I used to be out of my mind concerned about really strange things.
Like how I had to take the exact same route in the kitchen every morning to get the same cereal: pantry for cereal to fridge for milk to cupboard for bowl and big spoon to table. And the exact inverse to put it all away: counter with dishes and so on. I'm still particular about my utensils. Always a small fork, no matter what I'm eating. And always a small spoon except for cereal. You get more milk that way.
Or how my outfits had to be entirely color coordinated. No patterns with patterns. Very business style or jeans and tees. And that period of my life where everything was long sleeved, long legged, and booted. All black. Very particular. And later on -- white socks with white or light shoes; black socks with black or dark shoes. Particularly if the outfits were light or dark. Though I'm still that way about my socks needing to match -- and that they should match something in the whole ensemble. If I wear socks at all.
Or how the closet had to be organized. And not just organized by type, but by color and sleeve length. Starting with the R of ROYGBIV and working through the spectrum of tone and shade and whatchamacallits, making sure that the browns and blacks and whites fell on the outside somewhere. Absence and absorption of color and all that. Can't mix it in. Same for pants and dresses and skirts. Even shoes. All by color. Length. Or heel height.
I'm still organized. I still worry about weird things. I used to think I was over all of this weirdness. Be it my overactive, over intense brain is now medicated to the point of closer normalcy or I've just grown up and moved on. Not so much moved on -- moved on from those specific, consuming routines and must-have patterns. Moved on to new ones.
Other strange things concern me now. Like which pockets the wallet and the glasses go into in the backpack -- they must be the same each time. And the respective pockets for all of the other things I pack around with me for various reasons. Respective pockets. To each item its own home.
Or the phones at work. Geraldine lives on the left side of the desk; Batman lives on the right. And Batgirl lives over by the till because she came to us last and that was the only place left for her to perch. I didn't name the phones. They were like that when I got here. But now they have specific places to live. Strangely, my coworkers now do the same thing. Perhaps because they can see the genuine panic that comes across my face too fast for me to hide when I see Batman heading to Geraldine's house for a nap. Their prongs must not share cradles. Ever.
We never have that problem with Batgirl. Batgirl always ends up where she is supposed to rest.
Placement is and has always been ridiculously important to me. Knowing where things are. Where I am in orientation to those things. When things are thrown off -- it upsets me. Often I tried to hide it. But that little flash of panic can be terribly hard to hide from some people. Sometimes -- and I am the first to admit -- a stupid tantrum gets set off. A suppressed connection to 3-year-old Sarah Anne is sparked and internal screams manifest themselves in the form of pouting, quiet tears, and all-around obstinacy.
For example. When my sister's husband began joining us for Sunday dinners and they moved me out of my chair so he and she could sit side-by-side. My. Chair. The chair I had sat in at mealtimes for almost a decade. And it felt wrong. Horrible. Awful. That sick kind of sick you feel when you see someone you once loved and who once loved you with another person, and you get this awful mean jealousy and displacement. Even though you know you should be over it.
"But it's mine," petulant 3-year-old says. Not sadly, either. Angrily. "That's my spot. All of my memories and perspectives and sitting nearer the corner than you'd think humanly possible. They're all in that chair."
I know. It's weird. But I'm still not over that chair.
More than a year later; I really want my chair back.
My brain knows that this is all weird. That someone looking in at my life would think, "It's just a chair. It's just a phone. It's just a pocket that holds stuff. Who even cares?" I think that at myself too, every single Sunday dinner. Every single time I put Batman to bed. Every single time I open the pockets in my backpack and panic when something isn't right. When it's wrong. Disconnected. I think that's the word I'd use when certain things aren't just so. When specific, tiny, ridiculous details are overlooked or aren't just right. The porridge too hot or the bed too soft. Not right.