And they all possess a very special trait: proper alignment.
Each book is aligned exactly the same distance from the edge of the bookshelf as another. All the books are flushed against an imaginary line about an inch into the shelf.
I realized DH had a compulsion for such (dis)order, among others, early on. I'd have a friend over who borrowed a book, and DH would know exactly which book it was with one glance on his bookshelf. That tiny little gap left between the neighbors of the missing book or the unevenness of any cluster of books would be all the clue he needed to know which book is gone.
This behavior was so amusing to me that there may have been occasions where every few books or so got pushed in all the way in to the back of the shelf. Cuz there'd be some serious reaction from
So the playfulness (on my part) got old and I quit teasing DH. But soon enough, the kiddos came along. Young DD learned very early on how quirky Daddy can be whenever his books were "disturbed." Years later, when DS was mobile and explored the bookshelves, DD would be quick to advise her baby brother not to touch the books. Of course, DS would always give a devilish look to his Daddy, push in a handful of books, and bust out a hearty belly laugh.
Even though he tortured his poor Daddy back then, look who's inherited the Orderly genes now.
It's also not a wonder why DS is our go-to person when we cannot find something in the house.
Over the years, I began to find things from which I craved order. Things that were lined up, symmetrical, or uniform appeared pleasing to my eyes and comforting to my mind. Straight edges and right angles gave me a sense of precision and security. Not that I didn't like creative and spontaneous brush strokes or freehand lines, but without the reference of a grid, I wouldn't be able to appreciate the genius of unstructured designs.
Which is why I utterly obsess over the art of knitting. The rows upon rows of perfect stitches is total joy for my eyes.
It is also probably why I love to to bake, as the precision in measurement is an integral part of the probability of a successful outcome. But with a basic recipe of stock ingredients, one can still exercise imagination and ingenuity by substituting or adding new ingredients. Again, chaos among order, creativity among structure.
Interestingly, DD has no signs of such compulsions whatsoever. She may have had some as a little girl, but all evidence points to the fact that she's outgrown it--she just does not need all her ducks lined up in a row. She is by no means very messy or totally disorganized, but she'd be the last person to find something in this house. In fact, she could be looking for something staring right at her and she'd declare--with absolute certainty--its non-existence. I'd say that she got more share of my genes in that department.
Just the other day, I watched a child walk by a wall-to-wall bookshelf and push in books by the handful WITH.EACH.STRIDE. Every length of hair on my body stood up, and I tried, achingly, to hide the horrified look on my face. No one else in the room even noticed or had one ounce of reaction.
This is a fine example of nature versus nurture.
I've inherited DH's compulsion via environmental institutionalization.
We are a hopeless bunch.
Except maybe for DD.
Run, Daughter, run!