Thursday, May 22

The Friday Random Ten isn't going anywhere until it's touched everything in the room three times.

I know that after all the awards this blog has won, the accolades, the effusive links and praise from other sites far and wide, you probably have this impression of me as a together, in-the-know individual with my finger on the pulse of everything hip. Well, I'm flattered you would think something like that, but as I felt obligated to admit in a conversation this past weekend, I'm actually a basket case, a teeming cornucopia of hangups, phobias, and obsessive compulsions -- so much so that I occasionally wonder how I'm able to function at all in a public setting. So lest y'all get tempted to place me on too high a pedestal, I'm giving you a peek behind the curtain into the creaking funhouse of my inner psyche with Five OCD Hangups I'm Probably Never Going To Be Able To Shake:

Anytime I enter something into an alarm clock or microwave, it has to end in 4
I was born on the 4th of June, 4's my lucky number, so anytime I set my alarm or enter something into the microwave timer, it has to end in 4. Supposedly 4 is unlucky in Japan because their word for the number four sounds like "death" (though that hasn't stopped them from giving all kinds of weird names to other stuff).

I have trouble throwing away anything with a picture of a cute animal on it
This particular neurosis has gripped me ever since I was a hypersensitive child, and even today I have to muster every bit of emotional strength I have to roll up an empty Pedigree bag like the one pictured above and throw it in the trash. I don't know, I just have this fear that somewhere a Jack Russell is dying a horrible death due to my thoughtlessness. See also: chocolate bunnies, inability to consume.

Anytime I drive over rumble strips, I have to sing "Hail Georgia"
Specifically, I'm talking about those sets of rumble strips that you see leading up to stoplights on public highways all over Alabama, the ones that have two sets of rumble strips spaced far apart followed by three close together. The "brump, brump, brump brump brump" sound your tires make as you go over them is almost the exact cadence of the whistle blows that the Georgia Redcoat drum major makes before launching into some fight song during a game; my sister and I noticed that one weekend as we were driving home to C-Town, so for good luck (I think the Georgia-Florida game was that weekend), we sang "Hail Georgia" every time we went over one. And now I can't stop. Laugh if you want, but it worked, didn't it? Hmmmm?

I can't drink from water fountains
I'm sure I've alluded to this on the blog before, but I'm incredibly germ-phobic, mainly when it comes to the foods and beverages I put in my body. And I would no more drink from a public water fountain than I would guzzle from a jug of milk that had a nice swampy layer of curds floating on top. Thanks to inconsiderate sick people and prepubescent kids who haven't yet been told that they don't have to actually put their tongues on the faucet in order to drink the water, these things are festering petri dishes of germs and sickness, or at least that's what I tell myself whenever I get thirsty enough to be tempted to drink from one.

I hold my breath when joggers pass me on the street
My general germphobia also manifests itself as a hypersensitivity to smells, which obviously includes foodstuffs that might be even the teensiest bit past their sell-by dates but also includes other people's bodily odors. I generally try to smell as presentable as possible at any given moment, and while I understand that not everybody is in a position to be similarly spruced up at every single hour of the day, I still reserve the right to not catch a whiff of your sweaty musk as you run by me. Who goes jogging in the middle of the damn day, anyway? Don't you people have jobs? And if so, what do you think the people at those jobs are saying when your sweaty ass returns to your office? For this same reason, I no longer attend outdoor music festivals between the months of April and September. Any of my Birmingham neighbors who've ever gotten a whiff of the humid, sweaty miasma hanging over City Stages in the middle of June will back me up on that one.

Yes, I know I'm borderline nuts, but I'm still glad I got all that off my chest. Anyway, here's the Ten:

1. Thievery Corporation, "Focus on Sight"
2. U2, "Exit"
3. Moby, "Oil 1"
4. Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Around the World"
5. U2, "Bullet the Blue Sky"
6. Moby, "Inside"
7. The Dust Brothers, "Marla"
8. Richard Cheese, "Only Happy When It Rains"
9. The Dust Brothers, "Medulla Oblongata"
10. The House of Love, "I Don't Know Why I Love You"

All right, readers, now it's time to fess up to your own hangups and compunctions (and throw your own Random Tens in the comments thread there while you're at it).


Anonymous said... I know why I never get to see you when I visit AL - I have germs, I probably am "musky" on occasion, and I throw away dog food bags without any problem! (though those adds on TV for the "we're for dogs" or the ASPCA really bring tears near the surface). Sigh...

NCT said...

Most of my obsessive compulsions were never terribly strong, and most have gotten even weaker with old age. But I'm still a victim to a few. With me, it's numbers -- preferrably squares: a cup of coffee gets 25 stirs, for example.

I tend to take sets of stairs two steps at a time. When I was at UGA, I learned quickly whether any given set of stairs was even or odd, so I'd know whether to step on or skip the first in order to finish at the top (or bottom, depending on the direction). This started when I lived in Reed as a freshman and my first class was chemistry. Of course, I had all the stairwells in the dorm mastered, and it took only one trip up all those concrete steps alongside the southeast corner of Sanford to master them. I suspect that if you plopped me down in the Academic Building, anywhere in the law school, Park Hall, Baldwin Hall, Moore College, Grad Studies, LeConte, or any of the outdoor steps, and I'd always skip the penultimate step.

Once and only once, that I remember, did I feel compelled to go back to the bottom and start over after having gotten it wrong.

1. R.E.M., "Welcome to the Occupation"
2. Elton John, "Nikita"
3. Chicago, "25 or 6 to 4"
4. Aimee Mann, "Wise Up"
5. 10,000 Maniacs, "The Painted Desert"
6. The Who, "Pinball Wizard"
7. Billy Joel, "Goodnight Saigon"
8. R.E.M., "Old Man Kensey"
9. R.E.M., "Catapult"
10. Cowboy Junkies, "To Lay Me Down"

Ok. So here's another problem that might be described by some as obsessive-compulsive, in a way. I have as yet been unable to bring myself to put an isolated track on my iPhone. I have an overwhelming bias for albums that I have not been able to shake. I've already damaged my soul somewhat by purchasing and loading a few "greatest hits" albums (and every time "Every day I Write the Book" comes up, I cry a little bit on the inside). But I'm sure I'll be damned for all time if I wrench a solitary track from an album.

beast in 'bama said...

Gotta get my boxer shorts at K-Mart...Boxer shorts. K-Mart!

Anonymous said...

Whenever I get the check at a resturant and I pay with a debit/credit card, I use the tip to ''even'' the bill. So if the price of my meal is say $14. 47, the tip will have $0.53 so that my final amount is a whole dollar amount. I'm the same with gas. I have to have a whole dollar amount.

I look forward to daylights saving time because I enjoy changing all the clocks in my house for some reason.

I've become borderline obsessed with making sure I have no visible nose hair. Now that I'm older and actually have nose hair, I'm absolutely repulsed by the sight of it and trim my hose hair at least every other day.

I keep one month of old text messages on my phone. Meaning that on the first of June, I will erase all the texts (inbox, outbox, pic messages) from the month of April. I do this every first of the month.

And finally, if I don't use Listerine within one minute of waking up I start to feel kinda sick. This one is annoying especialy if I wake up somewhere other than my house. I'll either (a) raid my host's bathroom, (b) drive home, or (c) drive to a gas station/drug store. This is a new one, but its my strongest one.

1. ''Buildings and Mountains'' - Republic Tigers
2. ''Where is My Mind'' - The Pixies
3. ''She Sells Santcuary'' - The Cult
4. ''Daria'' - Cake
5. ''Neutron Dance'' - Pointer Sisters
6. ''My Michele'' - Guns n Roses
7. ''Two Princes'' - Spin Doctors
8. ''Fake Palindrones'' - Andrew Bird
9. ''Get Ready'' - Southern Bitch
10. ''Beautiful Boy'' - Celine Dion (don't laugh, its a good version)

Anonymous said...


Holly said...

I have incredibly tiny but prehensile toes, and when I drop a pencil, a dish towel, whatever, I always pick it up with my foot and toss it to my hand.

1. MGMT - Time to Pretend
2. Lights - Last Thing On Your Mind
3. Goldfrapp - Some People
4. Phantom Planet - Do The Panic
5. Bon Iver - The Wolves
6. M83 - Graveyard Girl
7. Chikita Violenta - War
8. Rodrigo y Gabriela - Tamacun
9. New Order - Your Silent Face
10. MST3K - Let's Have A Patrick Swayze Christmas

Anonymous said...

I thought I was the only one that held my breath, but I do it when I pass most people on the street. I also end all my gas taxes in a "3". Same deal as you, I consider it my lucky number and it is my birthday.

No random ten, as my laptop battery is down and I am almost out the door. Have a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

My wife can pick stuff up with her toes. She can also shoot birds at people with them. It's a great talent to have when tact or normal civility prohibits you from doing it conventionally.

Doug, not long ago, I said you were a genius. So was Van Gogh. Seek help, man. ;-)

Universal Remonster said...

I kiss my hand and touch the ceiling of my car everytime I drive through a yellow light.

Anonymous said...

I raise my middle finger and aim it at the Georgia Tech campus every time I drive on that part of I-85. Of course, that's not really an OCD hangup as it is a really fun thing to do.

Todd Jones said...

I count to five constantly and absolutely cannot stand wearing socks without shoes or having my fingers touching each other.

Anonymous said...

When ever a jogger is approaching me and it is a girl I have to look at her chest to see if she has big boobies. Actually, I do this whether she is jogging or not.

Tantra Flower said...

If that's all of them, you're alright!!! In fact all but one of them make perfect sense to me. If I posted my entire list, you feel much better but it would be too embarrassing and take too long. Everything in threes or numbers divisible by three; terrible phobia of chewing gum -- so much so I will walk out on a date if he puts gum in his mouth; everything must have a mathematical pattern to it, etc. etc. etc.

Random 10 from my easy listening (hangover) list on
1.Trouble - Ray Lamontagne
2.Turn Me On - Norah Jones
3.Peking Saint - Cat Power
4.Crazy (Live Lounge) - Nelly Furtado
5.Blue Moon Revisited - Cowboy Junkies
6.Somewhere Down the Crazy River - Robbie Robertson
7.Innocent Bones - Iron and Wine
8.Say Goodbye - Eva Cassidy
9.And the Tide Rushes In - Moody Blues
10.Long Way Home - Tom Waits

Anonymous said...

Uh, tantra flower, I have heard you somewhat plaintive about not having a permanent relationship, but if you are walking out on every guy who chews gum.....well, you might want to think about that is all I am saying.

Anonymous said...

Jeezus, Fescue. You have more problems if you're a 3.6% tipper.


Tantra Flower said...

So noted, Anonymous. Thank you.

jkelsofarrell said...

I can't touch paper bags.

Rubbing paper on carpet sets me into spasms of pain.

Wet wool makes my skin crawl.

I must perform the LSU first down song whenever I see Mike the Tiger, a mascot of Mike the Tiger, or a cartoon of Mike the Tiger.

Anonymous said...

Doug: I did not know you were Woody Allen's son.

Josh: I shoot GTU the finger, too!