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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Hello, My Name is Bob

This post is going to allow you all to get to know me a little too well. It is a bit of a confession and a bit of a question (and it is really long). I have recently had the opportunity to discuss some "quirks" that I have that are sometimes mild and sometimes greatly interfere with my life. Many people who have known me for a while are already aware of, and mostly amused by, my tendencies. It is much like the movie, "What About Bob?" where I take baby steps all day every day to overcome my mental obstacles.

I am doing well writing my book. I am writing and I am making forward progress. Where I am really struggling is with character development. The problem is this: I don't know normal. I am not normal. I have OCD. I don't know proper reactions to daily situations. There are things that bother me to a point that I require therapy that would not even cause a moment's hesitation to somebody else. There are things that bring me joy - they actually make me smile and make my heart happy - that other people don't even notice. I don't know if a character trait I am developing in my book is going to come across as too contrived even though it is really how I behave. Here are some examples.

This is actually how I eat my M&Ms and Skittles. I line them up in rainbow order and I eat them down (in order) until they all have the same amount per row. Then I eat them in rainbow order. They just taste so much better that way. My real problem is when the last color in the rainbow order is a flavor I don't like because then I have to end with a bad taste in my mouth.

Even numbers make me happy. They make me smile. Odd numbers make me mad (except for multiples of 5). If there is a sale on an item and it is 3 for $1, I will buy 6. I used to buy 2 separate egg cartons - one 12 pack and one 18 pack. Then if a recipe called for 3 eggs I could take an entire row from the 18 pack. If it called for 2 I would take one from the 12 pack. If it called for 1 egg I used the 12 pack and then threw one egg away so that the whole row would be gone. I couldn't handle one egg being left in a row. It made my head hurt. I can now survive with one egg carton but it still makes me need a calming breath when I open it and see one egg sitting in a row by itself.

My wallet does not look like the above photo. My money is in order based on the denomination. And all my bills are right-side up and facing forward. How anybody could do anything else is really beyond me.

I don't currently have much of a pantry but the above picture is what my dream pantry would look like. I seriously could just stare at this picture for hours. If I had a pantry like that I would probably sit in it for hours. I would pull a pillow in there and read or take a nap or hide from my family and be happy.

I love for my closet to be color coordinated. This is how my closet looks (this picture is not my closet). I have my clothes in rainbow order and categorized as follows: short sleeve casual, short sleeve formal-ish, long sleeve casual, long sleeve formal-ish, etc. with each category in rainbow order and facing the same direction. My clothes either look like this or piled high in a laundry basket. You see, I'm also all or nothing. I'd rather do something perfect, actually better than perfect, or not do it at all. This is also a struggle for me with my writing but I am getting over it for now (we will see how I handle it once it is time for revisions). My husband hangs things up with hangers hanging backwards, short sleeve mixed with pants, civilian mixed with military, no rainbow order and no order at all. It drives me crazy! It is difficult for me to go in our closet and see the chaos that lives in there.

My husband often asks me how our house can look like it does (read: it is a mess) when I claim to be a "perfectionist." It goes back to that all or nothing and OCD. I need it done my way, which is of course the right way, but I don't always have the time or energy to get it done right so I'll just leave it alone. Can a character in a book get by with such nonsense? Can I make it come across as cute and not near-divorce-causing-irrationality? Could my character actually meet somebody as wonderful as my husband - somebody who would put up with her crap and still love her? I don't really know. I am struggling to find that balance between making somebody I can relate to and understand and somebody others can love. Where is the line?


  1. I'm going to start calling you Bob now.

    1. Ha. The funny thing is that my son, whenever he is pretending to be anybody else, always calls himself Bob. And he has never even seen the movie. And he is as crazy as I am.

  2. Other than the skittle and wallet thing, we have quite a bit in common. I love color coordinated closets (and am a bit bugged that no one else in my house follows that), things all in a row, fabulously organized pantries (which one day I'm determined to have when our house is actually finished - right now we have a pantry with no shelves in it), order, etc.

    And I love the idea of putting all that into an awesomely quirky character - so I say go for it!