Dr. Strange-glove – or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Fridge.

I just got through cleaning a drainage tray from behind the fridge that had become infested with all manner of ikky mould and pungent wrongness.

A bad smell was coming from somewhere the last few days. Spilt milk? Nope. Food going off? Nope. Sink? Nope. Eliminated all those things and finally, my olfactorily superior sister pinned it down to this EVIL concealed drainage tray at the back of the fridge. I’ve never seen such a thing on a fridge before and the couple of times I saw this one, I mistakenly thought it was some kind of oil sump from the fridge motor cos it looked like oil in the bottom of it. I even tried to get it off one time to empty the oil out but it just would not budge.


Picture this filled with hideous brown mouldy radioactive poo like fungus

Anyway so my sister tracked it down to this Devil tray and when I saw what was in it my heart sank.

Et tu bru-tray?

A thick brown menacing miasma of cackling sentient evil. And this a mere two days after cleaning out Satan’s vegetable bin which had been left for God knows how long with new vegetables piled on top of old ones. Very wrong things had started manifesting at the bottom of that bin. I gagged emptying it. I left it to stand in the garden for two days then went out with a bucket and soon-to-be-binned cloth to assault it with bleach.  Big job. I suppose in retrospect I went over the top on it. Christ – I hope the neighbours didn’t see. But what are you gonna do – I’ve got OCD for fuck’s sake! I really shouldn’t even be the biohazard clean-up guy. But here, living in my elderly parents’ house, there is no-one else. So I get to pay for my crazy father’s demonic lifestyle choices. And that’s on me, I get it. On paper, I don’t need to be here, but that’s another story for another time(yeah like never!).

When faced with something like that, I try to approach it methodically: get rid of the worst of it; find some disposable implements to deal with the rest and apply whatever chemicals are required to kill everything dead; then work down the chain cleaning everything involved(or binning it); cleaning everything it touched within reason; then finally wash(or bin) my clothes; and wash myself. Thoroughly of course.

My kind of OCD is what is casually referred to as Pure O(short for purely obsessional OCD). It’s a misnomer anyway because originally they thought it was OCD without the compulsions. They were wrong – the compulsions just take place (mostly) in the person’s mind as opposed to physical rituals. To add to the confusion, they later they realised that’s wrong too and there are physical overspills like gestures or spoken phrases used to reinforce the thoughts – think of Tourette’s which is very closely related to OCD.

So in reality, it’s all a big blur and there’s usually lots of overlaps between these different types of OCD. Just in case that’s not confusing enough, any psychologist worth their salt will tell you that there’s only one type of OCD anyway – plain old OCD; and the sub categories are invalid and misleading. I do know this, yet I persist in using the term Pure O because:

(a) it saves a lot of time explaining the nature of my disorder to fellow sufferers and therapists alike.

(b) I dislike the casual and derogatory(not to mention incorrect!) perception that the term OCD has garnered through the media. So maybe people will take this term more seriously.

(c) It sounds cooler than OCD. Yeah, I know that’s really lame but hey, I’m only human!

Anyway the point is that there are overspills and I got a taste of that today. I got lumbered with this rancid job from hell and it was a curveball. I already knew I couldn’t get the damned tray out, plus now it was filled with this brown soup of wretched stinking foulness which either contained Listeria, E. coli, or a cure for cancer – we will never know – but I was TERRIFIED of trying to get this out and it splashing on me. Cos then it would po-si-tively be suicide by flamethrower time.

So I took some time to google this problem. People said it was a design flaw and you had to force it out with brute strength and break the idiotic inaccessible hidden catches … cut to me covered in rank soup … death by flamethrower …

NO! No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. NO! No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. NO!

I ain’t goin’ out like that! I ain’t goin’ out like THAT!

I took some cling film – which is possibly the most exasperating product ever invented by mankind by the way – and proceeded to wrap it around said infested cesspool until I had covered whatever I could get at.

I washed my hands thoroughly and put on a pair of big girly pink but necessary marigold washing-up gloves and joined the fray.

I started wrestling with the drainage tray, trying to get fingers behind, underneath, from the sides, trying to get at whatever was holding it in place. It was just horribly impossible and I was threatening soup spill by trying. So the brute force phase commenced. This was tricky cos it looked like enough force would bring the compressor it was attached to out with it as well. Much wiggling and twisting and pulling occurred.

Much swearing also occurred as I started to lose my temper at being yet again foisted with  a foul mess to clean up and being trapped within this insane OCD nightmare predicament.

I had to wonder if the designers at the fridge company sat around a meeting table one day and had a conversation something like this:

“So guys, we’ve made this new fridge. All seems great on paper. Looks good, does what it’s supposed to, gonna be reasonably priced. There’s just one problem and we think it’s a big one. We’re concerned people are gonna be TOO pleased with the fridge. And there’s a real danger this will raise their expectations to such unprecedented levels that we’ll never be able to meet them again. It could be the end of us. So I’ve called this brainstorming session to ask you guys to pool your powers of creative thinking to bail us out on this one. Come one guys – what can we do to redress the balance here and make this only a mediocre fridge again?”

“Electrified handle sir?”

“I like your energy – it’s good that you’re trying – but it would never work. It’s too directly hateful toward the customer. We’d end up on the wrong side of a class action lawsuit. Come on let’s keep this energy going here guys. Give me something else …”

“I know Sir – we could make it warm the food instead of cooling it!?”

“Hmmm, again, I love what you’re trying to do – thinking outside the box and all; but these ideas are just going to seem overtly hostile to our customers. We’ll get slung out of the fridge making business if we try anything like that. No, we need more subterfuge here. Come on guys – we only have one day to get this design finished! My job’s are on the line here, and I’ve gotta tell ya – if I get thrown under the bus on this one then god dammit, I’m taking all of yous with me too. NOW COME ON GUYS!”




“Hohw abowt a sikrit compartmunt pozitioned at zer back of zer fridge vehr no-von effer looks? Veee can arrenj eet zo an ole from zer fridge feeds der food bits und melt vorter zroo effer zow zlowly into zis compartmunt. Mebbe mants vill pass, mebbe yearss! Hoo nozz? Bat VON DAY, zee casstamma eez heet by zis deesgastink zmell. Und zer cherry on zer top of zis shtrudel – VEE STIK ZER COMPARTMENT IN ZEHR MIT ZUPERGLUOO!!”

“Well Herr Von Hoofelstein, I have to say, I did have my reservations about taking an ex Nazi war criminal into the design team; but I think we can all agree that you’ve absolutely surpassed yourself here today. IT’S GENIUS! It’s hostile but not so overtly that anyone could sue us, it’s insidious with the whole time element, it’s got plausible deniability. And the glue part is just pure EVIL. I LOVE IT! Get the designs drawn up and on my desk by morning and there’ll be a fat bonus cheque in your next pay packet!”.

I suppose we’ll never know. And obviously I can’t say the name of the fridge company here because this blog is huge in Hollywood now and I’ll get into trouble, but here’s a random song that may or may not hold a clue. It also rhymes with Nico. But it’s spelt like Beko.

Alas, unlike the fridge bandits, subterfuge was never my strong point.



A better view from underneath of the evil clip that impregnably binds it to the fridge


So anyway, I wrestle with this damn scum-filled tray until finally something breaks and I get it away. The cling film worked! No gunk spilt. But then I have to clean it. The kitchen sink is the obvious choice but I was genuinely worried about what was in this thing so I decided to fill it with bleach and pur it down the toilet. All the while being incredibly careful not to spill anything. Being of a thorough disposition, I repeated this process about 5 times, using my elbow to switch the hot tap in the bathroom on and off and being damn careful not to spill anything. Then I spent roughly 3 millennia pouring more bleach into the tray and cleaning out the remaining crud with toilet paper. Once all the worst bits had gone I flushed the loo and squirted bleach up around the rim, and some around the edge, giving it a good wipe down until the bleach had gone.

Then I proceeded downstairs to the kitchen sink. I cleared everything away to make a 50 mile dead zone around it(there may be some slight exaggerations going on here by the way). I filled it up with hot water and bleach, took the most knackered brush and started scrubbing like fuckbuggery until there was nothing left to scrub. With undiluted bleach, I scrubbed all around the back of the fridge where the tray had been sat. While there wasn’t any sign of any crud on any of it, I couldn’t take any chances. I had to go nuclear just in case it had somehow cunningly projected onto its surroundings as a survival measure in the event of sneak attacks like this. It felt like the kind of shit it would pull. It had that air of deviousness about it. Then I rinsed it all and put it back in place.



My new best friend


Then I had to clean the kitchen sink thoroughly with bleach. I used the same brush before throwing it in the bin. Then I took the most knackered dish cloth I could find, gave it a good rinse and used it to rinse off the sink before moving upstairs. I was going to use said cloth to do the toilet but then realised the bathroom sink also needed bleaching just in case anything had spilled despite my elbow shenanigans. So I used more toilet roll to clean the toilet all over with bleach. Then I cleaned the toilet floor because maybe some dripped onto that while I was doing it. Finally I flushed the loo and put more bleach under the rim.

Then I moved onto the bathroom sink and used the dishcloth to clean it all thoroughly with bleach before binning the cloth.

I drew the line there because it had already consumed a lot of time. Besides the bleach had worn my hands down to bloody stumps and they were starting to tingle a little.

I then proceeded to give myself a damned good scrub in the shower twice over. It’s the only way to be sure. Then I could think about relaxing and getting on with my day(well night).

Now contamination and cleanliness are not technically even facets of my OCD so I have to wonder how much more convoluted this job would have been for someone with that going on. I’ve heard stories of things like this taking all day, involving things being thrown out and replaced; and I’m not talking dish cloths and brushes here, I’m talking the fridge, the kitchen and bathroom sinks, the toilet. I’ve heard that different rooms get used for cleaning different things and everyone has to strip off and change clothes going between rooms. Or people have to strip and get changed in the garden. Showers can take 8 hours, obviously the sufferer ends up with dermatological problems, not to mention a horrific water/electricity bill. From an outsider’s point of view it’s an insane eccentricity gone to far. From their point of view it is life and death and not even really far enough.

Wherever my cut off is for clean and safe, for those poor buggers it’s become so skewed out of shape, they have to do all of that just to feel OK about it. THAT is their compromise just like the above is my compromise. And believe me there were a lot of compromises in that for me. Like not shampooing the carpet in between the kitchen and bathroom, not bleaching all the door handles which the more I suddenly think about it I may have to now go and do GOD DAMMIT.

But this is as far back as they draw the line of compromise to allow life to go on while at the same time deactivating the screaming anxiety sirens in their heads telling them they(and anyone else in the house) absolutely cannot use any of those things again until certain measures have been taken. How could they, knowing that it might still be contaminated and might be contaminating everything else that comes into contact with it. And that way of thinking is quite within my reach. I can taste it. I can rationalise it. Clearly I am not a million miles away from it myself. But the one thing is livable with, and the other is really just not.

Unfortunately, while my contamination issues are livable with, my Pure O ones clearly are not, so it’s really swings and roundabouts. I did speak to a lady who had suffered both Pure O and more recently contamination OCD. She said that she’d take the contamination OCD over Pure O any time. That surprised me because her life sounded like a living nightmare with all the rules, regimes, avoidances, and the massive time hits she was taking every day just to tread water.

I don’t know though – I personally think they both suck equally. They make your life about unreal bullshit instead of what it’s supposed to be about. A life in servitude to false perceptions and magical thinking. Enslaved to relationships that don’t really exist. While everything else trickles on by out of reach. Any way you cut it, it’s a living hell and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone (I liked).



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