Sometimes I wake up with this fluttering in my chest, a shot of adrenalin racing through my veins, and I think: Panic attack? Or is this strange energy called being rested and fully awake? It’s so rare I would hardly know. Should I take a pill to calm the storm, or stretch my arms up into a salutation of the sun?
I was at a museum recently and while I loved reading about the history of each piece, standing absorbed in interest, admiring the craftsmanship, the beauty, I was aching to touch everything. To trace my fingers along the whorls in a chair finely wrought in Celtic patterns by an anonymous carver from Romania, designed by their queen who came over from the British Isles. To cup my hand around the cool, smooth haunch of a Rodin statue. To poke my finger at the waterproof jacket made of seal intestines that looked amazing like a lightweight quilted parka from REI. To add to this hell of holding back my tactile desires were the often crookedly mounted placards, and even some paintings tilted slightly to the left. Unthinkingly, out of habit, I reached my hand out to a corner of a painting and gently pushed it up, but was met with resistance. It was permanently crooked. I gave a sigh and shuffled on.
Sometimes I wonder if I have some sort of neurological disorder that makes squares and rectangles appear slightly tilted down to the left. Or are they sliding up to the right? To this day our wall-mounted TV looks off-kilter to me, even though Joe has adamantly defended his carpentry skills, even whipped out a level to prove it is true. Regardless of science, if my eye sees it as crooked, isn’t it crooked? I see it as my civic duty to straighten frames in doctor’s offices, cafes, stores. Sometimes I do it matter-of-factly, like it’s my right to fix it, and other times I surreptitiously snake a hand out and do it on the sly. I always feel better for having done so, and wonder why it doesn’t bother anyone else. How long has that poster of Clean Hands Save Lives been tacked up on the wall so obviously wonky, and is it just me that feels slightly alarmed? I have to adjust most of the pictures on the walls of our home almost daily. Was there some earthquake in the wee morning hours? Does our old house settle that much during the night? My father, bless his OCD soul, pencil-marks the corners of frames so he knows exactly where to adjust any that are misbehaving. Are quirks passed on to new generations?