Must wash hands thoroughly.  Between fingers, around nails, across palms, can’t miss a spot.  Okay, they’re clean.  How long has this towel hung here?  Should I get a new one?  No, it’s okay, recently changed it.  Must dry hands thoroughly before using lotion.  Hand lotion’s important on these cold winter days.  Okay, time to go.

No!  What’s that?  How did that happen?  What is it, dirt from boots?  I really thought I wiped them well on the mat last night, but apparently not.  Can’t leave for work with that dirt on the floor but hands are perfect right now.  No, that’s no excuse.  Need to do what’s right even if it means washing and drying and moisturizing hands all over again.  Can’t ignore the mess. . . .

Alright, the floor is clean and hands are all set and I’ll still arrive early to work.  Thank goodness for garages; without one I’d be at the carwash twice as often.  It’s a lovely day to drive.  Mr. Mozart, speak to me.

Hitting all the lights today it seems.  Who’s that at the bus stop?  Do I know her?  I swear she’s staring straight at me!  Can she see the blemish on my cheek?  No, she can’t see my left side from that angle.  Don’t make eye contact.  Will this light ever turn green? 

Oh you couldn’t help yourself, could you?  Had to look her way again and still she stares.  Does she know me?  What if she pulls a gun from inside her jacket and shoots me?  I’m defenseless!  Ah, green light, thank goodness.

It’s okay.  Mozart, perfection.  At least these red lights prolong our time together this morning.  But wait, who’s that man in the car next to me?  Why did he turn to look in this direction?  He nodded!  It’s okay, just nod back.  He’s smiling!  Is that grin some clever ruse?  He could bump me off the road!  Green light, let him go first.  Ah, it’s okay, he’s driving along now.  Hey, who’s honking?  Oh, the car behind me, maybe they’re working together!  The first one knew his nod would stall me just as this one knew his honk would rush me. . . .

No, don’t be silly, it’s okay.  Just enjoy the music and get to work.  No more distractions.

But wait, who’s that crossing the street? 


  1. At frist when I started to read this I thought OCD then it turned more into paranoia - needs to listen to Mozart a while longer yet.

    It would be terrible to be inflicted with both those mental conditions, OCD and paranoia, life would be so hard. OCD takes many forms, but paranioa would just drive you nuts.

  2. Very disjointed within its paragraphs, which I suspect was to reflect the narrator's internal anxiety. Seems very guilty - bound to find trouble if it doesn't exist yet.

  3. Thanks, Helen and John, for your comments. OCD, paranoia, general anxiety are certainly all present in this story.

  4. I have CDO -- it's like OCD, but it's alphabetical like it should be! ;-)

  5. This is one of the invisible enemies, inner fears, although they be irrational, are still terrifyingly real to the poor sufferer.

  6. Tim! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, and for giving me a laugh.

    Steve, always good to hear from you, and I agree with your assessment 100%, I've seen people so caught up inside their own minds that they completely lose perspective on the outside world. Scary and not uncommon.

  7. Wow, and I thought I could get paranoid!

    I really enjoyed the disjointed nature, it communicated that anxiety perfectly.