The coffee machine was whirring to life, and while the water heated, I poked through the little decorative bucket where the packets of Equal are stashed.
In the bucket, there were piles of blue packets, but there were different illustrations printed on each one. "Do Your Drink Justice," "Power to the Packet," and "Ban the Bland." There were a few different strawberry-themed logos, too.
I've written before about my slight OCD tendencies. The eight sips of juice. My woofer-sniffing moments (oh how embarrassing, why am I bringing that up again?). And I also need for my packets of sugar substitute to match. The pictures have to match, both packets have to be right-side up, and facing the same way. I cannot function any other way. It's not certifiably OCD, but it's a borderline trait. And until last week, no one had noticed. Not even Chris.
So as my coffee was brewing, and not thinking I was being watched, I picked rabidly through the packets until I found two that matched (throwing back ones that didn't as though they were fish that were too small), lined them up, and ripped them open.
"What are you doing?" Oh shit. Co-worker saw me flitting through the bucket in search of matching packets.
"Oh, nothing." The blush crept up my face without my permission. "Okay, I was looking for matching packets."
"What?" He laughed and put his mug on the countertop while I flustered.
"The packets. Of Equal. They have to match. I have to use matching packet thingies."
He raised an eyebrow.
"It's normal. It's totally normal." My coffee spluttered to a finish and I grabbed my mug, grateful for something to do with my hands.
"It's very normal, Kerri. Completely." He was polite enough to keep the laughter in his eyes, but I could see the tug of a smirk.
I laughed, too. I get the joke.
But these OCD tendencies are just little snapshots of me trying to control things. Sometimes my blood sugars aren't reigned in very well, and I compensate by making long lists of work-to-dos that calm my nerves. I'll hit the gym every weeknight because I can control my attendance. My checkbook is balanced to the very penny, to keep tight tabs on my controllable finances. I'm constantly micro-managing other aspects of my life in efforts to compensate for what I can't control in total.
(I'm also known to micro-manage my diabetes, hence my meeting with the Minimed rep this afternoon. Real-time blood sugars in efforts to best control my body's natural inclination to fail me. Control, control, control.)
Sometimes it feels like trying to spin the universe in a different direction.