Tuesday, 10 February 2015

An Ode To Sanity

Disclaimer: Please don't get offended because you think I am making fun of mental illness. I'm not. That's not what this blog is about, but there's always someone who gets pissed off at everything they see on the internet. If you MUST decide that I'm being disrespectful, please, feel free to get angry and send nasty comments. I will read them all, and eventually publish most of them. So if you're going to get mad, please make it as caps-locked/misspelled/badly-punctuated/completely irrational as possible. I need fodder for a future blog.

So, I'm on Facebook today, and one of my friends has posted the following status:

Just got a phone call from the mental health ward (it was a hospital phone number, as well i heard a page for someone to return back to the ward in the dack ground) he called because my number is an x and he was rather insistant on knowing what i was doing.

And all I could think was,

"That is AWESOME!"

That guy is super on the ball. I notice the shape of people's phone numbers ALL the time, but it's never occurred to me to actually DIAL them! That's like a whole new level of awesome!

And then it occurred to me that immediately figuring out the shape every time you take down a phone number might not actually be normal behavior. In fact, the more I think about it, the more not normal it sounds.

And that started me thinking....... If I think he's normal, and he's in the mental health ward, is it possible there are other things I do that are not entirely within the boundaries of 'normal'?

Since that is clearly ridiculous, I have decided today's blog will be about the totally normal shit I do all the time.

First of all, to expand on the phone number thing, I worry about people whose phone numbers are the wrong shape. I have absolutely no proof, not a shred of anecdotal evidence, and have never had my suspicions justified even by accident or coincidence, but it's awfully hard to trust someone who hides a pentagram in their phone number. I don't give them copies of my house keys or let them babysit (and cook and devour) my kids. It's always better to be safe than sorry.

I have the same problem with PIN numbers. I might be the easiest person in the world to steal from, as all the PIN numbers on all our bank cards and online accounts have to be a part of a (reasonably complicated- I'm crazy, not stupid) repeating pattern. When it's time to change the PIN, on to the next I go. If anyone ever figures it out, they will have total and unending access to all eleven dollars in our bank account, and we will be destitute. But I can't change the way I do it, because then ATM's will stress me out, and every grocery purchase will be slightly tainted.

Have you ever had someone knock on your door and drop by unannounced? (Which, by the way, IS NOT COOL- people who like order do NOT like being surprised. We prefer to schedule everything. EVERYTHING. Like even sex). If and when this happens, you can totally clean up your house in 18 seconds or less. Just put everything at right angles.

Thanks to millions of years of evolution by natural selection, the human body has adapted so that the left hemisphere of the brain is the more dominant in unfamiliar or stressful situations. The left brain is the 'logic' side of the brain, and when it takes over, it causes us to respond more favorably to order than disorder. This means that even if the object at right angles on the coffee table is a stack of books taller than you, your guest will see it, their left brain will take over, and they will interpret the space as 'clean'.* (see footnote)

It doesn't matter how much crap you have on the kitchen table. Just arrange it the way I want you to, and we'll all be much happier.

It extends to other things, as well.

I spend an inordinate amount of time making sure my eyebrows aren't all messed up. It drives me crazy to talk to someone with messy eyebrows. The sheer bedlam of it makes me cringe. I can actually feel it when my eyebrows are messed up. It bugs the crap out of me. And I assume that is all you can see while you're talking to me, because, quite frankly, if your eyebrows are all scribbly, it's all I can see while I'm talking to you. My best friends know this, and have been known to spend hours just glancing at me with messed up eyebrows and watching me compulsively fix my own. It's cruel, really.

We bought a trailer this year, which has solved one of my biggest issues. OTHER PEOPLE SHOWER GERMS. Have you ever been at a campground or in a hotel and you're completely clean and almost done your shower, and you accidentally slip a bit and touch the wall? Am I the only one who then needs to start the whole process over again so that I can get the unknown DNA off my skin? I can't be.

A few years ago, we were camping with our best friends and friends of theirs that we didn't know as well, and I went to have a shower the one afternoon. Through a series of mishaps caused by a cloth shower curtain and a strong breeze every time someone opened the shower room door, I had to have 4 consecutive showers. I was literally in the shower for almost an hour. And when I came back, the friends of the best friends wanted to know what had taken me so long. When I told them I got caught in a shower germ feedback loop, they looked confused. No one else even batted an eye. It's an actual thing.

There's lots of other totally normal shit I do throughout the course of my day, but if I told you about all of it at once, you'd think I was a nut job, so I will keep it to just these few.

So thank you, strange man with an excessive amount of freedom and the ability to make outside calls, thank you.

You have reminded me that I'm stark, raving, sane.

*This may or may not be true- when I want to convince someone I'm right, I am not above completely making up all sorts of bullshit statistics.

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