Some days it feels as though it is nonstop OCD. It’s like I get on a roll and start having OCD accidents or incidents one after another. I supposed Freud would say there are no accidents, and subconsciously I want these things to happen. It is hard to imagine that this is true, but I could believe that my senses are severely impaired from sleep deprivation. Whatever the case, it hardly seems worth the effort to get out of bed because I do nothing but spray my hands and arms with alcohol and wipe down sundry objects.
Take today. When I took my break at work, I decided to use the time to run to a nearby gas station and fill up my car. As is my custom, I used a fold-top plastic sandwich bag as a pseudo-glove to unscrew the gas cap and hold the pump. I have always wondered if anyone sees me with my hand ensconced in a bag or if someone is watching on the cameras. It doesn’t bother me much, but today I became abruptly aware of the peculiarity of my situation when someone walked up to me and asked if I had change for a dollar. I had just spent most of my coins a couple of days before, so I could truthfully answer that I did not have change. He looked as if he was caught up in his own problems, and I don’t think he noticed the baggie, but I was flushed with self-consciousness.
It is true that I had no control over being approached by another person, but then I drove back to work, parked the car, and got out, locked the door and instantly realized that I had locked my purse in the car. Most of the time on my breaks I go out and sit in my warm car and read taking only my car key with me. It was good that I had the key in my hand, but I had nothing but my bare hand to open the door and retrieve my purse. My break time was up, so I had to make a quick decision. I didn’t want to leave my purse in there unattended for even three minutes while I ran into the office to grab a tissue. I also did not want to explain to anyone in the office why I was coming in just to get a tissue. So I had to contaminate my car key by putting it in the lock, then I sullied my pinky finger by using it to touch the door handle. After getting my purse, I had to walk back in taking great care not to touch my pinky finger to anything else, and then go through my usual sanitizing routine.
If that were all for the day, I would consider it par for the course. Most days have at least one such incident, but this was one of those extra special OCD days. Later that day I was retrieving my face powder from my purse for that afternoon touchup, and the container slipped from my fingers to the floor. It was too late in the day to try to go through an elaborate cleaning ritual for an object like that, so I picked it up with a baggie and then pulled the baggie inside out around it. (It’s a handy little trick.) I have learned from experience that things have a way of falling out of what are supposed to be protective containers (i.e., containers that protect my hands), so I double-bagged it and stashed it in my purse to take home and deal with it there.
Even that was not enough for the day. Next I knocked my alcohol spray bottle off my desk onto the floor. I would rather knock down just about anything else because what do I use to clean my alcohol bottle? I have to resort to using the tiny spray bottle I carry in my purse, but that is inconvenient.
And I wasn’t quite done for the day. I was reaching across my desk to grab my water bottle, and my shirt brushed against the drawer that I had forgotten to close all the way. This is not a good situation when I am wearing short sleeves as I knew I would have a hard time keeping my bare arm away from my newly contaminated shirt. I did spray alcohol on my shirt one time, but it was minutes, literally minutes later – I am extremely absent-minded – when my arm touched the spot. I did not even try to go through the spraying routine. I would have had to alternate between spraying my arm and my shirt for hours in order to feel clean. I decided to wait till I got home and wiped my arm only while holding it carefully out away from my shirt. Then I rolled my shirt up from the bottom to safely remove it.
What a day.