Linear Label Laws

2 Sep

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What IS a “Linear Label Law,” one might ask? 

I didn’t invent it, I only named it.  Lots of fellow OCDers practice it religiously as well, and I thought that for their sake, I’d help spread the word a little, to the “normals.”  That way, if you find yourself stepping into a home which screams the obvious tell-signs, you can cooperate accordingly, and maybe not be a dick about it.

…The Linear Label Law is a two-part regulation regarding both height order and presentation, which specifies that everything within every cupboard, refrigerator, bookcase…or flat surface in general, obey the certain categorization requirements usually reserved for library shelving on the dewy decimal system.  Depending on the inclinations of said OCDer, some or all of the following must be categorized, either alphabetically, within their specified genre of existence, paired out occasionally by color or type, and/or height…but must ALWAYS (without exception) have their labels facing outward. Obeisance is required.

Always.

I’ve been a practitioner of this law for quite some time, but thankfully have never reached the stage where I feel the need to walk around correcting other people’s lack of implementation.  I can sit at a restaurant table and not become obsessed with categorizing the jams and jellies or putting all the sugar packets in order. I can visit a friend’s house and not become completely distracted by incorrect picture hanging alignment, or colors touching other colors in arrangements of things that would drive me totally bat-shit within the walls of my own home.  Basically, unless it belongs to me directly, I don’t feel responsible to “rescue” said items from whatever egregious error is taking place in their regards (like an upside down book on a shelf for instance.)  If it isn’t mine, the bastard is totally on its own.  And this, I suspect, is due in two parts to:

1) Working with men all day long who never put anything back or away, at any time, ever.

2) My Shrink once saying, “You could totally be worse right now…for instance what if you had this issue?”

…The first part, is like when obsessive compulsives have children. Working with Men is basically the same thing. Part of the OCD has to recede in these cases, otherwise you would worry yourself into impossible perfection-oblivion by never sleeping, eating or resting ever again.  The second part scared the shit out of me, mostly because I already had motor skill, speaking, sleeping, and anxiety issues to the extreme. The thought that I could be worse, damn near sent me into an episode right there in my Shrink’s office.

The long and short of it is: I may not be on a Grand Poobah scale of Linear Label Lawing, but it is still a taxing enterprise to keep up with, even if only in the confines of my own person, office, and home.

…This is helped (in no way) by the fact that there is something special about this law…(like the one about “No Parking” signs)…that makes people in the vicinity who know about it, immediately want to break it.

Almost nothing delights people more than to incorrectly file a contract to an entirely different category, turn the beans label facing backward, write in blue ink all over my desk calendar, swap the stapler home with the tape, move the milk to another shelf, stack the lobby brochures in all the wrong order, attack the cork board postings with thumbtacks like it was a shooting gallery…or put the short bottle in the back, on the bar.

…Most of the time, this is not done in the spirit of meanness…it is 85% of the time, just out of curiosity. Like a game, they wait for me to exit a room and then watch upon my return to see how long it takes me to sense the error through the very vibrations of the element changes in the air.

…Which is all done in karmic pay-back of course. 

I used to do this same exact thing to my Aunt, once. 

…With the ever patience of Job, she would return and carry on an entire conversation while readjusting every single alteration to a room that we had made.  It was fascinating.  How did she manage it?!  She must be a Wizard!  Or at the very least a clairvoyant!  How could one know the mere millimeters change in a picture frame angle, in which magazine was on top of the others…which order the books are in on the shelf, and that “this” do-hicky, goes on “that” do-hicky in natural grouping selection and presentation?

…It took me about a decade to figure it out.

…And then, it seemed that one day: I just knew.

And I can never “un-know” it ever again.

It can be exhausting, let me tell yuh.

…Hold that thought. I have to go fix the coaster stack on the table.  BRB…

~D

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