Sunday, 18 November 2012

A sock in the eye to OCD

What a great gift my latest sports socks are. They come marked ‘L’ and ‘R’. Isn’t that wonderful? It’s not altogether clear to me how left and right-hand (as it were) socks differ from each other – it’s not as though these ones have toes after all – but I just love it that anyone can go to extent of making the distinction.

Not that this is the main reason I like them so much. Oh, no. What I appreciate about them is that they confirm that I’m making progress in my lifelong struggle against Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

My particular variant of OCD is probably common in Britain and takes the form of excessive respect for the written instruction. For years, I’d wrap the cord around a hairdryer, until I bought one that had a label on it saying ‘do not wrap cord around dryer’, at which point I learned to make a careful little coil to one side before packing it away.

I used to find positively uncomfortable to wear a seatbelt in a car until the day it became obligatory. Since then, I’ve belted myself in on every trip, to the point that I now feel positively under-dressed if I’m not wearing one. Why, I’ve even caught myself looking around on buses or boats for a seat belt. Once, even, in a theatre seat.

Now, I never got quite as bad as the young man I came across the other day whose mother gave him a set of day-of-the-week pants (underpants, for colonial readers). He, it seems, is incapable of wearing Tuesday pants on Monday. Do you think he might regard them as not fair of face enough?

So I was delighted to discover recently that I was completely ignoring the ‘L’ and ‘R’ markings on my socks. I was perfect capable of reversing them completely. And, surprisingly, going to to play and hour and half’s badminton without suffering unbearable agony in either foot.

Could I at last be overcoming my OCD?

Well, today I had the confirmation of it.

When I got home from badminton, I realised that I was wearing two ‘L’ socks. 

A bigger blow for emancipation than might be imagined

Now that’s real emancipation, isn’t it? Freed from the tyranny of the printed word. Or the stitched letter at least. Which has to be a start, doesn’t it?

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