy ~ I'm so pleased you hopped on the bus! I agree with you. Some repeated activities are simply routines or actions taken because we're lazy or can't be bothered to do things differently. Sometimes these things are even economical. If I buy the shepherd's pie, why WOULDN'T I eat it every night until it is gone? Why would I throw money away? I am more concerned (regarding myself) when the OC behavior takes on this shine: If I don't [eat the cucumber], something bad will happen. I pay more attention when I'm aware that a behavior has taken on way too much importance than it deserves. And, or course, not all of my OC behaviors are as benign as the damnable cucumber.

  10. @ Kass-erole ~ Maybe the thought of continuing to age 96 will finally break me of that cucumber habit!

    Girlfriend, I know. Some of the OCD stuff can't even be turned into something humorous.

  11. @ Elisabeth ~ Those are good tips for me to try! Thank you. Creatures of habit and harmless routines are OK, I think. I become more concerned about myself, for instance, on the mornings when I drive east along Spring Mountain Road ticking off the rosary beads that go like this: I know I turned off the coffeemaker, I did it when I turned off the lights, Dylan was on the kitchen floor looking at me, I remember the feel of the power button on my fingertip, but if I didn't turn it off the house could burn down, my cats could die, I need to make a U-turn here and go back to check.

  12. i track my gas mileage. every tank. i don't write it down, but i monitor it. this started when i had a small car that got 45-50 mpg. that was 2 cars ago! the car went, the compulsion stayed.

  13. @ SOMH ~ Ha! Now that's one of those I'd get huffy and defensive, like "What's wrong with that?" For the 15 years I worked for the union, I had to keep track of every kind of expense: meals, hotels, airline tickets, rental cars, entertaining, and more. I did it for about 10 years after I left the union, as well. Required by no one and not particularly useful, even to me.