Not too long ago, I had to order a bag for my work laptop. I just wanted a simple, black shoulder bag, so I picked a sort of cheap one. No big deal. The very next day it came in. When I opened the box and reached in to grab it, my body went into freak out mode. It was like I just grabbed a hot iron. Also, my teeth hurt. It was like they were set on edge. I wanted to bite whatever was in there. Suddenly, I realized what happened: I had touched something on the Do Not Touch list.
Much like the “Do Not Fly” list, I have a “Do Not Touch” list. I have gone 20+ years of my life not touching foam, velour, or any other similar material for good reason. Egg crate mattresses? Forget it. Foam paint brushes? No way. Once, I unknowingly bought a Magic Eraser because the marketing was so good. My ex had opened it and it was laying on the counter and I immediately knew I would never use it, just based on its material.
I will fully admit that I was a weird child. I had an insane amount of anxiety, and these anxieties presented themselves as ticks and compulsions. For instance, before I could tie my own shoes, I remember my mom tying my shoes and me FREAKING OUT that:
- the seam of my sock at the toes had slightly moved and the shoe needed to be removed
- the laces were not tied tight enough. She would literally have to tie my shoes over and over again until it was just right
There were many, many other things I did, but you get the gist of it. However, the granddaddy of them all was me coming into contact with any sort of foam/velour/crushed velvet-types of material. For some reason, if I did touch it, I would immediately want to bite it. Don’t ask me why; I can provide no rational explanation. I’m pretty sure I have a mild case of tactile autism, but that’s just a self diagnosis. The textures of these material would literally shut my body down and I couldn’t function properly. The worst part, as I said above, is it would make my teeth hurt. The message that my fucked up brain would send to me was “OMG! The only way your teeth will feel better is if you bite it.” So, I did as I was told.
It didn’t happen too often, but when it did, I couldn’t be stopped. So, knowing this, you can only imagine the complete nervous breakdown I experienced when my parents bought their 1986 Cutlass Supreme. It was a two-tone car, black and silver. Very swanky. According to most car buying standards, it was a nice car. The interior? COMPLETELY VELOUR. Like, everywhere. Sheer terror and panic set in. How was I ever going to endure this torture?? I literally could not even fathom getting into that car. I would have much rather swam with sharks, or watched a Lawrence Welch marathon for a month. We only had one car, so it wasn’t even like I had a backup plan. Maybe they would let me ride in the trunk? Strap me to the roof? I would have much rather died than set foot into that car. Of course, I had no choice.
I really, REALLY tried my hardest to control myself. I brought books with me in the car. I figured out how to get into the car without touching anything. I sat with my hands between my knees for further insurance. I felt like a junkie sitting in the middle of a crack den. “Oh, no, no, no. I’m quite fine, thank you. I’ll just sit here and watch you do all the drugs that I want.” After probably a week of utter mental torture, it happened. I freaked the fuck out. I remember getting in the car, and my ritual of not touching anything somehow misfired and I touched the seat. Game on.
My father was driving, my mother in the front passenger seat. I was sitting behind my father. I remember leaning forward and BITING the headrest of my father’s seat. I couldn’t be stopped. I did it over and over. At some point, my mother turned to look in the back seat. There I was, latched on like a dog with a bone to the headrest. She slapped me off of it, but I just kept going back for more. I needed out of that car. My mother is screaming at me to knock it off, my father is driving and yelling that this is “frigging bullshit now, this was a new car!”, and I’m obsessively attacking a velour headrest.
That first attack luckily didn’t leave any marks. However, over the course of time, they began to show. Obviously, I learned that I couldn’t do it when my parents were in the car. So, I would go into the car before them and just get it out of my system as best I could.
It’s funny, we didn’t have that car for very long. I like to think that it’s because it had a lot of things wrong with it and it would have been too much money to fix. But let’s face it: they had to get rid of it because they’re psychotic daughter was leaving bite marks on the headrests.