The Odd Couple: The Mildly OCD Husband and a Disheveled Wife!

How many of you are familiar with the show Monk? The protagonist, Adrian Monk is a decorated detective with SEVERE Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Coming to think of it, he is the perfect person to live in these Covid times. He hates crowds, does not like people touching him, washes his hands diligently for 20 seconds and prefers staying home. If he were a real person, he would have aced this phase of shelter at home, social distancing and wearing of masks.

Man with OCD precisely cutting grass
That’s a pretty precise picture of my Mr. Monk πŸ˜‰

Coming to my own Mr. Monk, my husband’s symptoms are fairly mild (I thank my lucky stars for that!) He is super particular about measuring things, arranging items in a particular way, and cleanliness. So, whenever we rearrange furniture, put up wall hangings, clean the car etc I call him Mr. Monk, lovingly of course. He gets annoyed, but well… that’s my little jab at his meticulousness.

We make the perfectly odd couple because I am the exact opposite. While he needs a tape, a pencil, a level and god knows what else to hang something on the wall, I only need my innate visualization skills (also read as laziness to do too much work). I admit that the final effect may not be perfect, but to my dominant right brain, everything looks fine and dandy. Tell me, would it actually bother you if the carpet and the sofa do not align?

In my defense, I strongly believe that there is a method to my madness, oops..my unorganized ways. It all started during my childhood when my parents, especially my mother, would tell me to put things in their respective spots so that it would easy to find them later. That concept never worked for me then, and I still conveniently leave my stuff strewn around. My clothes would always be in a pile, but I could and still can find exactly what I need…how many of you can do that? It takes special skills..trust me. Today, even though I am still the messy one, my husband needs me to find his things. Go figure!

For the first few years after moving to this country, my kitchen shelves were lined with random containers filled with lentils, spices etc. β€” yogurt containers were perfect for my dals, you know? Proves my point that even though I have been away from India for this long, I am still Hindustani to the core. But over the years, we started buying coordinated containers for the pantry, mostly because my husband couldn’t stand to look at dabbas (containers) of different colors, shapes and sizes. So what did we do? Ikea zindabad!!! I am glad that store exists and that they carry all types of containers for different uses in the kitchen. And now my husband is one happy camper… And though I hate admitting it to him directly, I am happy too; my kitchen looks good now πŸ™‚

My favorite saying!

I might be sitting here happily making fun of Mr. P but let me tell you this; I have friends who are jealous of me :-D. They are in awe of his cleaning skills, especially when it comes to cleaning the kitchen. Whenever we have our friends over, I cook and he cleans! He hates having stuff on the counters and keeps putting everything away, while my super methodical brain needs to see things in the open. The ease of grabbing something straight from the counter versus having to look for it in a cabinet is incomparable. Anyway, once he gets into the cleaning mode, he is usually at it for hours and leaves the kitchen so spotless that I feel guilty. I promise myself and him that I will earnestly try to keep it that way..I succeed maybe for a few days and then…But after having my mother stay here for three months last year during which she pretty much ran the kitchen, I am trying to adopt at least some of her habits..of cleaning the stove everyday (read once in a few days) and not leaving any dishes in the sink overnight etc.

His OCD reflects in his cooking attempts too. For instance, when he asks me for a recipe and if it is something I make all the time I give him directions like, “Add a pinch of salt, little bit of chilli powder and a spoon of something else.” This, to my seasoned cook’s brain is perfectly normal but to him they are the vaguest instructions ever. He needs specifics: 1 teaspoon of salt, a tablespoon of this and 1/2 a cup of that etc. A pinch is so random, that he cannot fathom that quantity. After a point, I give up and tell him to please look up a recipe online and follow that, “inikyu inganeyokke paranjatharaan ariyilloo.” (I only know to tell you this way). I do pity his plight; I can’t imagine what the systematic brain in him would be going through when dealing with my creatively messy ways. Too bad he doesn’t have a choice!

Regardless of our differences, we do have so many things in common. So, over the years we have learned to appreciate each others differences and love the things we have in common. Maybe that is one of the secrets to a successful relationship, what say you? Cheers to our oddly perfect pairing and to all other odd couples out there who have figured out how to make their differences work!!!

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