Most of my tales are of OCD battering me. This one is how I conquered, not OCD, but a potentially disastrous situation.
My co-worker was having a baby, and the office was throwing a shower for her. I knew months in advance that I would play a large role in arranging the festivities as she and I work on the same team. I was not looking forward to the party for this reason, but the good thing was that I had time to devise a plan to make it a little less painful!
The event was held in the office break room. It is often referred to as the kitchen as it is fully equipped with a refrigerator, microwave, and dishwasher. And a sink – a sink that is home to a scrub brush and sponge that are always embedded with remnants of food. Yuck! As if looking at these items when I have to wash out my teacup (with my own soap and napkins and napkins being used to turn the faucet on and off) isn’t bad enough, that very sponge is used to wipe off all the tables and counters in the break room. (This is someone’s distorted idea of “cleaning.”)
That was the scene of the battle. A room full of germ-infested tables lay before me. (Need I say that I never eat at those tables or touch anything that is left on them?) It was my job to decorate the tables and the walls for the shower. Two other co-workers were helping me with the activities. One pulled out the box holding the supplies from the storage room. I hesitated, then I took the dive in – the point of no return. I wouldn’t be able to touch my arms, face, hair, shirt, or anything at my desk without an intensive cleanup. No one would have been able to tell how repulsed I was by all of this; I put out the tablecloths and tissue paper storks and party favors without flinching. When the festivities started, I hosted a game and I helped the guest of honor with the opening of gifts. I passed out (indeed, I felt like passing out) cake and punch, and when it was over I tossed a bunch of stuff in the garbage. Who would have thought that I was in mental anguish the whole time?
Then the moment I couldn’t wait for. It was all over, and I could go back to my desk to clean up. Here is where the plan came in. It seems as if I would have wanted to go to the sink and do a super-wash, but that would take a long time and draw unwanted attention. Almost as good was a thorough wipe down with alcohol-soaked napkins. What was so great about it was that, to avoid contaminating bottles, handles, containers, and who knows what else, I pre-soaked the napkins before the activities began! I was going to use wet wipes but decided that I could use the napkins for a fraction of the cost and hassle of getting them out of the packages. I left the wet napkins in stacks on my desk and covered them with plastic to keep them from drying out. It did take quite a bit of time to clean both hands methodically, but at least I could do it in the privacy of my cubicle. What a relief when I was done!
I used to think how nice and easy life would be without OCD, but everyone has issues they have to deal with. I am just grateful when I can find ways to cope that make my days a little easier.