Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Wind Back Wednesdays: The day my OCDs united an entire bus.

Wind Back Wednesdays, where I choose a memory from my childhood and talk about it.

Marmie: Lisa, I think we need to talk about your memory series on your blog. 
Me: Are you enjoying it? 
Marmie: ... Well, it's been... interesting. 
Me: How is it possible that you're not enjoying the unending memorable joy I am imparting on you? You're like a massive feature in almost every post.
Marmie: Yes, but I'm a little concerned about your choice of memories. 
Me:  What's wrong with them? 
Marmie: Well, do you not have any good memories as a child? 
Me: I thought they were good memories. 
Marmie: Running away, and hanging out on the back of a van delivering bullets? I worry that people might think we were bad parents. 
Me: Everyone tried to run away at some point Mum. I think I made it clear that it wasn't because you were brutally attacking me or anything. And the bullets were blanks! ... Allegedly. 
Marmie: Yes, but we did fun things as well. We went to Disney World once. And then there were all those dances we used to watch you and Daniel perform in the back room. 
Me: I have a potential year to completely rinse every story from my childhood, I'm sure those 'not nearly as exciting as being convinced I have magical powers' stories will eventually get told. 
Marmie: I think we have very different opinions on what constitutes as a good memory.  

Marmie's a little concerned that I'm painting her in a bad light. So, to help her out, I thought I might tell a different kind of memory. No, I won't be using any positive memory from my past as Marmie suggests, instead I thought I'd make a compromise and tell you all one that simply doesn't include her. That way, everyone wins. 

So today I'm going to delve into a memory from my teenage years. I was about 17 years old and had reached the point in my life where my OCDs had well and truly kicked in. I've always been riddled with little, what I have called quirks for the majority of my life, but which has now been informally diagnosed as OCDs since confessing them to a work colleague who also happened to be a qualified psychiatrist... I really need to start watching what I say around certain people...

Anywho, my OCDs tend to originate out of a routine that has worked for me for a short period of time, and so an intolerance to change and deviation from that routine tends to develop, causing my need to keep said routine going in the future. 

This particular routine was around my journey to and from school. There was a bus that I used to take and, as I'm sure many of you can relate to, I naturally developed a favourite seat and time of day to travel shortly after about a week of making this journey. 

This became so deeply routed in my routine that I would often follow this pattern on auto pilot. My favourite seat on this bus was on the upper deck (always worth using the upper deck if your journey will consist of three stops or more, little tip there). Once you climbed the stairs, in front of you were four rows of seats, and behind you another 9 or so. My favourite seat, and the only one that I ever headed for was on the side of the stairs, second row from the front. There wasn't really any reason for this, other than I had used this particular seat the first time I had been on the bus and I hadn't died a horrible death from sitting there, so continued to use this seat from that point onwards. 

One day, I was coming home from school, knackered and brain frozen. We were at the point of looking for potential universities and any form of large decision making tended to make me break out in hives. I had also waited for this particular bus for about 20 minutes in the winter cold weather and so was not in the best moods. When the bus finally arrived, I got on, climbed the stairs and noticed that ahead of me, in and around my seat, sat a bunch of 11 year old boys, all chatting together. Immediately I was faced with the dilemma of not having my window seat to sit on. But the space next to the window seat, AKA the other half of the seat, was available, and I figured I might as well get as close as I can to my dream seat, so I made my way over and sat down next to the 11 year old boy who was currently occupying a seat he really should have known better about. 

I thought nothing of it. The bus continued to go on. About 10 minutes later, a woman who was sitting in a window seat to the left of me tapped me on the shoulder and said "I'm getting off now, you're welcome to take my seat." She looked like she was genuinely concerned for me, whilst also holding this level of understanding in her eyes that I simply couldn't work out. I briefly considered that she had somehow worked out my OCD tendency and wanted to give me a window seat closest to where I wanted to be, but realised that was just ridiculous. I also didn't want to move from my seat because I was certain these 11 year olds would be getting off soon, freeing up my seat, and I didn't want to miss my opportunity to claim it back for my own. However, English etiquette demanded that I be polite, thank the woman, and take the seat. Especially as she really seemed to think that we had some unspoken bond and she was, in fact, doing me a massive favour in offering it to me. 

As I took her now vacant seat and watched her leave the bus, I realised the sheer amount of empty seats that existed around me. I'm not kidding, except for the first three rows of seats which consisted of the 11 year olds and tired shoppers, the rest of the bus was pretty much empty. That is, until you reached the back of the bus. At the back of this particular bus were the entirely lovely and not at all annoying teenage crowd of school kids. These kids were all shouting, laughing and calling each other 'blad', 'bruv' and 'cuz.' 

You might wonder how I hadn't noticed this before now. My reasons for this are simple. When you grow up in London, it is pretty hard not to be in a place where such a crowd exists, at least once a day. As such, you can tend to become a little desensitised to the whole noise. It becomes a faint buzz in the background and, unless they are running past you and smacking you round the head, you can learn to forget they are there altogether. Which is what I had done. 

However, to an outsider, it had looked like a young and terrified looking girl had got on the bus, been immediately intimidated by the rowdy youths in the back and, instead of picking from the multitude of empty seats a little further back in the bus, had instead decided to squeeze her way onto a seat with the less intimidating kids in the front. 

I looked around me at the other 'front of the bus' people then. 11 year olds excluded, all the other passengers were giving me empathetic looks and smiles of encouragement. They were all clearly annoyed at the rough behaviour emanating from the back of the bus but, being British, knew they would never say anything and instead just exchange knowing looks. I was actually oddly touched and, although to me it clearly wasn't the reason I had chosen their company over the back of the bus, I had been welcomed wholeheartedly into their circle and it felt nice. So, being the honest person that I am, I gave them my resigned look back, with a quick terrified look at the loud teenagers, just for added effect. It went down well and more smiles were given before everyone went back to their own business. 

It wasn't until I overheard the following conversation that I realised not all bus passengers had believed the 'terrified of the teenagers' untold story I was apparently suggesting. The 11 year olds I had initially been sitting with had started up a conversation. 

Boy 1:All I'm saying is that it didn't make sense. 
Boy 2: It was nothing.
Boy 1: She could have sat anywhere, but she chose to come and sit with you. 
Boy 2: That doesn't mean anything.
Boy 3: Yes it does! It means she fancies you. 
Boy 2: Do you think? 
Boy 1: Do you fancy her? 
Boy 3: You should totally ask her out. 
Boy 2: (Thinks for a moment) Nah, she's not my type. 


Damn right I wasn't your type. I agree with you... as does the Statutory Rape law... 

Although, I'm not going to lie, it stung a little bit that I got rejected. 

But all in all, this story clearly states that people around you will make up any kind of shizzle to justify an OCD. Apparently just liking a particular kind of seat doesn't cut it anymore. 

Peace out my lovelies.

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