Lockdown Day 68: Wild Thing / Encierro Día 68: Cosa Salvaje

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

I HAVE CDO. DON’T WORRY. It’s nothing serious. It’s like OCD* but the letters are in alphabetical order.

Many of you know by now how I tend to arrange things in the refrigerator or in the kitchen cupboards. My goal has always been to ensure that everything is aligned, all labels face forward, and, if possible, products are readable across a shelf.

For example: San Geraldo drinks Coca Cola. My usual strategy is to place the cans on the refrigerator shelf so that not only do they all face forward but they also read across. If the style of the can means only the word Coca or the word Cola can be visible at one time, then the cans must be placed side-by-side so they read from left to right: CocaCola. When a Coca (or a Cola) is removed, the shelf still reads correctly. Really. Remember, I’m the one that alphabetizes the spice rack, although I hardly ever use a spice.

I’ve been working in recent months to loosen up and, the truth is, I’ve been successful. As long as things are neat and orderly, I don’t really care (well I do a little — and, some days, a lot) which way the labels are facing. Two Coca Cola cans side-by-side do not always have to read across as Coca Cola. Their faces can look at me and say Coca Coca, or even Cola Cola, or they can even not read at all, and I’m no longer bothered — too much — sometimes.

I still have some issues when the tractors are grading the beach. When I’m out walking, I don’t want to ruin the smoothed lanes being made in the sand. I will walk far to one side to avoid leaving tracks. And it makes me a little crazy when everyone else doesn’t follow my lead. What if the tractor driver is like me? He’d have to keep redoing his lanes.

But, yesterday morning I decided to be wild and free. I walked in a freshly plowed lane. Yes, I did. And I won’t be doing that again!

*OCD: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder


TENGO COT. NO TE PREOCUPÁS. No es nada serio. Es como TCO* pero las letras están en orden alphabético.

Muchos de vosotros ya sabéis cómo tiendo a arreglar las cosas en el refrigerador o en los armarios de la cocina. Mi objetivo siempre ha sido asegurar que todo esté alineado, que todas las etiquetas estén orientadas hacia adelante y, si es posible, que los productos se puedan leer en un estante.

Por ejemplo: San Geraldo bebe Coca Cola. Mi estrategia habitual es colocar las latas en el estante del refrigerador para que, no solo estén todas orientadas hacia adelante, sino que también lean. Si el estilo de la lata significa que solo la palabra Coca o la palabra Cola pueden ser visibles al mismo tiempo, entonces las latas deben colocarse una al lado de la otra para que puedan leer de izquierda a derecha: CocaCola. Cuando se retira una Coca (o una Cola), el estante aún se lee correctamente. De verdad. Recuerdes, yo soy el que alfabetiza el estante de especias, aunque casi nunca uso una especia.

He estado trabajando en los últimos meses para relajarme y, la verdad es que he tenido exito. Mientras las cosas estén ordenadas y ordenadas, realmente no me importa (bueno, me importa un poco, y, algunos días, mucho) en qué dirección se enfrentan las etiquetas. Dos latas de Coca Cola juntas no siempre tienen que leerse como Coca Cola. Sus rostros pueden mirarme y decir Coca Coca, o incluso Cola Cola, o incluso no pueden leer nada, y ya no me molesta, demasiado, a veces.

Todavía tengo algún problema cuando los tractores están nivelando la arena. En mis mañanas en la playa, no quiero arruinar los senderos suavizados que se hacen en la arena. Camino lejos hacia un lado para evitar dejar huellas. Y me vuelve un poco loco cuando todos los demás no siguen mi ejemplo. ¿Qué pasa si el conductor del tractor es como yo? Tendría que seguir rehaciendo sus carriles.

Pero, ayer por la mañana decidí ser salvaje y libre. Caminé por un camino recién arado. Sí, lo hice. ¡Y no lo volveré a hacer!

*TOC: Trastorno Obsesivo-Compulsivo

How I used to do it. / Como solía hacerlo.


Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

40 thoughts on “Lockdown Day 68: Wild Thing / Encierro Día 68: Cosa Salvaje”

    1. Susan:
      And it’s so inconsistent. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve worked on something and said, “Oh what the hell. That’s good enough.”

  1. OK, your fridge is WAY neater than ours. I always kept my CDs alphabetized (and my vinyl, back when I had vinyl), but I don’t worry about product labels facing forward or alphabetized spices. 🙂 (I just wish we had FEWER spices.)

    1. Steve:
      I always kept our CDs alphabetized. But they were in a floor-standing storage cabinet and every time we got a new one, I’d have to rearrange every compartment. When we moved to Spain, we didn’t want to move all those individual cases (382 at the time). So, I then numbered them all, created a spreadsheet that can be sorted by name, by number, and other parameters; and then I put them into two CD binders with sleeves (each side of a page holds 4 CDs). Instead of putting them in alphabetically (or some other way more obvious), I sorted them by number and for some odd reason I didn’t number them in the alphabetical order in which they had originally been sorted. So, NOW, whenever I want to play something, I have to look it up on the index (which is in a sleeve at the front of each of the two binders), find the number, and then page through to it. It’s a royal pain the ass… which reminds me: I need to sort by alphabetical order and redo the damn thing!

    1. anne marie:
      I’m not OCD (or CDO) about everything, but kitchen cabinets and refrigerator shelves can make me a little crazy. So, yes, I probably WOULD shit bricks if I saw your fridge.

  2. Interesting how we all, at some point in our lives, see the need to start controlling what we can……..seemingly for some peace of mind. Humans can be complex, eh?
    Always amazed at how your beaches are maintained. I suppose being a tourist destination it is paramount to keep everything up to par.
    Now, go walk behind that tractor and make those tracks your own!
    Have a good one, Mitch.

    1. Jim:
      The city takes incredible care of the beaches and streets year-round. And that’s not easy when it’s filled with tourists (especially the ones who are inconsiderate). You’re right about controlling what we can. When I’m feeling especially stressed or vulnerable, I organized something and it gives me that sense of control again.

  3. Isn’t the red can with the black and green stripe enough of an identifier? Our fridge is a constantly changing landscape of recent purchases and leftovers and things thawing for tomorrow’s dinner, and even if it looks disorganized, there is (usually) a method to my madness.

    1. Frank:
      Oh, you clearly don’t understand me (not easy). It’s not a matter of knowing what anything is at a glance. It’s a sense of aesthetics. And order out of chaos (which is what my mind would be if I didn’t organize things).

  4. Bet you felt guilty as hell after messing up the beach. Guess that’s why you won’t be doing that again. 🙂

    1. Mary:
      I DID feel guilty as hell. But I DID do it today. I forced myself. I’ll soon share the images (after I take a pill or have a drink… or maybe both).

  5. At times we all need to take a walk on the wild side. This is a first step. You and J would get along well on that, it takes him hours to fold laundry, it has to be done right. I see nothing wrong with the way I do it.

    1. David:
      I am so inconsistent. I find folding laundry boring usually. I have a routine, but my mother would not approve of the precision of my folds. And fitted sheets? Unless I’m in an especially serene mood, I figure their wrinkles will come out when I make the bed.

  6. My fridge is neatly arranged too. My spice drawer is arranged, not alphabetically, but by frequency of use — the ones I use a lot are most easily accessible and the infrequently used ones are harder to get at.

    1. Debra:
      Your spice organization makes perfect sense. Since I don’t use anything, I would know where to begin. SG would… but he’s a holy disaster when it comes to putting stuff away. Once I alphabetized, I told him to just leave whatever he uses on the counter and I’ll put it away.

  7. Oh Mitchell, you and I are sooooo much alike.
    While i like neatness and order, I draw a line at pointing things in one direction and aligning labels no matter how well-organized it looks.

    That said, i wouldn’t walk on the freshly leveled sand.

    1. Bob:
      You guys need to come to Spain and you and I can walk on the beach together.

  8. David came into my room just now to tell me I had to read this post. To say I was positively enchanted is not enough. Ah! A man after my own heart! Be assured that you are a fine person and doing things the right way–the way everyone should do them. The Coke cans may properly be allowed some lassitude, but you must keep the spices in alphabetical order. How else can you find what you’re looking for? Lately, grocery stores have not been doing so and it is most annoying to have to hunt for celeriac when it’s sitting next to the turmeric. Grrrr! David thought it quite odd when I put the species in alpha order when we first moved in together, but I like to think he now sees the wisdom and virtue of the practice. (And yes, my illusions are very important to me.) David also remarked that we probably fold laundry in much the same way, except that each of us would contend the way we did it was more correct. He knows me so well… Cheers from the capital of the world of make-believe. — J.

    1. J:
      I never knew you were wickedhamster! How did I miss that? Sorry. I’m so glad you enjoyed this story. I have some old stories to tell on this same topic. I’ll have to share them soon… especially about the first time I alphabetized our spices and SG’s reaction. Sadly, I have to confess that you probably wouldn’t approve of my laundry folding. SOMETIMES, I’m very precise. But, mostly, I quickly fold and say, “Oh, that’s good enough.” I’m nothing if not inconsistent.

      1. I’ve used several different identities throughout my life. Keeps the assassins of my trail.

      2. wickedhamster:
        Well, it looks like we just blew another one of your covers.

  9. *Sigh* I wish that I had the type of OCD that makes one neater. That is only a sometime thought, because when I see my sisters’ anal retentiveness I’m glad to give it a pass 🙂 I don’t know what this “folding of the laundry” is, another pass for me. Don’t get me wrong, I do like neat, clean and, above all else, colorful. I just don’t want to be the one to do the neatening and cleaning. I can do colorful like a boss! I don’t know what that means but it sounds good. I do take time to talk to folks who are straightening things up around me in stores and such. They need acknowledging, especially if you’re walking pass them on the floor they just mopped. I must admit, however, that I would be skipping (hobbling) behind that sand cleaner upper. Sand should looked lived in, without trash though. Thus speaketh the slob.

    1. Deedles:
      One of my staff, when I managed a publications office, bought me a coffee mug that asked: Does Anal Retentive Have a Hyphen? (It depends on how you’re using it.) Some of the seating areas along the beach (you pay for a chair and umbrella for the day) actually rake the sand with a huge flat smoother each morning). THAT to me is bizarre and I won’t go to any place that does that. First I think it looks kind of silly and (B) I’m not going to be the one to mess it up after they did all that work and (3) the minute someone walks on it, the entire aesthetic is gone. Leaving it natural looks much better.

  10. I was driving back from Denver, Colorado heading for Boulder where I lived at the time. All of my nieces were in the car and my sister sitting in the passenger seat. Radio on. Wild Things came on. I was so excited and started singing along. They all started laughing so hard. Said it was the silliest song they had ever heard. That, my friend, is the first sign I was getting old.

    Tom and Dimi

    1. Tom:
      Don’t you hate that? I can get away with a lot here because many of these songs never made it to Spain. So age often has nothing to do with it. But, oddly, there are some OLD songs that even our 20-something friends know well. Some are because of American films, but other times I can’t figure out why. (But, come to think of it, it IS kind of a silly song… and I STILL love it.)

      1. Before the lock down had you two ever travelled to Malorcia? Does SG know about that island? My late friend Philip spent most of his life living there with his long time partner Jamie, before gay marriage was anything but a crime. I loved that place. The last house he built was in Alcudia. I would sure love to know what happened to that place. Phil and Jamie were architectural artist, not just a couple of guys who built houses. Talk about COD.

    1. Cheapchick:
      SG was overdue for a trip to the supermarket. But, I DO try to keep up on things.

  11. You aint the only one dear. I’m the same way! With my OCD, I’m also very anal retentive. Drove my ex nuts. Wai…..t is that dirt on the corner of your screen Mitchell?!?!?!?!? You have to CLEAN that screen daily Mitch, all OVER!!!! Im sorry…. It’s not you I’m mad at, IT’S THE DIRT!

    1. Mistress Maddie:
      Ugh! SG will hand me his iPad or I’ll look over his shoulder at his computer screen and it takes all my self-control to not get out the cleaner. And don’t get me started on the 547 file icons (rough estimate) on his desktop.

  12. I like having things in alphabetical order, too, the evidence of which can clearly be seen in my spice drawer. I have a more elaborate system for my books. I also have another specific type of OCD that falls in the same category as people who pull out their hair. I used to pick at the skin around my nails and at my cuticles. I finally asked online what I should do (medication didn’t help). The answer was acrylic nails and regular manicures. Since I haven’t been able to get my nails done, I’ve been pretty stable except for my left thumb.


    1. Janie Junebug:
      I have always done that same thing to my nails and cuticles (my entire life)… but only thumbs and especially my right one. But I don’t think I’d be comfortable with acrylic nails. Hmmm… maybe just my thumbs?

  13. i like for things to be neat and orderly, but am too lazy to make it happen. Perhaps if I lived alone. No, who am I kidding? The only thing that is neat are the drawers with my clothes. I would send you a picture of the fridge, but it might kill you.

    1. Wilma:
      I’ll have to share pictures of some of my dresser drawers (not ONE bottom one, though, because then I’d have to kill YOU). I’m all about appearances. Don’t dig too deep.

  14. My spices are (mostly) on lazy susans. I must have the labels pointing out from the middle, so they can be read. And I must have each spice kept in its usual location. I can always find what I’m looking for that way (I see them in my mind). Unless someone (he knows who he is) puts them back in the wrong place. “Where’s the friggin’ celery seed?!” I will hear him exclaim. Normally I will reach in and grab it, first try. Unless he’s been using spices and put them back in the WRONG spaces. Of course, he has no patience for searching, he gives up easily, so I usually search for and find the misplaced jar, then put it back where it BELONGS. Harumph. I like my CDO. Or in French, TCO (Trouble obsessionnel compulsif)

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      I’ll have to tell our spice rack story (and in Spanish). I LOVE lazy Susans. I had our spices on two double-decker ones and kept them alphabetized — since putting them in location by use would be pointless in my case. I told SG to just leave out whatever he used and I’d put it away … Otherwise it ended up like it does in your house.

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