Thursday, March 06, 2008


(This was inspired by this week's 3WW prompt. The words are: rest, sidewalk, twice)

I check the front and back doors twice. I make sure the refrigerator is closed, as having all my perishables perish is my seventh greatest fear. I check the thermostat, touching it exactly five times. Then before I start upstairs, I look out the front window to make sure there are no burglars lurking in plain sight.

I sprint up the stairs, running from whatever may be chasing me. There are fourteen steps, so I skip exactly four to ensure that it takes me ten steps to reach the top. Ten is good. Ten is my friend. It's not too bad going up. A bit more of a challenge coming down, but of course, nothing's chasing me. Plus, I'm young and insured, and I've only fallen a couple of times.

Once upstairs, I check to see that the iron is unplugged, though I haven't ironed in weeks. I make sure the printer and computer speakers are turned off and that the office chair is pushed underneath the desk. Then I leave the room, completely closing the door behind me.

Next, I do whatever I need to do in the bathroom, with the last thing being to wash my hands with anti-bacterial soap. The bathroom door is always left open. I don't know why this is OK, so don't ask.

Finally, I enter the bedroom, again making certain that the door is shut. I switch the alarm clock to off and back to alarm at least twice, and also check the time. I set the sleep timer on the television for one hour and make sure that the volume is between 15 and 25. Basically, it can be any number which is low enough that it doesn't keep me awake and is not a multiple of thirteen.

On the nightstand, my iPod and Blackberry have to be placed on top of my wallet, and the chapstick tube has to be standing up. The remainder of the nightstand layout is negotiable.

Why do I do all these things? I'll tell you why.

Because there are two kinds of people in this world. Those who skip the cracks in the sidewalk, and those who display a blatant disregard for the karma of the cracks, thus inviting tragedy into their lives and the lives of those they love. So go ahead, laugh it up. Deride, if you must. But at least I can sleep in peace.

Hmm. Did I make sure the candle I haven't burned in three days was out?

"I can't sleep sometimes but I've been told, it's a lonely condition called growing old. Let me stumble sometimes..."


  1. :)

    I have three sets of light switches in my apartment that are dual: one set is for the kitchen/dining room, one for the bathroom light/fan, and one for the hall light/living room. I cannot stand having only one of those switches flipped. Luckily, the hall/living room also have seperate switches, and there is just a light switch on the other side of the bathroom. But if my kitchen light is on, so is the dining room light. And when people come to visit and don't turn the lights on like I do, I sometimes go behind them and do what I want to do with the lights O:)

    I have a blanket with writing on it in the very center that goes on the back of my couch: it has to be folded so the writing all shows and isn't cut off by a fold.

    If someone else "helps" me in the kitchen and doesn't put things where/how I would... I fix it. I need things organized 'just so.'

    I'll never claim to have OCD to the extreme you seem to, but I think we all have our own little "quirks" if you will. Our friends might roll their eyes or laugh at us, but I like to believe that deep down, what makes us weird, err ... unique is what makes them love us.

  2. Even the label had me laughing

    Perishable perishing is your seventh greatest fear?

    You touched on so many things that many of us feel but never admit or can put together so well

    As your tor I have read prior post on your obsessions but none were so succinct or put together so well.

    Now that I have stairs I hope I only do two at a time and don't try to emulate you. When you fell did you hurt yourself? Did your insurance work for you?

    I loved this post--and yes I so believe the part about karma

    Loved the honesty. Bone you are an American original

    Now I have to go back into hiding as I have gone from construction to canceled flight and 12 hours in the airport to construction

  3. I won't tell you which one of these I identified with, the list would be too long, though definitely not all of them. I am so with TC on the light switch thing!

    I leave no interior doors closed unless we have company (well, the bathroom when he's home)
    I hate not hearing what is going on around me.

    And just think of the exercise you are denying yourself by eliminating 4 steps each trip up....

    Did you post this to pull confessions out of us?

  4. That kind of describes my dad to a T. He HAD to check everything twice, thrice, n number of times?

    I think I have inherited few of his quirks.

    OCD? Hell no, Bone. I would call it normal.


  5. At first I was going to assume that this was fiction for 3WW but then I read things that you have mentioned before...this essay builds on what I know about you already.
    Seeing as you are single and have no one to answer to, this doesn't seem all that extreem. However, if you add another human to the equation one of you is going to have to make some compromises or you're going to drive eachother nuts.

    Right now I'm not even sure that I remembered to lock the garage door. I know that last night I wanted to check it, but that the recliner was blocking my view of it. And I'm okay with that...but if DH was here he would have a FIT. I've left the backdoor open in the summer before and he's gone nutso! Actually I think our biggest worry about leaving the backdoor open (there's a screendoor that is closed!) is a neighbor cat coming by and deciding to mark it...eewwwe! It has never happened though, but I know the cats use my backyard as their highway to something.

  6. Not being OCD but knowing a few people who are -- this is an incredibly accurate picture..and I love the "don't ask me why" and "this is okay, it just is" references. I also love how you used sidewalk with the "stepping on the cracks"! Brilliant!

  7. TC: Yeah I don't like having two switches that control the same light. Because one of them is always "wrong" to me. Glad you could relate.

    Pia: Yes. Don't ask what my first six are. Maybe I'll do a post someday.

    Well, I'm definitely original. And I'm pretty sure I'm an American. So, yes, I guess you're right :)

    Thank you. And sorry about your own personal version of Terminal.

    Marcia: Did you post this to pull confessions out of us?

    Haha. Well that wasn't my intention, but I figured people would either relate or think I should be under 24 hour supervision. Or both :)

    I only close the doors when I am ready to lie down. And I think taking two steps at a time is at least as strenuous as one. I'll have to research it and get back with you.

    Gautami: Thank you. It's not often I'm referred to as normal :)

    Renee: I wish it were fiction. I was trying to think of a Seinfeld that dealt with anything like this, but the closest I could come was when the lady at work won't drink after Elaine.

    Your backyard is a major feline thoroughfare. I saw it on

    Sherry: Thank you. That means a lot. Sidewalk was the word that put this idea in my head.

  8. OCD baby! You got it bad!

    Jawana thinks I'm OCD about cleaning, because I like to keep the house spic and span.

    Well, hello, I don't want my house looking like a disaster area. So what if I vaccuum it all 2x and then swiffer it 2x, and clean everything in the bathroom 2x?

    It MUST be clean and disinfected. Right?

    It's a miracle I'm able to hold it together when we throw parties like Superbowl and such... when there are 30 adults and a dozen kids running around the place...

    Ok cya later. Gotta go clean something.

  9. Wow! Great job! I recognize some of these 'jobs' in my own life - circling the block twice to make sure I shut the garage door and wondering if the coffee pot is still going. Ah. Oh, no. Well, then...
    Love the read.

  10. Going up two stairs at once is excellent exercise

    YOU GO DOWN FOUR AT ONCE? I would literally die. The thought of it brings on the beginning of a panic attack

    I read that before but it didn't hit me

  11. my neuroses are my friends... and i like mine a lot better than i like yours!!!!!

    JHC... i'd never be able to live thru all of that......

  12. Although I have a few routines, like going out for coffee in the morning instead of fixing it at home, I don't have safety routines. When I read the sidewalk clue, the first thing I remembered was the superstition about stepping on a crack--and that lead to my poem.

  13. Java Boo Boo: LOL You sound a bit like beloved sitcom dad Danny Tanner, my friend.

    Tumblewords: Thank you. I had no idea so many people would relate.

    Pia: Oh no, not four at once. I just skip any four in the sequence of fourteen.

    Paisley: Hmm, now I wonder if this is part of the reason I never seem to have any free time :)

    Norma: It was "sidewalk" that inspired me to delve into my, um, idiosyncrasies, as well.

  14. I think I would be bored without my OCD habits :O)

    You should read "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time." It's a great narrative from the point of view of someone with OCD as well as other problems.

  15. I think you're nuts. :)

    Then again, I have insurance on my place, so if burns down, well, MONEY FOR ME!!!!

    (Okay, I jest. I have OCD tendencies but I'm not revealing them.)

  16. HAHAHA....This made me laugh!!

    I am like that too... when I leave the house my head is like a ping pong machine!!!! Did I unplug the hairdryer, iron, toaster, cut off all the lights, cut the tvs off, lock the door??? Every day its like that!!!

    I will even get half way to work and turn around just to make sure!!

  17. You're brilliant.
    This post is wonderful.
    The abilities of your mind and creativity makes me jealous.
    I miss reading your stuff.
    I'll be back.
    That is not a threat.

  18. Huzzah for the OCD's of the world!!!! :) So glad that someone out there is at least as bad as me.

    However, no more joking about the candle thing. As OCD as I am, I have on at least 6 separate occassions left a candle burning overnight. The fact that I have not yet been awakened by the fire department is a testament to my skipping the cracks in sidewalks. It works!

    Fantastic entry!! One of my new favorites. It may actually be my favorite non-fiction 3WW piece of yours.

  19. I love the way you own the OCD at the end. It's so honest and direct. I think we all must have some OCD in us. I can so easily go there.

  20. I so relate. My OCD-driven ass soooo relates :)

  21. Bone,
    OCD and a good night's sleep just don't go together. ;)
    I've turned around and driven back home, at the risk of being late for work, to see if I closed the garage's overhead door, only to find it closed.

  22. I would call doing those things as being quirky but the reality is I probably does some of those things. I occasionally have a habit of checking lock doors twice to make sure they're lock. Is that insane?

  23. Somebody that's MORE OCD than I am?!?!? I didn't know it was even possible!! I'm impressed!!! ;)

  24. And how do you know all things about me :-)

  25. Questions...

    1. What about naps? Do you do all of these rituals before naps too, or just go with the flow there?
    2. What if you fall asleep watching TV? When you wake up at like 2 a.m. on the couch (oh come, who hasn't done it?!?!?!), do you have to do all of these in order or do you just go to bed?
    3. If there happens to be a "lady friend" spending the night... do you still follow the routine? And if so, do you wait until she's asleep to get up and then sneak downstairs to double check everything or do you take care of it before that?
    4. You know there is no multiple of 13 between 15 and 25... right? :)

  26. This is great writing! The tone is perfect, a cross between downright serious and a slight bit of self-aware irony, just right for keeping the reader on her toes.

    You left me wondering what kind of person I am. What are my hidden rituals? Good stuff, Bone.

    PS Say hi to Mamma Bone for me.

  27. La mode: Well, there would definitely be some spare time to fill without mine. Thanks for the recommendation :)

    Eileen: Come on, now. If ever there was a time to reveal your OCD secrets...

    Amber: I'm glad it made you laugh. My toaster broke, so that's one less thing I have to check now.

    Blondie: Why, thank you. I've missed reading your stuff. And your comments here :)

    Lillith: Yet another testament that skipping the cracks works. Though I'm not certain I know what "huzzah" means.

    Thank you.

    Writerkat: Thanks. I guess after admitting all that, there was no reason to back off at the end.

    Red: Oh come now, share :)

    Remiman: Agreed. I don't think I've ever gone back home to check something, but I have gotten out of bed to. Plenty.

    Lissa: Nah. Reading all these comments, I think I'm discovering it's quite common.

    Jennifer: I like how everyone admits to being somehwat OCD, but not as bad as I am :)

    Anthony: Haha. I must have been channeling you unknowingly.

    TC: Nope, not with naps, as they are often unplanned. No, I pretty much check everything just the same if I fall asleep on the couch, which rarely happens.

    OK, our time is short. No more questions :)

    Christine: Thank you! That's kinda what I was going for. Thankfully, it's not so serious that I can't laugh at myself about it :)

  28. You think I'm buying that? No way. I paid good money to this event, I'm not leaving until it's really over.

    Cough up the answers.

  29. I call that discipline..., I do all this at times and at other times I am absentminded enough to do the exact opposite!

  30. I do the same thing with my alarm clock at night.

  31. really? I had no idea!!! that must make me kinda famous...I need to ad that to the Reality Tour.

    "Darly make up some more pizza bagles!"

  32. Wow, this is great, from one who tries to step on the cracks just to tempt fate!

  33. You'd have been in perishables perishing hell in New Orleans after Katrina. Imagine coming home 3 weeks later to a stinking fridge full of food and no garbage pick-up for weeks. It was not fun.

  34. perishing perishables... this was great.

  35. I drive somewhere and take the keys out of the ignition and put them in my purse, but before I lock and close my door, I always look to make sure I have my keys! What? I am always double checking, mostly because I do things so automatically that I don't remember, and it is getting worse as I get older! Yikes!

  36. Have you been watching my nightly routine? You could've been writing about me in that post.

  37. TC: Sorry, there's a two question max. New rule. Just instituted.

    UL: So, I'm very disciplined? Yes, I like that. Thanks :)

    Xinh: Considering that, it's perplexing that I still end up screwing up the AM/PM once or twice a year :)

    Renee: "Darly make up some more pizza bagles!"

    Oh, that cracked me up :) Is it still $37.50? Now I'm also thinking about what a Bone Reality Tour would involve.

    Sage: Do you at least count the cracks as you step on them? Say you stepped on exactly ten, then that might cancel out the bad karma.

    Charlotte: I cannot imagine what returning to New Orleans must have been like :(

    Shelby: Thanks much :)

    Jo Anne: I do a lot of double and triple checking of things.

    Jen: Yeah, you really should cut off your webcam :)

  38. Bone,

    what an honest account of a day in the life of someone with OCD. Though I do not suffer from it myself it runs in my family and I have exprienced it second hand for a great part of my life.thanks for sharing.

  39. LOL, I love all of this!
    When I go to bed, I lock and unlock the front door 3 times, and of course try to open it make sure it's locked. I turn off the first living room light, go turn on the bathroom light and open my bedroom door, then turn off the final living room light, open my cell phone to also help illuminate my path, then turn off my bathroom light, get into bed. I turn on and off my alarm twice. Set my TV sleep timer for 90 minutes, and make sure the volume is between 6 and 8.
    I guess everyone has their OCD things, huh?!