OCD Episode: Where I Literally Overthink a Discarded Dog Toy for Hours.

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I’m walking down the road. Walking my dog. The same way I walk the dog, just about the same time every day. I notice things, my OCD. I notice I feel the need to make sure the dog completes her own rituals—which are decidedly not very OCD-like. But of course rituals, as dogs… well, they don’t think like humans. Instinct and all of that. But I find myself counting the number of times she urinates and how much, to make myself feel like I’ve, well, walked her enough to get it all out of her. Same goes for poop, but we don’t need to go there.

I wouldn’t quite say I obsess over this, but most likely because her bowels and bladder do the work here, and do a good enough job at it. I still need to watch over everything.

She steps in her own pee. Sheesh. Now we have to walk that off. If we walk enough in the grass, that won’t track in the house. You know—pee itself doesn’t bother me. Until it’s dried up. Then it is a hellish substance. That’s a thing. A thing we can’t have in the house.

I’m walking down the road. Walking my dog, still. I come across what looks like a dog or cat toy. It is multi-colored and squeaky and prickly and altogether cool. It is! It is cool. It is situated halfway on the street, and halfway on the curb.

I want it.

Why? I don’t know. I want it.

I am conflicted. No, I am more than conflicted. I feel this belongs to someone. Or someone’s dog. Or cat. Or maybe their kid. I’m dangerously close to literally stealing candy from a baby. I could be. But it is so clearly lost and will so clearly somehow become garbage soon.

I want it and I take it and I put it in my pocket. No one sees me. I know this because I look around. I clearly feel guilty. But I want this silly toy. I’m risk-adverse, except when I’m not. My rational or irrational brain (I’m not even sure which one) is telling me I am stealing. I am causing someone to feel bad in the future. I could easily just drop the toy but my rational brain… ok, we’ve figured out which brain is thinking what… knows I need to get over this and allow myself to pick up discarded items for my own use. I like doing that.

But the OCD.

Fear. Fear that I have stolen something and I am going to be confronted. Worse, the fear that I have stolen something and created an omen of future karmic retribution against myself from… wherever that comes from. But it does. I know it does.

Oh! And I’m not walking down three more blocks and there is a half-eaten sandwich with flies all over it on the ground. I would never ascribe any of the above feelings to this sandwich. Never. I am absolutely not going to touch it, but if in some other bizarre universe I took the sandwich… I would not think the same.

Now, if I just give in and put the toy back, I’m… letting this negative magical thinking take over. Magical thinking. Yeah, it is an OCD thing. I know. I can’t stop it. I may not even be using the term correctly.

But here I am. With a toy in my pocket. That I want just for the sake of wanting it. Waiting for karmic justice to render a verdict on my actions.

I am back home.

And I worry. For hours. Inside my house. No one else knows. Everyone just thinks: “well, that is odd that he picked up a dog toy from the ground for no good reason, and is now washing it, huh.”

But to me: omens. Karma. Morals. Signs. Right and wrong. More omens.

I’d show you a picture, but I don’t want the previous owner of the toy to find this out.