Issues, I Have a Couple

There is a television commercial I’ve seen several times lately while watching sports. I think it is a beer commercial. Which is probably a given. A young man comes home and asks his wife/girlfriend who the stranger on the couch is. Turns out it is a previous resident of the apartment, who is preparing to watch the 49ers play on TV. He tells them that the last time he lived there, he lived in that apartment, watched every game from that exact spot, and the Niners won the Super Bowl. He pulls the couch forward, adjusts it a little, and keeps making minute adjustments until he finds the perfect spot and smiles and says, “This exact spot.”

The couple shrugs to each other and then sit down with the man, happily watching the game together.

I really hadn’t given this commercial much thought until this morning, after adjusting the angle of my monitor for the nth time. It’s an iMac, and the monitor tilts forward or back on an axis, and of course I can angle it left or right. I’m constantly messing with it. Sometimes I get distracted by the angles my speakers are facing. If I turn 90 degrees to my right, I have my work laptop in a docking station to the right of a second monitor and keyboard; same thing here, I’m always adjusting everything. Under my desk chair is one of those plastic floor protector things, and it isn’t quite big enough to service the two positions my chair is in. I often need to adjust it if I can feel an edge under one of the wheels. It will jab and jab at my attention once I notice it, and won’t subside until I make the adjustment. Kind of like a ticking clock when one is trying to sleep; acknowledge it and you’re doomed to sleeplessness until you pull the battery from the damn thing.

What I’m saying is that, while generally easy going, I can be extremely anal and borderline OCD about things, especially when I sit down at my desk.

I don’t like a messy workspace. I’ve been traveling the past few weeks, home only for two-to-three days at a time, and housekeeping has lagged in my office. Mail is piled up, mixed in with books and magazines I need to read. I have four separate piles of receipts I need to sort for filling out my expense reports. There are certainly tufts of dog hair piled up in all the hidden spots. I can’t see them, but I can feel them there, lurking at the edge of my attention, distracting me.

If I’m going to get anything productive done this week before leaving again next, I need to make some adjustments in here. Tweak the chair position. Clean off the monitor (don’t get me started on the greasy streaks on my phone) and then see it properly adjusted again. Dust. Swab the decks.

Then again, maybe it’s just procrastination. Easy to not get anything done when one can throw the hands up and say, “How can I be expected to get a single thing done in here!”

I’m certain I’m not the only one with these kinds of quirks. . . .

the nagging scene, in 90 degree panorama


Author: Chris

Chris La Tray is a writer, a walker, and a photographer. He is an enrolled member of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians and lives in Missoula, MT.

8 thoughts on “Issues, I Have a Couple”

  1. Oh, you are so not alone. I’m constantly straightening things. Doesn’t even have to be my own house, could be a stack of postcards on a counter in public. Or here’s one: Just got back from the gym. Did plank builders, which entail unstacking and stacking items with alternating hands from plank position. Which is hard enough, but made even more difficult when you tire and start to knock items into each other and off a right angle. Normal people would just finish the exercise. Me? I have to fix the angle of the stack as I go if I happen to knock it off perfect square. It’s a sickness, I tell you. And I feel your pain because things off kilter start to make me feel uneasy. Love the office!

    1. I don’t have the problem so much outside the house. I’ve been productive with writing-related stuff in hotels, in airports, in coffee shops, etc. regardless of the surroundings. It’s only my home desk which is an issue, or other things around the house (dishwasher arrangement, TV cabinet doors, etc.).

  2. I feel your pain. While at home, my den is an unfortunate (and a the moment, uncontrollabe) mess, at both of my work locations, I am overly anal about people using/touching my stuff. At my home office, I purposely make my mouse move super slow with a tracer tail, only because it annoys about 99% of the population. Same goes with my phone. I found the most annoying ring tone that the phone had, and programmed it for mine.

    And don’t get me started on how the computer, monitor, mouse, chair, files, etc., etc., etc. have to be in order for me to function. My office would positively drive you bananas.

  3. Married to a man completely oblivious to a mess. Since that is his only failing, I can live with it, but open drawers, socks on the floor, a dusty desk, wet towels flung, never balanced the checking account in 40 some years….YES I CAN LIVE WITH IT. Keep repeating.

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