OCD church lady.
[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=obsessed&iid=5073282″ src=”http://view2.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/5073282/mother-putting-helmet-son/mother-putting-helmet-son.jpg?size=500&imageId=5073282″ width=”380″ height=”285″ /]Some people just beg to be the subject of a blog entry. OCD church lady asked for it twice.
The first time I encountered OCD church lady (let’s just call her “O” for short), she actually tiptoed down the aisle to the empty seat next to me ever so stealthily. I have no idea why she needed to be stealthy as in this particular church everyone seems to think it’s okay to yell over the organist’s carefully prepared Bach prelude until someone tells them, in a nice way of course, to shut up and pay attention to important things like the announcements.
At any rate, O tiptoed on her prissy patent pointy pumps and set her prissy patent purse on the chair next to me. Then she spoke. I expected the usual, “Is anyone sitting here?” But no. O pointed to her husband and announced “We’re going potty.”
“Okay,” I said in my reflexive mommy response to any request to go potty. Then I gaped after her prancing prettily down the aisle in her jaunty nautical boiled wool suit with its gold crest followed by her equally nautical husband on their way to “the potty.” Mind you, this woman was at least 60 years old. At least she didn’t ask me if she could go tinkle.
Hank, on the other side of me, must have noticed my unusual expression.
“What did she say?” he asked.
“They’re going potty,” I said.
We managed to stifle our giggles and we averted our eyes when they returned from their trip to go tee tee.
[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=obsessed&iid=5234472″ src=”http://view4.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/5234472/obsessive-woman-cleaning/obsessive-woman-cleaning.jpg?size=500&imageId=5234472″ width=”380″ height=”308″ /]
This of course ruined the sermon for me as I spent the time wondering what it must have been like to grow up as one of her children, then how I could make her into a blog post. But there wasn’t enough material, so I put the thought aside until the very next week.
Mind you, this church is enormous. There are 2,700 members and probably a couple of thousand more non-members who show up for four (or is it five?) services every Sunday. The music is tremendous (I wish the congregation would shut up during the prelude…) and the pastor is spot-on (meaning he agrees with me most of the time).
The next week Hank was sick and didn’t go to church, Daniel was in youth group, and I arrived slightly later than usual. This is fine if you’re alone because you can usually find a single seat in a pretty good location. I scanned the floor and spotted my seat which, of course, was in the middle of a row. I, in my clog-like shoes, crushed a few toes on my way in and whacked at least one person in the back of the head with my oversize vinyl purse, but “excuse me” healed things. I plopped into a seat and didn’t look at the woman next to me until….
She tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Do you mind?” as she reached her hand behind me.
I said, “No,” assuming she wanted to get a hymnal from the rack behind my seat and directed my attention to trying to hear the prelude.
But then she began to pick hairs off my (non-boiled) wool jacket.
[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=obsessed&iid=5072983″ src=”http://view2.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/5072983/chambermaid-ironing-sheet/chambermaid-ironing-sheet.jpg?size=500&imageId=5072983″ width=”380″ height=”253″ /]That very morning I had pulled this jacket out of its dry cleaning bag thinking “Well, at least I don’t have to pick the dog hairs off this morning,” and then I dashed out the door. I remember to remove the dog hairs about half the time even though I wear black a lot because I live the Pacific Northwest where you get exiled if you don’t wear black even in August. Of course, I forgot that my head had just the day before decided to start divesting itself of all the chemo-induced grey hair which, naturally, landed on my black wool shoulders.
[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=perfection&iid=5079609″ src=”http://view.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/5079609/woman-standing-ladder/woman-standing-ladder.jpg?size=500&imageId=5079609″ width=”234″ height=”360″ /]As I turned to look at the hair picker, with yet another gaping expression on my face, I observed that this woman was my buddy O. Out of all those thousands of people in that church I had managed again to sit next to The Mother of All OCD Church Ladies. There were enough hairs on my shoulder to keep O happy and busy through the entire prelude and all of the announcements.
I’m the first to appreciate it when someone tells me I have spinach on my teeth or that my slip is showing. In this instance, though, I felt like I was in the primate cage getting a public grooming and I was tempted to ask her if she wouldn’t mind finishing the job by picking through my hair and eating any parasites she might find. Better yet, I should have asked her if she needed to go potty.
So what are the take-homes here? First, if you’ve never been frustrated by The Woman Who Does Everything More Perfectly than You, you might be an OCD church lady. Second, if you don’t understand why the statement “My house is the one with the amber and mauve Christmas lights,” is annoying, you’re a likely candidate for OCD church lady-ness. Third, if it’s easier for you to do everything at church because that’s the only way it will ever be done right, you are an OCD church lady. Finally, if you are right now obsessing about whether or not you’re an OCD church lady, you definitely are.