Whereas I teeter on the brink of insanity most of the time, I guard my routines closely. OCD me likes to keep things within a certain threshold of my established norm. Grocery shopping, laundry, teaching, and watching TV all have their places in my routine. If I decide to let something slip, the whole week seems wrong until I can pull back to where I was or establish a new routine.
Well, this last week, everything has been off. The kids are home from school for the first week of summer break, and I started back to teaching three new classes. Then I got sick. In fact, I was so sick that I went to bed on Wednesday night rather than staying up and watching "So You Think You Can Dance?" I was really that sick - which also meant that I haven't been to the gym since Monday. Then I taught last night in what has been one of the weirdest political weeks ever at work. Who knew that an adjunct Math instructor would ever have to deal with office-like politics? We are totally not equiped for that. On top of it all, it is that time of the month.
Really though, OCD as I am, I think I could have handled all of the disturbances to my life if I had not done one thing. I picked up a book. While my sister, Christina, was out visiting, we spent a night hanging out at bookstores. We were looking for a certain book in the half-priced bookstore, and happened to be in the aisle next to the True Crime section. I have some weird sort of fascination with how people think and so a lot of the true crime stories are interesting to me. As a side note, I considered going into Psychology when I was in college and spent several months volunteering on a crisis line, which was a little bit too much of a reality check and sent me spiraling in the other direction towards a life of integers and variables. But, anyway, back to the true crime aisle. My sister and I both rather randomly picked up a book and put them in our respective stacks. It wasn't until Monday of this week that I picked up this specific book again.
As an aside, my husband can pick up a book, read a few pages and then put it down. He can then pick it up the next day and read a few more pages and then put the book down again. In fact, he can happily be reading the same book for several weeks. He is somehow able to compartmentalize the book and symbolically put it on the shelf until he has a few minutes to come back to it. I am not so lucky. From the time that I open a book, I become obsessed with it. I dream the characters. I read during every waking moment. I neglect hygiene and basic physiological needs in the name of resolution. The book comes with me into the bathroom, into the tub, and even into the car. It is really pretty sad on several levels.
But, back to the book. I opened the book and I started to read. And I read. I was sick and I couldn't do much else anyway, so I read. I taught classes, but while I was preaching the cosine and sine, I was thinking about where deception would be revealed in the twisted plot. I slept, but I could never really steer my mind away. Finally, this morning, I finished the book. And then I assessed the damage.
It was almost noon and I lay on the couch unshowered. The laundry was piled. The dishes were stacked. My tower of ungraded papers in the family room was threatening to become drawing paper for Michael. I hadn't updated the budget in a week and my older sons were persistantly telling me that a grocery trip should soon be on the agenda. I was quite abruptly pulled from my true crime fantasy world back into my truly messy and not nearly as dramatic real world.
And, I should probably go back to the gym tomorrow.