I Bring It On Myself, I Really Do
One way in which this tendency manifests itself is a disconcerting need for perfection when it comes to certain things. If I can't have that thing perfect, then I don't have it at all. If I can't do that thing perfectly, I don't do it at all.
If I know that not having or doing or being some thing perfectly will stress me out beyond belief, then I avoid it.
I think this is a lot to blame for the fact that I haven't yet become a published author. I find the possibility of failure...of not writing the perfect book, and having the perfect literary career, unacceptable. So I languish in anonymity here on the internet.
Kind of pathetic, really.
Another manifestation is my love of symmetry. You will not find anything in my house that is not balanced or matched. Eclectisism is not a trend that I embrace except when it comes to literature and music, because visual cacophany causes me physical pain. If it is within my power to right the wrong, I do. I can't stand not to.
This amuses my children to no end.
Most of the time, they indulge me. But sometimes, they take great delight in exploiting this characteristic for their own amusement.
Every year, they derive great pleasure from arguing with me about the fact that the candy canes on the tree must all face the same direction. I know. It's stupid. I realize this. But I can't STAND to have them any other way.
"It doesn't matter Mom. Nobody is going to notice that they're not all facing the same direction"
"I'll notice. Please make put them on facing the same direction."
"Yeah Mom, it's not like the universe will implode if they face different ways."
"No, but I might. Just do as I ask, please."
They roll their eyes. They put a few on backwards just to see if I'm going to suffer an apoplexy before their very eyes. They don't get the spectacle of an apoplexy, but they do get a thunderous look and an exasperated sigh. Giggling, they set things to rights.
The other night Husband and I sat in the living room admiring the tree, which, I have to admit, is very pretty, even if it is entirely too large for the space into which it has been wedged.
It has a pleasingly symmetrical shape, which, of course, I find entirely charming. We put all our sentimental ornaments on the tree first, and then fill in with candycanes, dangling golden icicles, and simple red balls.
As a finishing touch, red ribbon cascades from the top in several strategically placed curlicues, topped by a bedraggled (it fell apart after many years of use and I didn't do a very artful job of putting it back together) but satisfactorily matching bow.
It's our tree and it's unlike any other. I sighed, having at last found some measure of joy and contentment amid the chaos and commercialism of a season I have come to dread.
Suddenly, Husband gave a strangled snort.
"What is it?"
"Well it must be something. What is it?"
"Uh. When's the last time you took a good look at the tree?"
"I look at it every day. Why?"
I gave him the hairy eyeball, to no avail. I sat there, pondering what the big mystery could be, and suddenly, it dawned on me.
"There are backwards candy canes on the tree, aren't there?"
"I'll never tell."
I got up to investigate. Sure enough, there, nestled deeply amongst the innermost branches, were several candy canes, facing the wrong direction.
I did not go all apoplectic. Instead, I found myself smiling.
And I didn't fix them.
Because it's funny. Really, flippin funny. Even if I am the butt of the joke.