Slightly Obsessive ***UPDATED***

So now I've finished reading At Home and I'm halfway through Toni Jordan's debut novel, Addition. Grace, the narrator, has an obsession with numbers, especially the number 10. She counts everything - steps to the supermarket, bristles in her toothbrush. She has to take exactly 10 strokes to wipe down the table; she cuts her fruit into 10, and exactly 10, pieces.

I feel sympathetic toward Grace because I reckon I am a tiny bit the same. Not that my life is ruled by numbers, but there are certain things I need to be just so, or I feel uneasy. I can't relax with an open drawer or wardrobe door in the room. I like the dishwasher stacked in a certain order. I can't leave my bed unmade. I have a complex 6-day haircare routine. I don't like to share my towel or toothbrush or my pens, though it's almost impossible to avoid this in a family home. I've recently realised that I don't care to share a suitcase either, even with my beloved on a romantic weekend. I know it doesn't make sense, but I just don't wanna.  I differ from Grace in that I don't need these rules to keep panic at bay, but order comforts me.

However, there are other things I will cheerfully let slide. Flowers can stay dead in a vase for weeks. Notices remain unreturned to school long after they're due. Dust doesn't bother me. And I don't feel compelled to wash and minutely sort every piece of rubbish, as, for example, my father does*, or keep a record of all household expenditure on a spreadsheet, as does my beloved**. Maybe we are all slightly obsessive about something, it's just that we're all obsessive about different things.

So what's your slight obsession?

* My father wishes it to be known that he is not "a batty old man," but sorts and cleans these items so that they may be recycled more readily. I apologise that this was not made more clear in the body of the post. (Love you, Dad!)
** My beloved points out that I can also leave the vacuum cleaner sitting in the hallway for up to a week. Hm, this appears to be true.


  1. It's weird having a (temporary) medical condition which necessitates obsessiveness. I have to eat a certain way, get a certain amount of exercise (I find I need about 20 minutes worth after EVERY meal, and it doesn't work to do it all at once) and record my blood readings 2 hours after each meal, which means no snacking, not even sticking a piece of carrot in my mouth while I'm making the kids' lunches, or absent mindedly finishing off their toast crusts if I've already had my breakfast. I have to air this obsessiveness too, I got cranky at a cafe for not having skinny milk (but it's organic!), I have to tell people what to cook for me if I am going to their place for dinner...

  2. don't get me started, kate... Having said that i will get started. I have a paranoia about burning the convent down. I check the heater is off about three times before i leave every night (it automatically goes off at six anyway). ditto i turn off Mary Mac at the wall (and check again). But the weird thing is that in the past couple of weeks the heater has been on when I arrive in the morning! Is it a ghost I ask myself? It's very odd considering my obsession... jx