Rich and I are both perfectionists. We have specific ways we want things done, and we both have a hard time giving an inch if something’s not quite our way…
Neat freaks. Precisionists. Fussbudgets. Micromanagers. OCD. Whatever you want to call it, it all boils down to us both being anal retentive — aka anal.
Anal — A term used to refer to a person who feels a need to be in control of all aspects of his or her surroundings. Or, in other words, an anal retentive person “can’t let go of shit.” (Urban Dictionary)
While both of us being anal isn’t necessarily a bad thing, occasionally we’ll look at each other with bewilderment and just think, “Are you CRAZY!” Am I’m sure others around us think the same thing. 🙂
For a long time, I didn’t think I was anal. But then my wise niece Theresa told me that I was after I complained about a particular incident while I was going to college about 15 years ago.
Since then I embrace it. And being anal has helped me get at least five job offers when I tell the story about my niece explaining to me that I’m anal.
When I am asked, “Do you pay attention to detail?”, here’s the story I tell:
I was a non-traditional student in my mid forties when I went back to school.
We had a lot of group work in my classes which could be very difficult to organize given that most of my group were also non-traditional students–we had families, we had jobs, we couldn’t just run down the hall in the dorm to meet.
I was always tasked with putting everything together for the final paper or presentation. I was tired of doing that and said, “I want to do something else. Someone else can do that part.”
Several of my cohorts looked at me and said, at the same time, “Kathy, you have to do it. You’re so anal you make it all perfect!”
I was appalled. I had no idea that they thought I was anal let alone that I was anal.
I complained to Theresa, my niece who was studying psychology among other things, about it trying to convince her that I was in fact not anal.
I ended by saying, “If I was anal, I would have done something about the six dead flies that have been laying in my bedroom windowsill for the last three weeks because I’ve been too busy to clean.”
Theresa smiled at me knowingly and said softly, “Kathy, the fact that you have counted the flies and that you know how long they’ve been there shows that you ARE anal.”
Since then, I’ve embraced my analness because there’s a place in the world for anal retentives.
I am a bit worried, though, because I am becoming more anal, analer if you will, as I get older.
My goal is to stop myself before I become the most anal, analest if you will, and thoroughly drive myself and everyone else nuts.