So many people come here looking for help. I can’t be helped. I want to help. Please don’t be like me.
I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ve been a neat freak my entire life. I’ve been told I have OCD. I own three dusters, so it’s hard to disagree. It wasn’t bad enough to keep me from living a normal life. Generally, it didn’t bother me if something was unclean as long as it didn’t belong to me, but my home was my domain. The other day, I came home from classes. Everything was in its place. Everything was spotless. Everything was perfect, just the way I left it. I sat down at the computer and started to work on an essay. I was in an Intro to Psych class and, with a promise for more hours from my supervisor echoing in the back of my mind, I decided to start my final essay early. It was going to be about obsession. If I could write about anything, it would be that, right? No. Something was off. Something was making me uncomfortable.
Fuzz. A bit of fuzz in the upper right quadrant of my monitor. I got a tissue and wiped the fuzzy bit from my monitor. No water necessary. Besides, I didn’t want to leave streaks. I wrapped the tissue around the fuzz so it couldn’t escape and I threw it into the garbage can. Everything was right again.
The next day, I went to my classes. When I came home, everything was as I left it. Perfect. Not a hair out of place, that is, if I were normal and owned pets that could displace their fur. If I could allow myself to just enjoy dirty things, I’d be fine, but the mere thought of being unclean makes my skin crawl. The thought of myself sitting amongst the fuzz and the dirt is worse than death. Sorry. I want to help you. I’ll stop indulging myself. It’s not like I have the time for it.
I came home from my classes. Nothing had changed. Nothing had been moved. Nothing had been sullied. My home was perfect except for one thing: that goddamn computer screen. More fuzz. Maybe the static electricity was attracting it, but that didn’t explain where it was coming from. I must have neglected a spot in my daily cleaning sessions. So, I checked. I looked under the couch. I looked under the bed. I looked under everything. I looked on top of the blades of the ceiling fan. I checked to see if anything was hanging out of the vacuum cleaner. Anything I could have missed. Nothing. Nothing at all. I gave up. I got a tissue. I went back to the computer screen. I wrapped the tissue around the fuzz. I took the tissue to the kitchen and put it in the garbage. I closed the lid down. When I went to bed, I turned off the computer and the monitor. That should have taken care of it.
When I woke up yesterday, everything seemed fine. I did my usual morning routine. Got out of bed. Stretched. Ate breakfast. Took a shower. Brushed my teeth. I watched myself in the mirror. My face was unblemished as usual, but I looked tired. Worn out. I had no idea what worn out was then. I leaned over to spit out the toothpaste. Made sure to rinse every bit of it away. When I looked up, there was some fuzz on the upper right corner of the mirror. I had to climb halfway onto the sink just to get it down. How did I miss it? I couldn’t have. It wasn’t there when I looked down. It was fucking with me. I put it in the toilet. I flushed it. It should have stayed away.
You know the routine by now. I went to classes. I came back home. It was worse. The fuzz had travelled to the kitchen. The sink had bits of fuzz in it. The counter was coated in dust, fuzz sent through the wringer until even the pretty wispiness disappeared in a dearth of dryness. That wasn’t too horrible. Dirty, sure, but it wasn’t impossible to fix. I vacuumed up all the fuzz and washed off the counter with a cloth. I filled the sink with hot soapy water and vinegar and let it sit for an hour. While I waited, I mopped the floor. By the time I finished, it was already 10. I had wasted my entire evening. I wanted to work on my paper, so I got a TV dinner out of the freezer. I took it our of the box and made sure to dispose of all the plastic it was encased in. As I walked to the microwave, I thought I might be getting better. I had never thought of cleaning as a waste of time before. I opened the microwave. Fuzz.
I woke up on the kitchen floor. I don’t know how long I was out, but it was enough time that my tortmenter had tired of subtlety. Every monitor. Every mirror. Every window. Every glass surface was covered in fuzz. I had enough. I skipped my classes. I called off of work. I cleaned every inch of it. Every glass surface. Every surface that touched the glass surfaces. Every surface that touched those surfaces. Eventually, I settled on cleaning the entire apartment. As I went along, I found fuzz hidden in nooks and crannies. Every drawer had a little bit of fuzz in it. A smidge of fuzz hid inside every lampshade. Fuzz was wedged into the crevice on the underside of the milk jug in the fridge. As I tried to remove every bit of fuzz from between the tiles on the bathroom floor, exhaustion set in. I passed out again.
When I woke up, it was back. Every surface. Glass. Wood. Plastic. Porcelain. All had been replaced by fuzz. Once I stood, I looked down at the fuzz outline that had surrounded me. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a small opening in the fuzz that had covered the mirror. This had to be deliberate. Whatever the fuzz wanted me to know, it was in that hole. I leaned over the sink and looked into the mirror. I thought I’d see an answer or a solution, maybe even some kind of fuzz world with fuzz creatures that I’d have to conquer to end my fuzzy torture. All I saw was an even tinier bit of fuzz. I blew at it. It didn’t budge. None of the fuzz moved. I tried to touch the fuzz that had covered the mirror. I couldn’t. It was inside the mirror. I know what you’re thinking. That solves it. Get rid of the mirror. Get rid of everything inhabited by fuzz and it’s gone.
I put my eye back up to the opening in the mirror. The tiny bit of fuzz remained in the middle of the opening, but it wasn’t like the fuzz that covered the rest of the mirror. Framed against my pupil, it looked finer than the fuzz I had been seeing, but it was still just as white and wispy as the rest of it. I thought there had to be something to this fuzz. I tried to moving my eye within the confines of the opening to look at the little fuzz from an angle, but it remained framed against my pupil. I thought I was seeing things. I rubbed my eyes and blinked a few times. I felt the fuzz. I got the message, so you’ll have to excuse me now. I have some tidying to do.