Friday, May 02, 2008

Neurotic Cleaning

Maybe I mentioned that I teach a research class on the Internet. It's very interesting. I sit in front of my webcam and present on a "white board." I can go anywhere on the web and show students interesting things at various websites. I can give them a quiz that they work on together while I listen and play solitaire.
Uh, Dr. ___?

Huh?

Would you mind explaining . . .

Just a MINUTE!
Joking, joking. But when I teach I do tend to focus on the tachlis (Hebrew, maybe Hebrish, for business) at hand. If the phone rings, I don't hear it, seriously. Some things do get my attention, however.

Last night, as we discussed the difference between a correlation design and a cross-section, a huge black fly buzzed by my ear. What would you do?

I jumped, of course. Flies upset me, and large ones make me sick. I said to my class,
OMG, there's a huge black fly in my office! Excuse me, but you're about to witness a very violent act.
I zipped downstairs to find the fly swatter, but when I returned, he was gone.

Class continued uninterrupted. I left the lights on all over the house, I told them. He won't be bothering us.

But this morning in the kitchen, as I prepared the dough for tonight's bread (mmm, fresh chalah, just the thought), there he was again, flying full speed ahead, not caring that there are two freshwater fish in a tank close by who would love a piece of him, and one large therapist who wants him dead.

He's really fast, and he flew like a bat out of hell when he saw me. FD came home and said, Let's go (it's a work day), and as I compulsively rushed to wash, dry, put away dishes, and cover the dough with a towel, I wondered about it, this unconscious behavior, putting away dishes, covering things up. Who even thinks about such things except maybe people like me? And then it came to me in a flash,
THIS is why we're so neurotic about covering food, sweeping crumbs!
It's the flies.

therapydoc

6 comments:

cardiogirl said...

It's funny, if I think too much about germs/flies running rampant over my left out food I will want to cover *everything* in sight.

But most of the time I am able to tell myself that it's going to be fine. I've probably eaten millions of germs. The food I ate yesterday was probably handled by someone with hygiene issues. And I still lived through it.

But I can get my neuroses on at the drop of a hat -- if I have to.

therapydoc said...

if they weren't convenient why would we bother?

Margo said...

Last week you said it was the ants...

Doreen Orion said...

Therapydoc,

I'm a shrink and also work at home in front of my computer, doing insurance reviews. When I have to call facilities and other doctors, I'm usually in my PJs with my cat on my lap. I figure it's just adding insult to injury for them to have to talk to me AND know that I can work without leaving the house/getting dressed, so I let them assume I'm in an office, wearing a suit, just like they are - until my (very vocal) cat meows. Then, to their "What was that?" I've learned to respond, "Oh, someone brought her baby into the office."

therapydoc said...

Margo, at least I can see the ants in Chicago. The ants in California are tinier and meaner.

Leora said...

Therapydoc,

I finally read Being Mrs. Alcott; it was a great book. (not sure where to leave a comment about an old post)

Loved hearing about your challah; our family also enjoyed having homemade challah again.

No comment on flies or other pesky creatures that co-inhabit this planet and bother our food.