not quite fiction
(march 19, 2002)

listening: akhirnya camelia & innuendo, the freshmen the verve pipe
reading: rather disturbing amount of advertising articles.


I have, many times, wished for a photographic memory. I mean, being a secondary school student, struggling over the names of Asian rivers and also that of sneaky British colonialists and the colours different metal oxides make when mixed with, uh, some sort of acid, I guess, and the dates when which physicist discovered what and the dates when some sneaky British colonialists got stabbed by the angry locals during which revolution, on top of having to decide whether I should wash myself one more time or if nine times is enough, or having to convince myself that that curious mashed up thing on the canteen bench I accidentally touched during recess isn't going to give me an incurable disease from outer space, I think having a photographic memory would be pretty convenient.

I know it's bad writing practice to be writing a sentence this long, because the reader will have trouble focusing and following the writer, who is so wrapped in her own raptness, that she thinks some aptly placed commas here and there are not so bad, but by placing a period would simply mean she will lose her zealous, overflowing stream of consciousness or whatever you call it and her muse will run away and the world will fall apart so she just can't stop now she just can't the sentence has to go on. Never mind that the writer has totally forgotten what she intended to say when she started at the beginning of her sentence. Never mind the reader.

OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, not Organized Crime Department hahaha! Sense of humour!) is a lot like that. You do begin a ritual (washing your hands, avoiding cracks on the sidewalk, touching every corner of your house etc) with a sense of purpose, however vague and ridiculous it is to a sound person. You wash your hands because you fear an extraterrestrial virus has taken residence on your palms when you touched the volley ball (who knows where the ball has been. Area 51 for all you know) during P.E. You avoid cracks on the sidewalk probably because you were afraid that one of the cracks would actually become a huge crevasse and swallow you whole if you stepped on it. They are pretty whacked out reasons, but they are reasons. To do something for a reason, which is usually how normal people operate their daily lives, gives an OCD sufferer a common ground, or at least an illusion of one, with the rest of the world. I am not insane. I've got my reasons for doing this. My reasons are my own. So screw you and your wonderful laidback sanity.

But for someone with OCD, reasons are like watercolour. They wash off. Especially after you've scrubbed your hands seventeen times in the morning, fifteen in the afternoon and back to seventeen before bed. Like the writer, you get so wind up in the sentence that you can't stop writing, the hands that you can't stop scrubbing, it's easy to forget why you started in the first place. The relentlessly repetitive washing, the scrubbing, the scraping have morphed themselves to become their own reason. And when they have become the reason for themselves, it is stronger than any logic.

I'd still love to have a photographic memory, but only so that I can yank out the film that was in my head during those few years, and watch it slowly go black from overexposure.