I need to take a day to reflect on things I think are pretty great. Before I get to that I have one issue germane to the larger discussion that is nominally taking place here. I’ve mentioned how much love and comfort I get from what might seem like a monotonous routine. Which brings up a common misuse of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) that was actually summarized relatively well by the sometimes funny, sometimes informative, mostly always less annoying than Buzzfeed, Cracked.com in an article Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior.
When I make my coffee I weigh the beans before grinding them myself. I prefer a single serve pour over or a Chemex. Could I tell you the difference between that and similar beans prepared with a measuring spoon in an auto drip machine? Maybe? I don’t know. Part of the joy I get from it is the ritual and ceremony of preparing a cup of coffee. There’s a certain zen to it that I just enjoy.
When I bake cookies I roll each proto-cookie dough ball into a sphere. It doesn’t make the cookies taste better or bake more evenly (in most situations–this is actually important if you’re making crackles). It’s just a ritual that makes me feel good. And I get incredibly round cookies.
I love pens. I go through several Micron archival pens every year. They come in super fine point sizes, don’t bleed, and make a line with nearly constant thickness. I also love fountain pens. My script handwriting is awful, but there is something incredibly satisfying about using a pen that just lets ink flow using only its own weight–no pressing necessary. It just feels really good. I don’t get upset using a ballpoint, I just get joy from using my Microns or my fountain pens.
My point is that people tend to call this kind of thing “OCD”. It isn’t. Not only does this perpetuate a mythical version of OCD through our culture, it also puts a negative spin on something I think we should celebrate–little tiny details that we don’t have to notice or care about but when we do anyway they just feel so nice. So I’m going to actively solicit responses either here or on Twitter from folks who have read this far. Let’s talk about some tiny details that may seem like nothing until one goes all Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain on them.
Carry us out current Internet-based hero and modern renaissance man John Green:
…because nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff… Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself love it. Hank, when people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good insult at all. Like, ‘you are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness’.