This morning, after I saw my wife’s pajamas on the bathroom floor, I kicked them just far enough behind the door so that she would have trouble finding them tonight when she got ready for bed. I would like to say that I thought twice before my deceptive act, but I don’t think I did.
Later in the morning, I noticed that Vicky had left her hat on the ground in our entryway, and instead of picking it up and placing it in the closet, I kicked it farther out into the middle of the floor. I didn’t think twice about my decision in this instance, either.
I’ve developed a pattern of shady behavior, focused on deviously hiding Vicky’s belongings, since we moved to Switzerland a month ago. When Vicky left a sock on the couch after a night of binge-watching Netflix last week, I didn’t put the sock in the laundry bin but actually snuck it behind the blanket on the couch so that she wouldn’t be able to find it. And when she left her slippers under the coffee table this past weekend, I found myself trying to push one of them behind the leg of the coffee table and under the ottoman so that she would have trouble finding it the next night.
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While I am trying to irritate Vicky with my scheming, the only one I seem to be hurting is myself. The reality is that Vicky has no memory of where exactly she took off her pajamas or if she left her hat one foot or three feet from the front door. As for the sock that I hid behind the blanket, by the time she realizes it’s missing I will have hidden its partner, so it doesn’t make a difference.
I, on the other hand, spend the whole day stressing out every time I see clothes on the floor or socks on the couch and could have alleviated all of my frustration by putting each item where it belongs. How my living space is organized has been a constant issue throughout my 25-year struggle with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, but that doesn’t tell the full story of why I keep hiding my wife’s clothes.
In December, when Vicky and I decided to move to Basel for her career, I initially thought about staying in New York and teaching until the end of the school year. I had made strong connections with a handful of students and wanted to see them…