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Sunday, January 11, 2009

What OCD?

I'm a teeny bit obsessive/compulsive. Okay, maybe more than a teeny bit. Tonight, I learned where I just might have gotten it from. I mentioned that I'm setting a story in a cabin in southern Wisconsin that my family stayed at a few times and that my parents are looking for pictures for me, so I can get the details right. At least I'm pretty sure I mentioned this. Anyway, my parents didn't find more pictures, but they did find papers from when they were younger.

Among the items was my dad's grade school autobiography, a speech he gave in high school, and the notebook where he kept track of every letter he sent and received while he was in the army. He has date received, date written, and the date he replied all neatly tabulated. He had them broken down by name, even people who only wrote once, and he had all the mail cross referenced by date. Seriously!

I was like, OMG, this is so scary! Not just that he wrote a record in a little notebook, but that he's kept it all these years. My mom said she was glad she didn't know him then because she was never much of a letter writer.

Then he brought out some more papers. He kept track of every cent he and my mom spent on their honeymoon, right down to the tips. Even twenty cents wasn't too small an amount to write down. I'm looking at him thinking, no wonder I have a, um, obsessive attention to detail. It's hereditary! My sole consolation is that at least I never recorded dates letters were written and received or other truly inconsequential things like that.

And you know, now that I think about it, every family trip my dad would record the mileage, the time we stopped, the time we left, how many gallons of gas the car took, and other things that escape my mind. He always had a long log of our trips. Not the interesting information like what we did, but the bookkeeping type of information. Hmm. Must think some more about the role of environment in the forming of personality and behaviors. This could get scary. ;-)