I never really gave it a thought before. But now that I have, it strikes me that I know a lot of people who’re a little, well, different from the rest. Oh sure, you might say, everyone’s different. That’s what people have in common anyway, isn’t it? The fact that they’re all different. But the people I’m talking about are different in a… different way.
Wait. This isn’t going anywhere. Let me start again.
I know people who’re a little finicky about things. Everyday things, like neatness, orderliness, cleanliness and hygiene. This includes me, of course. But I’ll come to that later. The people I happen to be acquainted with arrange the clothes in their cupboards according to colour. In neat piles of blacks, whites, reds and so on. They wash their hands about a million times a day. They stay up at night washing the dishes because the very thought of a sink full of dirty dishes is enough to cause them insomnia. If hit on one side of the head, they request to be hit on the other side to “balance things out”. They clean other people’s toilets at 3:00 a.m. in the morning before answering nature’s call. When the phone’s ringing pretty damn badly too.
Which brings us to me. I use a little plastic cap to protect my toothbrush from germs. I also clean this cap with Dettol every once in a while. You know, just to be on the safe side. I’ve been known to be late for appointments because I’ve stopped to clean the washbasin or the toilet on the spur of the moment. (Hey N, how’s that for spontaneity?) People have also spotted me furtively rearranging books at Planet M, so that the spines all face outwards in the same order. In Pune, I’ve been the butt of many jokes because I’d go home and do my laundry rather than go out partying. I bathe twice a day at least – I can’t go to bed unless I’ve showered, whatever be the time of night or dawn that I’ve gotten back home. My dental hygiene rituals have taken up an entire post anyway. I straighten out crooked table settings in restaurants, worry if my outfit is not symmetrical, cannot leave a chipped nail unfiled or chipped nail-paint unremoved. I also feel guilty if my papers aren’t filed in order or if my cupboard is messy.
Sure, blame it on my sun-sign (Virgo). Or heredity (my father insists on re-ironing clothes fresh from the laundry before wearing them – he’s a Virgo too). Call it paranoia, or neuroticism or just plain ‘ol OCD. But here’s the disturbing fact: there’s more of us out there. And we’re coming to get you, whether you like it or not, and we’re going to make you come over to the Dark Side. Which happens to be very, very clean, by the way.