Thursday, September 28, 2006

Get High on a New Thing

About a month ago, I bought myself a shiny new car. Yep, I've been around forty years, figured it was high time I had a new one. As with all new things, a lot of care goes into keeping it shiny, new, and 'factory condition'. I bought special wipes for the interior. If I get stuck in the rain I drive home, then dry off my sweetie in the garage so it doesn't streak. And the wheels of this brand have a tendency to put out a lot of black brake dust, so every Sunday I'm out there polishing the wheel wells. Yep, I love my baby. It's my shiny new thing.

Now, yesterday, while I was parked in a department store lot, waiting for my son (he got a job, yeah!) something horrible ocurred. I saw it coming. I cringed, but there was no way to stop it. A mother and her three year old child approached to get into the car next to mine. The kid's face was riddled with gooey dark stuff. Chocolate likely, but I don't want to bring that luscious substance into this foul tale. We'll just say it was caramel, 'cause I can go either with with caramel. Anyway, the gooey kid eyed my shiny new thing, and...touched it! She smeared up my side window, and the mother simply cooed 'oh, sweetie, come on, don't touch.' But the damage had been done. She had defiled my shiny new thing! Needless to say I rushed home to give it a tender-loving shine and said a curse against all sticky three year olds. SIgh... (Okay, so I didn't curse any kids. Come on!)

Just ask my kids about mom's obsession with keeping new things new and they'll chuckle that nervous laughter of one who knows that maybe the offending party is a little off kilter. Any small household appliance that comes out of the box with an extension cord all coiled up neatly and twisty-tied? I never remove the twisty tie. It must remain factory condition. Even tf that entails rearranging the whole cupboard to allow the short coiled cord to reach an outlet.

And if there's a plastic film over an electronic device to protect the screen? That stays. I kept the plastic over my iPod wheel for well over a year. The plastic protecting the radio on my previous car remained well over six months. If it's sealed, but usable, it doesn't get removed.

What about those lovely smelling body butters and moisturizers you buy in the tubs? Open it up to reveal a perfect factory-impressed swirl on the top. Oh, I skim lightly in the direction of the swirl as to preserve it's loveliness as long as possible. Note to all skimmers: Do NOT allow The Hubby to use your body butter! The first time The Hubby goudged out a big chunk I think I had a heart attack. He had defiled the swirl! Oh, my heart aches.

Which brings me to books. First off, I never purchase the first book in the pocket at a store. Those books have likely been Touched By Others. I dig down for a perfect copy that isn't torn or smeared or bent. I have been known to not buy the book if there are no perfect copies, and often will drive to another store in my quest.

Now, when I read a hard cover book it can only be done with the book jacket OFF. Oh, I know, it's there to protect. Right. But what's protecting the pretty book jacket? I can't risk a bend or wrinkle or tear should I keep it on while reading.

And paperbacks. Now, my friends who know of my book habits find it odd that I will, in fact, dog ear a page. No problem with that. But crack the spine? I think not! I have been known to contort into awkward, squinting positions to read the text inside a book that I don't want to open too wide lest I should crack the spine. To crack a spine is book murder, I tell you. Are you guilty?

So tell me, ARE you guilty? Or do you like a pristine read as well as I do, one that looks as new after you've read it, as when you bought it. Tell!

Oh, and bonus points for anyone who remembers who sang the hit 80s song Get High On A New Thing.


Debra Dixon said...


Oh, my gosh! I love shiny new things. I'm terrible about it. I like new antiques (reproductions), because that old stuff is just too banged up.

I hate hate hate when anyone creases a spine. I can read one of my books 3 times and you'll never see a spine crease. My sister and mother will only borrow books if I assure them they can...::shudder::...crease the spine and I don't want the book back.

I'm very irritated if I buy a hard to find book in "like new" condition and it comes with spine creases or edge fraying.

I mope whenever my newest shiny new thing is damaged. (I'm so shallow.) The good news is that once I'm through with the 30 second mope it's WTF and onward. Don't have have time to be bothered. But that 30 seconds really sucks!

Betina Krahn said...

Michele, I had no idea you were such a perfectionist! They have medicine for that now.(:>) I read my hardcovers with the jackets ON! Bwahahahahaha.

However, I do try to keep from breaking paperback spines. And my fiance, bless him, is a careful reader who removes the paper cover to preserve it, then procedes to break hardcover spine! He chalks it up to the fact that they're not making books as sturdy as they used to! I chalk it up to the fact that he falls asleep each night with a book across his chest.

As to my own fussiness. . . I will only confess to liking my bed made every morning and to folding towels across the racks in the bathroom.

Oh, and since Rex came into my life, I no longer eat in the car. Ever. The occasional drink cup or can, but that's it. My car has never looked so good!

Michele said...

Deb, I SO relate to getting a book that is supposed to be 'like new' and finding it NOT like new. I once ordered one and it had a finger smear inside. I don't think I kept the book. Just couldn't do it.

Yeah, Betina, I've heard of those meds, but I'd spend too much time lining them perfectly along the counter, counting them, comparing their shiny exteriors, to even think of taking them. ;-) Oh, and no one eats in my car. I don't even like to transport fast food home in it, because there's always the risk of leaving that greasy smell behind. Sigh...

Jaye Wells said...

Gasp! He defiled the body butter? The fiend!

I'm not a perfectionist. However, my husband, who is a virgo, totally is. He regularly goes into fits because I get his CDs out of order or open a new DVD and leave the sticky residue from seal on it. The horror!

I tell him he should just give it up. Our four-year-old boy just doesn't understand why daddy wants him to arrange his Dr. Seuss books in order by pub date.

Helen Brenna said...

I'm a slob.

I eat, drink, have wet dogs in my car. Nothing is alphabetized in my house, let alone lined up in any way shape or form.

And I--for shame--constantly break the spines on books. They need to stay open so I can read, right?

At least I have clean toilets!! (I think!)

Betina Krahn said...

Jaye. . . Virgos are perfectionists? I don't know much about them, but my new granddaughter (two weeks) is already showing signs of liking things a certain way. She hated the billirubin(sp)goggles they put on her and pushed them off several times. They taped the goggles back on and she managed to dislodge even that!

Does that mean she's going to be stubborn or just well-organized?

She's cute as a bug, even at two weeks. Golly, I can't wait to get my hands on her! You can tell, huh?

Debra Dixon said...


I completely understand your husband too! However, tell him that those who've gone before have tried and you just can't make a kid who's perfectly happy with a jumble of books appreciate the satisfaction of seeing them all lined up like soldiers on parade!

I settled for the kid loving books. The day he came and asked me, "Do we have any more books by that Twain guy?"
...well, I knew my work there was done.

Michele said...

Jaye - Oh, I forgot about my alphabetized DVDs and my Dewey Decimal system filed books. ;-) And shame on you for leaving tape residue on the DVDs!

Did I mention I'm a Virgo?

Betina, I think you should prepare for stubborn AND well organized.

As for keeping kids in order... I tried that whole 'clean your room thing' early on. It was too much work. I found a happiness in allowing the kids' rooms to be their domain. If it's messy, that's fine, cause I don't have to live in there. There were times you couldn't even see the floor. But you know, after a while, they clean it up on their own. I have a very neat son, who vacuums regularly. (More than I do.)

Hmm, despite my need to keep new things new, I don't have much of a tidy streak when it comes to cleaning house. What does that mean?

Michele said...

Helen! I'm so glad I didn't see any of your (murdered) books during our last PAN meeting. I may have passed out, and then the dogs would have started licking my face, and well, I would have been one traumatized chick. :-)

Jaye Wells said...

Betina congrats on the granddaughter. Most of the virgos I know are particular about things being a certain way. There are variations on what they're particular about though. Either way, enjoy that baby!

Debra, yes, the kiddo loving books is the most important thing. Of course, he loves them so much he used to eat them, but that's another issue. I swear he got the goat genes from my in-laws.

Michele, the DVD residue is one of the little things I do to drive him crazy. He's so easy to pick on.

Betina Krahn said...

Jaye, thanks for the heads up! Our little girl is coming home from the hospital today-- this should be interesting. The two older brothers (3 yrs and 20 months) will have some major adjusting to do. Something tells me that keeping the new baby shiny and new is probably not in the cards!

And Michele, I realized I do have a thing about keeping my DVD covers neat and uncracked. And I really hate it when my sister takes off her shoes in my car and puts her bare feel on the dashboard!

Kathleen Eagle said...

I haven't read any of the posts. I just sat down to do so, looked out the window and there are 2 gorgeous wild turkeys out there! We're in the woods, and I get visits from lots of wildlife, but wild turkeys not so often. Think it's male and female. They're HUGE.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Thanks a lot, guys. You make me feel like a total slob. I love old things. Used. Stuff that's had a life or two. I especially love things that people don't use anymore like button hooks and hankies. I collect dolls. Some collectors only want MIB--mint in box. But then you have to keep it that way. What fun is that? Remember the 40 Year Old Virgin's collection of action figures? I loved that movie!

Couldn't get a photo of the turkeys. Tried to sneak up on 'em, but I'm a terrible sneaker. Deer out there now. Turkeys gone. It's dusk. Beginning of fall color season. Betina, you'll have to wait a bit on jazzing us about FL weather. Oh! Mr. and Mrs cardinal just stopped by.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Michele, I'm a spine cracker. Purposely. I'm with Helen--I'm diving into that book and digging the good stuff out hand over fist. I love old books, too. I have a couple of really old ones, including my dad's 4th grade social studies book. (Man, the stuff they said about American Indians makes you want to scream. They were teaching this to my 9-yr-old daddy?!) I love to imagine who read this, where they were, where they are now, stuff like that.

Anonymous said...

*raises hand* I'm totally with you on the book thing. I cringe if I break a spine (it ruins the look dang it) and I've been known to empty the entire rack of books to find the perfect one *usually the last or second last). Real fun at Costco when there's stacks and stacks. Bent corners, edges, goes back in the pile for someone else :o)

Helen Brenna said...

lis's comment made me realize, that although I have no problem *murdering* books when I get home, I do look for the nicest ones at stores. I like my victims to look good before I torture them!!

Michele said...

Oh, Helen, you kill me!