The (Neat and Orderly) Ramblings of an Obsessive Compulsive: Music When The Lights Go Out

When I was growing up, my big sister was the coolest person in the world. Like, ‘Just going to a Babyshambles gig in Southampton, no biggie’. Woah. She was insane. So, needless to say, I was incredibly excited to see The Libertines at Hyde Park recently after having started to listen to them in my early teens through my super cool big sis.

In case you haven’t heard, I have OCD. Every sufferer’s experience is different, however my main niggles are germs, odd numbers and distressing thoughts. So, in the middle of a field and staying overnight at a hostel with a bunch of strangers, what could possibly go wrong?

Said strangers in the hostel that my friend and I had booked were very unfriendly and returned our polite ‘Hello’ with a slightly disgusted glare. They also happened to be six males and all were lounging in their boxer shorts looking quite at ease. Brilliant. How on earth would I carry out my OCD rituals under the stern gaze of six semi-naked unknowns? Some compulsions are easier to hide, of course. But how would I explain my ritual of switching the light on and off four times before getting into bed? I suppose I could pretend that I was still drunk from the gig and squeal something like ‘Woooo party time!’ as if I were trying to recreate the flashing lights of some awful school disco. No, that wouldn’t be convincing at all and, besides, the already grumpy men would probably be more aggravated by the fact that the girls that had invaded their underwear party had now woken them up.

Hostel aside, there was still also the slight problem of portaloos. My chest is tight at the thought of them, the evil, disease-ridden younger siblings of the TARDIS. Ominous puddles, a lack of antibacterial hand wash and an extremely tight, enclosed space making it uneasy to comfortably avoid said suspicious splashes – where do I put my bag?! – are a living hell for an obsessive compulsive. Not to mention the cups of deviously warm liquid that are often thrown about in crowds – please don’t be p*ss, please don’t be p*ss, please don’t be p*ss…

Despite the abundant supply of antibacterial hand gel in my bag, I proceeded to wrap all food in tissue so that I could eat it by hand (which earned me some rather bewildered looks from passers by when I tucked into a packet of crisps). And as for the aloof boxer-clad males in the hostel dorm, they rolled in about 3 hours later than we did, so I could do my funky thing and get into bed anxiety free (only to be woken later by the sound of the door and accidentally make eye contact with a particularly grumpy fellow as he was climbing into bed – in his boxers of course – cringe).

All in all, rituals aside, I had a cracking time and I am still a strong believer that you should not let psychological problems stop you from doing what you want to do. We’re going to anywhere in Albion.

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