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Sunday, January 15, 2012


You know, it's amazing how much people without OCD take for granted. Oh, don't get me wrong. I'm not knocking people who don't have OCD. I'm just saying that they do incredible things every day without even realizing it.
Take doors for instance.
It depends on what type of OCD you're dealing with, of course, but for a germ freak like me doors present a constant and maddening challenge. Doors, as we all know, are made to be opened and shut. The problem with that is that you have to actually touch the door in order to accomplish that. That's right, actual physical contact. Yikes.
The worst are the doors with round knobs. Doors without handles can be kicked open with a foot or shoved with a shoulder. Doors with handles can be opened by covering your hand with your sleeve, or pressing the handle down with your knuckles if you're not wearing long sleeves. But doorknobs?
Maybe it's just my lack of coordination, but I find it extremely difficult to open a door with a knob within the limits of my OCD while maintaining any semblance of being a normal human being. Paper towels (one of my favorite protectors against all things germy found in bathrooms . . . which is everything) are not always available with the advent of air dryers. Even when paper towels can be had, I've noticed a troubling pattern in public restrooms of placing the trash can at least 10 feet from the door; problematic if, like me, you're a bit of a poor shot. Even worse are those models of poor planning where the door is around the corner from the garbage can. I can't even remember how I made it out of those places. Sleeves can be used if they're long enough, but since you have to grip a knob with your whole hand, you really have to stretch the sleeve to get it to cover everything. And then you probably have to stretch out the other sleeve to make it 'even' and go around all day looking like your cuffs got caught in an escalator or something and you only just managed to pull them out. And knuckles—if you ever figure out a way to open a doorknob with your knuckles using only one hand, I want to hear about it. I always have to grip the knob between the knuckles of both hands and try to maintain enough pressure that my knuckles don't slip off while I wrestle the door open. I've not yet had anyone ask if I've heard of opposing thumbs, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.
To illustrate how amazing you are if you can open and shut doors in the way they were obviously designed to be opened and shut, let me tell you about an experience I had.
Have you seen the 3rd Harry Potter movie? Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban? (Stick with me. Believe it or not I'm staying on topic.) You have? Great. You haven't? Don't worry. The part I'm going to reveal isn't exactly a spoiler. In the movie, Harry is staying at some kind of wizardly hotel. In one scene, after what we hope was a refreshing night's sleep, he exits his room and closes the door behind him. But here's the best part: He closes it with his hand.
For some reason, that part made my jaw drop when I first saw it. Yeah, yeah, so some other things happened in the movie too. There were wizards and magic and mysterious happenings, maybe even a werewolf or two. But all of that paled in comparison to the bit where Harry shut the door.
I believe at that point in my life I was still shutting doors with my foot. Sound hard? It is. But it was better than touching them with my hands.
Now, just in case you're wondering, yes, I had seen people opening and shutting doors with their hands before. For some reason, it just didn't hit me the way it did when I saw it on the screen. Maybe it was because Harry was alone in that scene, so he didn't have to act normal by shutting the door with his hand; he could have done it any way he wanted. Anyway, almost as powerful as the urge to grab Harry by his jacket, drag him to the nearest sink, and hand him a bottle of anti-bacterial hand-soap was the thought, He just shut that door with his hand! People open and shut doors with their hands. And then, I wish I could open and shut doors with my hands.
And you know something? I can. Sort of. I still do the paper towel thing, or the sleeve over the hand thing, or the knuckle thing if all else fails. But the point is, I've gotten to the point where I can do something I never thought I could. I'm realizing that I don't have to be normal, I just have to be better than I was. So I'm proud of myself. Look, Mom. Hands!