Slightly Askew

I’ve seen this picture floating around Facebook recently.



I guess a lot of people would have a hard time with this kind of situation.  I would never even notice. There is not one bone in my body that cries out for whatever is cried out for when deciding what should ultimately be the ‘whole’ number in the picture above– not one. Why, just today, I got $24.01 worth of gas and I did not have to wring my hands with anxiety much less pop a Xanax.  It would never occur to me that $39.99 vs 10 galls would be wonky.  It’s just numbers to me. I fill up until the gas stops pumping.

If you are one of the gazillions of people out there that would take note of these numbers and have an internal and/or external dilemma, let me give you a recommendation. You might want to NEVER EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER set foot in my house or office because you will possibly have an anxiety-induced seizure before you cross the threshold (which, to those that have read a previous story about a threshold, is NOT Italian marble).  I’m making a leap in logic here but I’m guessing that if you are the type of person that needs the numbers to be even, then you are probably the type of person that needs symmetry in other places, like pictures on the wall for example.  That just doesn’t happen in my house. I’ve come to the realization that I’m ‘slightly askew’.   I have no sense of symmetry…and my pictures are all crooked.  All. Of. Them.   And I like a lot of visual stimulation on my walls.

I felt really sorry for my previous officemate. We shared a space for 5 years, desks facing one another, and he had to look at my crooked wall hangings every single workday of his life. It must have been horribly painful for him because he hangs up everything using a level and tape measure. Even posters.

I often apologized for my unseemly wall hanging practices. I tried to make them even – I even employed the use of a level…which just made them crooked at a sharp angle. Then I decided that I’d hang all my stuff up at odd angles on purpose, which sort of made me feel like ‘intentional askew’ was somehow artsy, and therefore acceptable.  I’m pretty sure I was deluding myself.  His saving grace was that he was in IT, so his social skills were on par with my wall hanging skills.  Both being just slightly askew.

I have actually gotten a little bit better with wall hangings in recent years. I’ve realized that if I take the time to ask one of these level-using people to hang my stuff up, it comes out straight.  I think they are willing to do this for me because if they have to come into my office/home on a regular basis it helps keeps them calm.  There’s nothing like exploiting someone else’s OCD to my benefit, eh?

(Just in case you are interested or anxious– this post is 519 words long)

About Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher

I'm a research librarian for Public Television, story teller, bike commuter, baker, music fiend, lover of reading & books, mother, wife, friend - and many more descriptive adjectives and nouns.
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62 Responses to Slightly Askew

  1. My late brother-in-law and I joked about what we would be doing together in hell. He said that I, the planned and orderly type (even my dust bunnies are kept in neat piles), would arrange everything in neat lines and he, the impulsive and spontaneous type, would go around and mess it all up.
    No, I said, in hell, YOU would be forced to put everything in order and I would be forced to mess it up.

  2. unfetteredbs says:

    You’re an interesting mix for a librarian 🙂 I am askew as well. I may seem unorganized But very I’m particular about things.

  3. 519 words …. Umm … Does that include the ones in parentheses at the end?

  4. Slo-Man says:

    Let us not joke about IT people, please! The Slo-Man be one of them at one time or as some would say, even now. Nerdiness abounds in every pore of his being. Spellings, grammar when he’s writing (except when he’s deliberately breaking the rules, as in the previous sentence), are very important to him. He sweats buckets before putting his work out on his blog, checks multiple times even after publishing and every error mortifies him. He would definitely hate that gas pump situation. He tries to pump gas so he gets a round dollar figure, but will unbend to get to 25 cent increments.

    BUT: his desk is a mess, the less said about his filing skills the better. And backups? That’s what IT people use to ridicule other non-IT people. They themselves, however, are terrible at backups.

    The Slo-Man should know, he’s spent many a time figuring out ways to roll back an implementation and he’s learned NEVER to trust a backup / restore operation!

    • I love IT people – I try to get myself wedged into that department in all my jobs. I’m an IT Wanna-be 🙂 But like all people, some are great and some are jerks – not b/c they are IT but b/c they are humans.

      Hee hee – my desk is organized so I can find stuff – another person? Not so much. And those other people? Don’t touch my computer!

  5. List of X says:

    My problem with those numbers would be mainly with the fact that this gas is too expensive at $4 per gallon. But maybe I’m just lucky to live in the area where $3.75/gallon is expensive.

  6. I aspire to be very neat and organised with everything lined up and tidy and just so, but it just never quite works out! The gas thing wouldn’t bother me though. The only time I do make sure I get a round number when filling my car is if I happen to be paying in cash, and I want the cost to be an exact number so that I can just hand over a note without having to wait for change (In the UK, we always pay after filling), so that’s just a practical time-saving issue rather than an OCD one! I do have some funny little traits to do with numbers, like wanting to do things three times, but nothing that consumes my life!

  7. I work on both a Mac and a PC. To toggle between the two, I press a button on my monitor three times. Each time I do it, I have to count out loud, “one-two-three.” That’s pretty mild, innit?

  8. jlheuer says:

    I would also be straightening your pictures if I walked into your house but since you say they ALL are wonky I might just realize there is a method to the madness and keep my hands off. My husband uses a level to hang stuff, I just eyeball it and guess what? we both get them straight. 🙂

  9. I’m a bit of a neat freak, so not sure how the crooked pic thing would work for me. I would probably just let it go and focus on trimming the carpet fibers with pinking shears to make sure they were all level, or making sure any screws were all perfectly aligned by top position, or putting my files in alphabetical order – backwards, or…never mind. I now know why I was laughing at that gas pump picture so much…and cringing at the same time 🙂

    • Hee hee … not totally crooked – just slightly askew.

      I find if I don’t wear my glasses around the house, I notice those meticulous things much less.

      But I cannot abide an open cabinet – and I do have a tipping point, it’s just much more laid back than, well, yours 🙂 Come organize my house!

  10. rossmurray1 says:

    Why would they put you in an office with an OCD IT guy. Too many abbreviations, for starters. Maybe you were actually part of some social experiment. Were there large “mirrors” on one one wall?

  11. Mrs. P says:

    Ha! I would be the one who would walk in your house and straighten things as I went by. I don’t go crazy over them…just a habit. Hubby has stuff all over the place and we have this one table where we take breaks at…the first thing I do is straighten up my side of the table. I used to do it all but I was worried that I’d misplace something important that only he knew exactly where it was in the confusion that he calls order. I didn’t know I had a habit until he started laughing at my doing this every time. I used to have a problem with numbers but that one, I let go of a long time ago…except for thirteen…it’s still unlucky. I think I would do just fine with you being askew…as long as you don’t have a problem with aliens. I have always thought of myself as a bit of an alien. 😉

    • hee hee – oddly enough, I don’t like a lot of table clutter – I tend to want to put them in piles (that’s a lot ‘cleaning’ in our house, taking the crap and putting them into piles). But I do have a high threshold for ‘stuff’ – even though there is a tipping point for me (thank god).

      I have no problems with aliens ~

  12. I admit it. I have to have the TV volume at an even number. I don’t even know what else to say but felt I had to admit that.

  13. Paul says:

    It somehow seems so fitting, given the topic, that your should should finish the post with “…keeps them clam.” Now, I’m not sure if this is shorthand for making people clam up/be quiet or if it is an insidious trap to see if you can catch yourself an OCD reader. And I fell for it.

  14. Amy Reese says:

    Oh, we would get along swimmingly as officemates, Denise. I could less about crooked pictures. When I see them in my house, I just stare at them and note that they’re crooked. I don’t even fix it now. Kids have done that to me. I can fix it, and I will need to fix again before too long. I’m glad I’m not OCD. I feel for people who are.

  15. Fresh Ginger says:

    I guess I should never come to visit, Rutabaga. This number situation would drive me crazy at the gas station. And, that would just magnify if it was some crazy time of day like 7:11 while I was at a 7/11. OMG.

  16. Carrie Rubin says:

    I can deal with the gas pump numbers being off, but I don’t like to set my alarm in off minutes. 6:09 am wouldn’t cut it. And I do love me some symmetry. 🙂

  17. El Guapo says:

    I’d there’s an ocd version that requires everything to be off killer, I have that.

    (To those with ocd, I really don’t mean to make light of your issues. I mock my own pretty hard too.)

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