OCD Tendencies: Take that, you microwave timer!

My mom will tell you that as a teen I’d often ask her for how long I should put something in the microwave to reheat. She would make a recommendation, and then—get this—instead of punching in the minutes or seconds she’d just suggested, I’d go ahead and enter my own time, a few seconds more or less than what she had said.

She explains away this odd behavior as my being stubborn and contrary—having always wanted to do the exact opposite of that which someone proposed. Even when I was the one doing the asking though? How messed up is that?

The microwave trick must have started like this, in a somewhat defiant, humorous way—like, ha-ha mom, you told me to put the rice in for 45 seconds, and I punched in 38! See if I listen to you again.

But this is a behavior that has continued long after I’ve left my parents’ house. It’s totally weird, I know, but I can’t bring myself to reheat something for any round number of minutes, or multiple of five for that matter either.

Anything that should be reheated for close to a minute goes in for 57 or 58 seconds. A half a cup of coffee left out for too long on the counter might make it in for 23 seconds. No one is watching over my shoulder anymore. There’s no joke to be had with someone else. It’s just me and the microwave.

Maybe it’s just about me wanting to be a nonconformist. I feel I must not let the microwave win; I won’t be made to be a conventional time-setter.

Disturbing, right? Welcome to my mind and the games we play together.


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