My curtain is crooked. I stand in front of the window with my arms crossed and my eyes squinted and hope that I am seeing wrong, that it is actually straight as an arrow, back and forth zip zip perfectly, purely horizontal, and all I can do is wonder if this is some kind of sick metaphor for my life. Are you trying to tell me something, universe? Because I am not listening to poor metaphors about crookedness and misguided effort. I am not.

My curtain is hung. That is the important part. I climbed the ladder and drilled the screws and threaded the fabric and fitted things into places and stepped back (after climbing off the ladder, certainly) and there it was, above my window. A curtain.

Which is crooked.

But I could be wrong. I do not have so much a sense of back and forth horizontalness. I don’t think I see quite straight. I look at pictures of myself, and I am always convinced that my glasses are crooked. I eye a floor, and am convinced it slopes. The first thing I do, when I return to the salon’s reception desk, to pay for my fancy eyebrow grooming, is ask anxiously, "They’re not crooked, are they? Because I think they’re crooked."

The receptionist usually makes a little snotty face and his eyes bounce from one side of my head to the other and he will say, "No. No, they’re not crooked." And I laugh it off and then pull out a compact in the hallway or glare at myself in the elevator’s reflective surfaces, and crinkle up my forehead and am convinced that I am terribly lopsided and will never, not ever, find love.

Because no one will love a lopsided maggoty person, of course.

Maybe it’s not a metaphor about my life being all wrong and terrible and lopsided. Maybe this is some kind of deep metaphor about how I am always convinced that my life is all crazy and out-of-whack or I am convinced that I, that I am bent and wacky and unfixable when in truth–when the truth is, when the fact of the matter is, when what it all comes down to, eventually and in the end and once you get right down to it–is that I’m just seeing things, mis-seeing worrying about things that shouldn’t be worried about, aren’t to be worried about, aren’t there to be worried about. And that right there, that’s the kind of metaphor I can listen to. Except that my curtain really is crooked.

4 Replies to “alignment”

  1. If you use a level on the curtain rod… and then on your window trim and on your floor… you can determine whether the curtain is really crooked, or crooked just in relation to one of those two other lines, or whatever. I realize this is not totally about curtains, but the situation you are describing would drive me nuts, so maybe you could derive some peace about the actual literal curtain this way. (The floor in our house slopes–if you look at our top stair, it is at a distinct angle to the rest of the stairs–so we have to align stuff like that to the window frame rather than the floor.) I guess that won’t help with your eyebrows, though. :)

  2. Anne, you crack me up…just this afternoon I told my husband I was stopping at the eyeglass place to have my new glasses adjusted because I am CONVINCED they are going downhill, to the left…and I hate that. (My family thinks they are totally even.) I go around closing cupboard doors and adjusting pictures on the wall, and I adjust the comforter on the bed so it’s totally even…sometimes I think I’m a nutjob…but it’s just one of my idiocyncracies…we all have them.

    I just want to say I look forward to your daily posts and get such a kick out of you. You really have helped me with my struggles in my head about this whole weight-loss thing. Thanks for putting yourself out there….you help so many more people than you know.

  3. A friend once told me, kindly, that I always think I’m different or weird or strange or have thoughts unlike anyone else…but that in fact we’ve all got a little bit o’ the crazy and that I needed to learn that at least there was comfort in that, in knowing I wasn’t the only one. I have since learn to trust in sharing some of my crazy with people close to me (not strangers on the bus, mind you, because that, that would be crazy) and I have, in fact, found comfort in this, in discovering that most of the time most of them look at me when I think I’m telling them some sicko secret that will expose my crazy and say with a laugh, Oh yeah, I’ve thought that many times.

    By the way, re your curtain: it’s my experience that almost all houses or apartments, unless they’re brand new, have sloped or crooked window frames, floors, etc. You have to choose between hanging things truly straight (but they’ll look crooked in the imperfect surroundings), or hanging them crooked, but at least they’ll be in alignment with the crookedness around you.

    Not sure, but there may be a metaphor about life in that statement.

  4. anon, with respect to OCD specifically, my friend’s comment is always “We’re all on the spectrum!” I think that is so true.

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