Ocdbloggergirl's Blog: OCD, Life, and Other Misunderstandings

More Mental Malaise, Less Donald Trump

A Summer at Club Ghetto/Trailer-Fabulous…The First Swim — June 19, 2010

A Summer at Club Ghetto/Trailer-Fabulous…The First Swim

Ah, the Gates of Paradise have opened for yet another summer of clean, wholesome fun. Sure, it took until a week into June to open because the Health Department said “You need this, that, and some of those parts  too,” but better late than never. I’m pretty sure last year they replaced the old drain as per new federal law with the kind that won’t disembowel you when it drowns you. Plus the water ain’t green and is no doubt only 25% urine at the end of each day. So open the damn thing already, Health Inspector!

Being more than slightly socially anxious,  I find a lounge chair sort of away from other people . I must hurry about this business anyway, as it is nearly 11am and if I don’t hurry my pasty self along, I’m going to  get burned and shrivel up like a California Raisin.  A large man in his 50s is already in the deep end clinging to a ladder and I am careful to find a place to jump where I won’t splash him. The apartment pool was built around 1972 when they still made pools good n’ deep, so the water ranges from 3 to 8 ft. I choose somewhere between 5 and 6 ft, a respectful distance from the portly man at the ladder. Once I pop up, I bob in the water. I can tread water without ever treading, my head can stay above the water like I’m standing, but my arms sort of  are away in front of me, kind of like a frog or turtle with its head above water.

And so the man says something along the  lines of, “Wow! You sure can stay afloat well without doing anything.”

I don’t really look at him because I’m floating the other way, and have I mentioned before that I’m shy? Just checking. I say in as cheery  a voice as I can, “That’s because I’m chubby!”  He says “Naw! I sure can’t do that.” But whatever, my good man. It is what it is.

I commence to my laps.  I could just leave it at that like a normal person would, but Gentle Reader,  then you wouldn’t get all the subtle nuances of the obsessive-compulsive experience.

I have little rituals for everything.

Everything?

Yes everything.  I will share the swimming only since I don’t feel like writing a post as long as War and Peace tonight.

Once I jump into the water I feel it is a necessity to acclimate my body to the water temperature no matter how warm, hence the stand up floating.

One, one-thousand. Two, one-thousand. Three, one-thousand. Okay.

After saying this in my head, if I haven’t hit the side of the pool, good for me, because that means I don’t have to repeat. If yes, do it again, unless the pool is just too crowded or you really gotta be somewhere soon. If the pool isn’t overcrowded,  and I am at risk of bumping into someone, propel away, preferably 3 strokes away because I tend  to favor the number 3 (since, it has a religious significance in Christianity, I took it sometime as my ‘lucky number,’ everything else I prefer evened out. If you don’t hit the wall where you can start swimming the length of the pool, breast stroke, head above water until you reach the furthermost part of the deep end.

I don’t like the breast stroke. I will leave that to Michael Phelps and let you know how I swim laps. Besides, it is somewhat impractical in the Ghetto/Trailer pool, since a) the rope that divides the deep end from the shallow will intercept you

and b.) lots of times you got to focus on not running into bunches of kids. So I swim like a frog just under the surface of the water. What I do is fill my lungs almost to capacity but not quite and swim the length of the pool, which is perhaps 25 to 30 feet long without coming up for air. About halfway, I suck the rest of the air in my mouth through my lungs and that sustains me to the other side (not like it’s the English Channel anyway). I’m not sure that is something for everyone to try at home. Perhaps some people would end up sucking water in through the nose. Perhaps it may be that since my muscles never quite relax, I have a bit more control in my breathing, or perhaps my nose just clogs up. Or perhaps, if evolution is true, I didn’t quite evolve from my amphibious ancestors.  Most likely, though,  it is unremarkable and the folks who seem surprised that I can get to the other side without coming up just ain’t tried it right yet. I usually can’t make it in a typical size lap lane without coming up, so there you go.

Once I get to the other side, I must rest at least 10 seconds  before I complete the lap by returning to the starting side. At one point a man says, “There sure is a lot of chlorine in this water.” I’m not sure if he is talking to me, but once he repeated his assertion I said,  Ohhh, I didn’t realize you were talking to me…….Yes, but my eyes have a high tolerance for chlorine.” I worry that the man might think  I didn’t answer at first because  he is African-American.  (I really could have used a ‘White Guilt Day’ greeting card right then preferably a waterproof one: http://zodiblog.wordpress.com/2010/06/12/dead-demon-fish-and-bill-murray/).  I’d hate for someone to think I was hesitant talking to him because of race, when in all actuality, my painful shyness is very much an equal opportunity pathology).

Ahh, but this year Club Ghetto/ Trailer pool must have decided to put more chlorine than they used to do, because Ms. Blue-Eyes Invinsible here starts feeling pain on her sixth lap, and by the time she finished, she could barely open her eyes on dry land. Whoops! She will later use the lid off her mouth wash as an eyewash because her eyes bulged and looked like she  was on an 8 day drunk.

At another point Club Ghetto/Trailer-Fab’s monitor comes out checking pool passes and while there she informs me I can’t wear a shirt in the pool over my bathing suit. Stupid, but I have promised myself to take it all in stride this year and only gripe when truly merited.  I saw 10 shades of red when they wanted to ban beads and hair weaves in the pool. Supposedly beads from kids’ hair were getting stuck in the filters, but I imagine if you dangled one of those young’ins over a balcony, just grabbing the child by one beaded strand, her beads would remain in her hair. It might not have meant to be a racist thing but it ‘felt’ racist, and it was a rule picking on little kids.

So off goes my shirt and I throw it over towards my chair. Now, I felt I had two pretty decent reasons for not wishing to relinquish my shirt. A.) I didn’t want my back turning fire engine red and B.) My bathing suit is old and severely worn out. In fact, it’s in such shit condition you would think it had been in constant service since the time Esther Williams did movies. For one, it has a rip in the side and then it’s all motley. But it wasn’t just aesthetics. It was that my suit for while has been stretching southward, a victim of gravity that dared me to have a wardrobe malfunction. But since the straps have elongated so much, I tie the straps together at my nape every now and then to prevent my stretch marked bosom from making a special appearance. Wish I could find my damn good bathing suit or buy a new one at the moment

Once I finish my 12 laps, 12 because I want to make sure I at least get 10 in case I miscount , I either float on my back  if no one is in the deep end, or  the stand up float if there are people. All that 1,2,3 jazz like I mentioned earlier. Hit one end of the pool like earlier after the 1,2,3 crap is done in my head. If there are people on both ends of the pool, I may exit. If not, I get to float at whatever jets are at that side of the pool, so it will propel me, which is amusing, If I am on the opposite side iof the jet, breast stroke over there I go. Then once I do that, I do one more floating session just pushing off the side. One and a Two and a three with an “okay.” Now I can exit.

I dry off, rest in a lounge chair, count to 300 in my head to relax me and give me time to adjust  to the temperature on land. Then I can return home. So soothing. Was my pool rituals as tedious to read as it was to write them down?

Visit a Vet and Your Therapist. — June 10, 2010

Visit a Vet and Your Therapist.

Just when you think things are going ok and that you might be able to stay out of the pawn shop just one month, someone goes and kicks your cat.

Granted it wasn’t on purpose, but the cat was kicked all the same.  You see, Mama was in a hurry  to use the can and there are two doors to said can; one being the entry from the hallway, the other opens into the master closet.  As I stated before in one way or another, I am not about to be on the cover of Martha Stewart Living. So when I throw dirty clothes into the master closet for later washing, theoretically, the clothes are supposed to go into a hamper.  Said hamper in said closet is usually overflowing with dirty clothing, however, so I tend to aim, throw, and let my discarded clothing  fall where it may. And this is how the tragedy began.

My mother, in her haste to close the closet door, kicked a pair of black shorts that were obstructing the door. Unfortunately, Babee Dondee was curled up on that pair of shorts. Babee Dondee is small and black except for the occasional white hair here and there, so he was perfectly hid on that  black  background. My mom’s swift kick made hard contact with shorts and cat.

Mama felt terrible, placing the blame on herself, though I think if it is anyone’s fault, it’s mine since I’m a total slob and it was my shorts left there by me. She apologized repeatedly to Dondee and I think he realized Mom didn’t mean to do it to him.

But whoever’s fault it was, it became obvious Dondee needed medical attention, because he still limped this morning and wouldn’t emerge from the closet.  I hate taking my cats to the vet, Dondee especially, since he is absolutely terrified of riding in the van in his carrier. He cries the five minutes it takes to get there, and is an awful thing to hear, especially when you can’t  tell him what is happening in a language he understands.

The vet who saw us is a man in his 50s, whom I distinctly get the feeling likes animals more than humanity, or maybe he thought we meant to do it, and I feel horrified and guilty in his presence. But I think (hope) he knew we didn’t mean to, because I doubt the average person who abuses animals takes them to the vet afterword. I tried not to avert my eyes as much as usual, lest the doctor  think we meant to do it and mistake my social anxiety as guilt.

In the end, nothing was broken, but his nerves in his shoulder were inflamed. He received steroids for that and antibiotics just in case he was bit by something instead of my mom’s kick because his temperature was up.

My mother gave me the joyous task of settling up with the receptionist since I had the money, but I knew it was going to be more than I have. And so it was. I’m too chicken shit to say I don’t have $195.00, so I beckoned my mom over and show her the invoice.  Mama explained the situation and that we’ll be back as soon as possible.  $96.00 down, $99.00 to go. So we take Dondee home, grab up some pawnable merchandise, and back out we go.  Meanwhile, one of the maintenance guys told us the pool passed inspection and will probably open today. Great, figures the damn thing would finally open and I’d be on the……nevermind.

I think the receptionist was pleased we came back as soon as we did, and hopefully, since we brought the money back so fast, that will give us a gold star in character and somehow show them we don’t abuse animals. Lord.

Then, this afternoon was a trip to my therapist. Now my last trip to see her, she kinda sorta almost yelled at me, or was very firm.  Well, at least it worked. Plus my mom, my best friend, virtually everyone on earth, also wanted me to do what I did. So I did and I feel the better for it. Guilt and elation, anger, guilt, then elation again. Some things that are easy  for other people are much harder for me. I meant well, though.

My therapist was glad I went out with Green and that I had no real problem with talking to him or the Hippies, that I didn’t freeze up. She wants me to contact him again.

She isn’t so happy I’m so nervous-acting, I don’t think, because she asked me when I last saw my shrink. It was a couple months ago and she couldn’t up my meds, but thank God, my depression lifted a lot since.  I went from life-sucks-just-let-me-die-or- something  to life-sucks-less. Good enough, man. Party!

She seems to think my little perfectionist  bent  is a tad maladaptive. I can’t stand my inability to do everything just right. If I feel I haven’t done things perfectly, I will go into a rage at myself and go take a nap. One thing goes wrong, EVERYTHING is wrong. If I raise my voice at my mother, I will get angry at myself, feel I’m a failure at life in general….and go to sleep.  Every morning I wake up and promise myself  today I will not make a mistake. Doomed to failure, but I can’t stop. I’ve done this off and on in some form or another since I was a small girl. Nothing I would expect of another person, but I  can’t stand  my lack of measuring up to normalcy.  Oh well.

952 words, I’m shutting up now.


Protected: Neighborhood Watch — June 6, 2010
Protected: Drinking with Hippies, Turning Green, and Other Life Affirming Things Thanks to Facebook — June 4, 2010
Protected: Elementary School Memories Courtesy of Facebook and a Guy Named ‘Green’ — May 23, 2010
I’m Just a Girl Who Can’t Say No — April 14, 2010

I’m Just a Girl Who Can’t Say No

As the title suggests, I can’t say no even when I would very much like to say hell no. I am sitting at the library, minding my own business, when a woman approaches me. She is short, skinny, wears a long skirt, has a scarf on her head, has a look between a fundamentalist Christian and a hippie, and just generally has that look of a poor soul.

“Excuse me, do you have a library card?” she asks. It doesn’t occur to me to lie to her as I warily say yes. “Can I use it to get on the computer and finish a letter I was writing?”

No way.

“Well yes sure,” I answer, scanning the room for my mom in hope of her guidance.

I envision all the illegal things she could do with my account.

What if she’s a predator and I get blamed for it?

What if she’s committing credit card fraud and I get blamed for it?

What if she’s a hacker and I get blamed for it?

What if she’s threatening people and I get blamed for it?

What if she’s about to take over the world and I get blamed for it?

What if?

What if?

What if my head explodes from worry?

But I hate to offend others or not help them, especially when asked. Later she comes back and I have to use my card again to print out her work.  I really want to cop a look as it prints,  but I am mindful that that would be rude, so I will never know. I think I stole 35 cents from her, though, which is now on my library card (and conscience) because she inserted a dollar in there and I think her copies only cost 65 cents. I guess the only ethical  thing to do is hope I see her again sometime when I have change.  Boy, I annoy the shit out of  myself. Lucky most of this sort of stuff I can hide in my head. It isn’t even that I fear punishment for short-changing someone, it’s just that nervy feeling that I’ve done someone or something wrong.

I think since I’m writing about library cards and offending people I will tell two incidents from when I was back in college earning the Fries-with-That degree.  Now Downtown, where the community college is, is Homeless Central and the bum population all knew I was good for a dollar or two (I just sorta look like the kind of person who will not tell someone to get a job or to f off). I always was of the mind you shouldn’t be mean to them, that most of them are mentally ill, what if no one would help you out, and that if they ask for it? It would be unkind to say no even if all they were going to do is get drunk or weren’t even homeless.  Yes, I am a sucker.

Anyway, a man I hadn’t seen before approached me, said he just got out of jail, and talked me out of a couple of dollars. He wanted me to shake his hand. No problem except his hand had many cuts, not scratches, big ass open wounds.  Blood of the human variety is perfectly horrifying to me and hurting someone’s feelings is perfectly horrifying to me, so I was totally at a loss. Quick decision made and fast as lightning  I tap the tip of my fingers at the part of his  palm that seemed the least bloody for one second tops, but was certain I had HIV for the next few years. Being an avoidant sort more than a hypochondriac, in I worry I have a dread  disease but really, really don’t want to know for fear I couldn’t take the news. My best friend, however, says if I had anything, it would have showed up several years later in my blood cell count the last time I consented to a general blood test 4 years ago (I have only been to gynecologists twice in my life….the first time I screamed, the second time I was only silently horrified….I will go again if I ever become sexually active and the way that is going I’ll probably be 50).

As for library cards, there was the time I nearly didn’t graduate due to my college library card. It was 2003. Time for math, time for math. I think I was about 26, old enough to know better.  Seriously, when God handed out common  sense, yours truly was absent. My therapist is kinder. She says I have common sense, I’m just naïve.  Truth told, I’m a naïve dumbass, albeit a well-meaning naïve dumbass.

I was in the school library and as I was about to check out, a girl I didn’t know approached me. She didn’t have a library card, had a paper due the very next day, and begged me to check out a book for her.

It only gets worse from here. Dumbass.

I told her sure with only the slightest apprehension. She said she could show me her driver’s license.

Now what did I say? It’s pure Dumbassian. Someone please cut down these trees so I can get a good view of the forest dumb.

“Oh, don’t worry about it.  I trust you.”  I imagine this is where that girl probably heard the rattling inside my head, pretty hollow in there. Did I tell you I was a DUMBASS?  I will reiterate it now, lest you forget:

D-U-M-B-A-S-S!!!!!

So the weeks rolled by and I got a letter from the school library. It would seem that girl hadn’t returned the life-or-death-necessary book and with fines I owed my institution of higher learning $50.00 I sure as hell didn’t have. I had to pay up or they wouldn’t graduate me. Fuck an A!

May this be a lesson to you, Lisa Ann B. Just because you wouldn’t do something like that doesn’t mean everyone wouldn’t do it. Noted.

A few months went by and my brain filed the incident under “experience,” the 50 bucks and diploma under “Things to Do When I Can Afford It,” and the state of my intellectual prowess under “Dumbass.” I went and got the mail, and voilà, there’s my diploma. Apparently the girl brought the book back a few months late and either paid the overdues or my favorite professor got them to  forgive the fines because he had tried before to get me forgiven altogether. Perhaps I am the first person to graduate college and not even know it.  Life is funny that way.

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