I was in the bathroom for nearly two hours today.
The typical duration is approximately forty five minutes – considered by the other members of the household to be a little excessive. Although they have become accustomed to my lengthy occupation of the bathroom I do try to arrange my morning so that I don’t clash with anyone else’s need. I feel it’s the only fair way…
Yet today was one of the infrequent, but not rare, occasions where I anticipate taking slightly longer but instead manage to overrun significantly.
The usual. Brushing of teeth, flossing and use of mouthwash. Weighing on the spot where I place the scales and then again on the spot where the scales are kept – after all, different tiles may experience variations in the Earths gravitational pull. Selection and placement of the toiletries that will be needed where they will be used – face wash (every second day with face scrub too), shampoo, shower gel, deodorant, body lotion, face cream, brush.
Then the once to twice weekly beard upkeep. Neaten the line from ear to ear under the jaw. Slowed by slightly shaky hands and a need for precision, in symmetry and shape, normally reserved for NASA. Back and forth, a lot. Eventually after shaving beyond the original line, yet again, satisfaction allowed me to move on to the cheek area. That part being far more complex due to side burns and the angled join across the cheekbone to the moustache. I just couldn’t get the symmetry right. First one side is too low or the join with the sideburn is too angular on the other. In the end after brief consultation with my fiancée I agree that it’s ok. Then the thought that the beard itself is too long with a lot of hairs longer than others so I retrieve the electric trimmer from the toiletry bag and use the no. 5 all over and the no. 3 over the moustache and edges. Damn, the edges look wonky where removal of the concealing length shows that the original effort wasn’t as good as it should have been. Back to neatening the edges. Before long I’ve managed to reduce the edges about 5mm down from the top, ruin the line and make myself look, to be quite frank, like an idiot.
An hour after starting I shaved the whole beard off and repeated a vow never to mess with the growth again. But I know I will.
My morning process without the beard mauling is laborious but optimised, down to just forty five minutes. I’m not vain in the sense that I think I’m gods gift to women, I just have to be perfectly clean and groomed, or as close as I can get. I know that it comes from low self esteem and the sexual abuse as a child, and I’m not sure I want to change the end result but it would be nice if it didn’t take so long.
Showering is a long process too. I don’t understand how but what should be a five minute activity becomes twenty minutes. And before bed I take another twenty five minutes that doesn’t even seem to tally with the morning in terms of relative effort.
Isn’t OCD wonderful!
How I wish I could get up, spend five minutes in the bathroom and go out in slightly creased clothes, without having planned my journey. I wish I could touch the coins I get as change from buying a can of drink without using alcoholic hand gel or rushing at the earliest convenience to wash them.
I wish I could hold the handrails on a train that a million other hands have touched and turn the taps in public toilets without the aid of tissue (oh wonderful sensor taps).
I wish I could stroke a dog without cringing.
I wish I was not compelled to keep checking switches and doors, that the small dried juice stain on the kitchen floor could stay there for a little longer, that I don’t need to ring to verify even though the letter quite clearly states the facts.
I strongly suspect that there’d be human colonies on Mars and cancer would be curable if OCD didn’t exist – the time saved could be put to much better use.
Anyway, I’m off. I need to go and wash my hands. The tip of my finger accidentally touched the side of my shoe when I crossed my legs…