I used to work with a man who would arrive every morning, check all four doors of his car to make sure they were locked, then stop halfway to the entrance of our building and return to check his doors again. During the workday he’d also go out and re-check them, just in case sunspot activity, or whatever, made all the locks pop open.
Needless to say, we mocked him unmercifully behind his back. You know, on account of his Crazy-As-Fuck Disorder. We mocked him for other things as well. The dude was serving up hanging curve balls, every day.
In any case, it was clear he was obsessive-compulsive, for real. Not that fake “I am so OCD” bullshit you hear people say all the time. This guy was genuinely on the spectrum. And that’s some good fodder for a bunch of bitter and bored cubicle monkeys.
The thing? I’m a little like that, too. Just a little. I will check my phone fifty times per day to make sure all the notifications are cleared (I can’t tolerate pending notifications), and need to have everything on my desk just so. If someone has been sitting there, I can tell, instantly. The legal pad is 5% askew, or my pens are on the left side of the Post-Its instead of where the universe dictates they must be… It genuinely aggravates me, and makes me feel slightly panicked until order is restored.
Compared to most people, I think, I’m a little particular. I’m also highly aware of what’s going on around me, which is also quite rare. I’m always conscious of other people, and try not to be a hindrance to them. I am the person you want to be behind in line, and the guy you don’t even notice at the grocery store… because I’m not causing anyone problems. It feels like the rest of the world is fairly scattered and oblivious.
Anyway, because of the way I am… I almost never lose things. There’s a special compartment in my brain that never stops doing an inventory. I’m not as wacky as that door-checker in Atlanta, but can sort of understand what drives him.
But over the past two weeks there have been disturbing developments…
Last week I went into Sheetz to buy a Mountain Dew Severe, and it was pandemonium in there. People were ordering food and (this bugs me) all sorts of ludicrous coffee drinks and smoothies that require a blender and a plastic dome lid. So, there weren’t enough employees to go around, which translated into a massive checkout line. Grrr…
I stood there wishing physical harm upon the fancy coffee drink assholes, and waiting for the one cash register guy to deal with all these customers.
Finally I paid, and left the store. And as I was driving away I started doing one of my compulsive checks and re-checks. And I was thrown into a DEFCON 2 situation. My flash drive was gone! I was heading to my super-secret writing lair, and had all my stuff on the seat next to me, situated the way the gods require. But my little orange flash drive — which rides in my right pants pocket — was missing.
My heart began pounding in my chest. The entire memoir that I abandoned is on that thing, as well a bunch of other important stuff. Sure, it’s backed up six ways to sunset, but I still didn’t want it out of my control.
I did a big ol’ illegal U-turn and returned to the Sheetz parking lot. I ripped my car apart, and couldn’t find it. WTF?! I was freaking out, man.
I went inside the store, and there was now nobody waiting to pay. Weird. I asked the older manager-type woman behind the counter if anyone had turned in a flash drive.
“A little orange one?” I pleaded.
“I don’t know anything about it,” she said, clearly not giving a crap one way or the other.
“It’s important. I have to find it.”
“Well, we don’t have it,” she repeated. Thanks for the empathy, bitch.
I walked back toward the Mountain Dew coolers, and there it was, lying in the middle of the floor. Holy shit! There had been an army of people in there. How did nobody pick it up, or accidentally kick it underneath a fixture or something? Wow! My heart was now fully cutting in and out.
I walked past that sturdy softball-pitching manager on my way out, held up the flash drive to her, and said, “Thanks for all your help. You were great!” That’ll show her.
Then, just a couple of nights later… I lost my keys at work. I was going around at the end of the night, making sure everything was locked-down, etc. And while I was walking toward the exit to leave for the day, I did an inventory. And my keys were gone. What the hell, man??
It took me five minutes to find them, which doesn’t sound like much. But when you’re frantically searching for something, five minutes is an eternity. They were on the floor, on the receiving dock, near a wall I didn’t remember walking past. A wave of relief washed over me.
But what is going on? I never lose things, NEVER. And now I’m dropping stuff all willy-nilly, like some bumbling old man? I told Toney about it, and she said, “Obviously, you’re in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.” I think she was joking. I’m almost sure.
And some other weirdness is happening. I took two vacation days earlier in the week, so I had four days off in a row. But I couldn’t sleep. The entire mini-vacation happened inside a fog. I went to bed after midnight every night, thrashed around trying to get comfortable, got up and read for an hour or two, returned to bed and wallowed some more…
I ended up sleeping just three or four hours each night. I never have problems with sleep. I don’t even understand it. When people say they couldn’t sleep last night, I act sympathetic, but am really fighting the urge to roll my eyes.
I had a lot of things I wanted to get done, and it felt like I was subconsciously sabotaging myself. It wasn’t a complete washout, but I wasn’t firing on all cylinders, that’s for sure. It was frustrating, and disappointing. Plus, when I’m really tired, I tend to get depressed. So, that was happening, too.
And last night I returned to work, came home, and slept like an Olympic sleeping champion. So, what the hell?? Am I on Cosmic Candid Camera?
Does any of this resonate with you? Are you experiencing any new problems, or seeing fresh signs that you’re falling apart? Please tell me I’m not the only one? Use the comments link below.
I’ll see most of you guys again tomorrow, and the folks who don’t subscribe to the mailing list for some unfathomable reason… on Monday.
Have yourselves a great day!
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