How I Deal with Appointments

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Hint: I obsess over them relentlessly.

I have a meeting (or appointment, or event) at, say, 10:00 AM. The mere knowledge of this sets a series of mindsets into place before this takes place. This is how my OCD acts upon scheduled activities—any and all of them.

For starters, it is my goal to be absolutely on time to the minute, so I have to work backward from there. One of the problems that I face, and one of the ways my life is negatively affected, is that “working backward” is often an hours-long affair. Mostly in my mind.

Because my brain knows that I can only successfully complete tasks (the stuff I’d be doing if I didn’t have this appointment) if I put myself in an obsessive zone without any distraction, I am in a state of unproductive paralysis before I have to go to this appointment. I can’t do anything else other than think about the appointment. And there is plenty to think about.

Assuming I have to travel to get to this appointment, I will spend a lot of time planning how long every leg of my travels will take to get me to the appointment on time. Precisely on time. I look back on measurements of time and distance and try to add in the correct amount of fudge factor time. I go back and forth on the best time to leave, and my calculations will come up with what may seem like an oddly precise time on the clock. There will be a set of reasons I’ll decide to call the cab at 9:26 AM for this 10:00 AM appointment.

So 9:26 AM it is!

And it’s only 8:00 AM. Well, now I can fool around with things like my calendar and a few tasks that are in the category of “rote and not much work.” (Very few are classified as such) That can be stretched out to around 8:30 AM or 8:45 AM, where at some point I’ll just be wasting time.

I hate wasting time, but I know at this point I’m in for wasting time.

I now reach the point where I pace. I’m not necessarily nervous about this appointment (though even the ones which I am nervous for, I’m still going to pace and ready my mind for leaving.)

Ready my mind? That actually makes no sense. See, I already spent most of the night before preparing everything so that I could—even though I won’t—leave at a moment’s notice to the appointment. That obsession is a whole other thing.

I now just… pace. Sometimes I actually pace by walking around my house seemingly aimlessly, sometimes I just “pace” in my mind. The key is I can’t do anything substantive in the thirty-ish minutes before I’ve decided I have to leave.

I just can’t. I don’t understand how others can. In fact, I will look at others doing stuff right before they leave for an appointment, and I will wonder how their brain can handle that sort of focus when the clock is ticking towards a time they will soon have to stop.
This is all part of the reason I generally don’t like when people plan to come to visit me. Because all of the same stuff happens, but I have no control over when they will actually arrive. And I fully know most people don’t arrive at exactly 10:00:00 AM for a 10 AM meeting.

However, I will hover around my front door waiting for them, because I just can’t do anything else. Anything else would require focus, and for some reason, my brain can only focus on looking out for my potential visitors. Oh, I’ll also play out things I’m going to say or do—because I have terrible social skills and fully know how socially awkward I am. So, hey—at least I have something to think about, right?

The above occurs with everything I have to do that is on a schedule. Anything colored yellow on my calendar.

Interacting with the world outside of my own head is mostly a waiting game. A game of obsession, and not being able to be obsessed at the same time.

And thus—any appointment, meeting, or event is padded with hours of work (we’ll call it “work” for lack of a better term) before said appointment, meeting, or event.

So much extra work, so little returned to be with any sort of value. This is why I don’t like meetings. All of this obsession!