Saturday, 31 March 2012

On getting the last bean out of the tin

Beans on toast and coffee for breakfast this morning.

As I struggled to extract the very last bean from the tin, I reflected that getting the very last bean from the tin has been a life long obsession. I imagine that the minutes I have spent chasing the last bean out of its lair at the bottom of the tin would probably add up to about a year of my life.

The rationale for doing this is, of course, "Well, I've paid for every bean, and I'm damned-well going to eat every bean!" Fair enough. But what are all those wasted minutes worth? What might I have done with that accumulated year? How many months and years have I wasted on my other obsessions?

Now, I don't really have too many obsessions and I'm not in any way a sufferer from OCD. Just the sort of stuff most of us do. Here are some examples of common obsessions I have observed in myself and others:

  • Repeatedly checking that appliances are switched off

  • Never throwing anything away because, well, "you never know"

  • When posting a letter, giving the post box aperture a little four-finger shove when you know the letter has dropped "just to make sure"

  • Checking email more than really necessary

  • Needing cutlery or furniture ordered in a certain way

  • Giving the front door a little push to make sure you really did lock it on your way out

  • Checking that all the enclosures really are in the envelope, even though you've just enclosed them - and you know you have

and finally

  • Making endless lists

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