I saw the Aviator on New Year's Eve. It's about Howard Hughes, the obsessive-compulsive, germaphobic, aviation genious. (Who knew he almost married Katherine Hepburn??) And what was funny about me seeing this movie about a man with OCD who collects his urine in milk bottles is that while we were finding our seats, I bumped into the back of a man's head. To make matters worse, I said "I'm sorry!" and touched it again--you know, in a conciliatory, sorry-I-hit-you sort of way. The man seemed all right enough, but when we sat down next to him, he moved away from us. Apparently men don't like it when women caress their bald spots. You can imagine the teasing I got from my sister, who kept saying "why did you have to touch it again? As if one time weren't bad enough! I turn around, and see you caressing some guy's bald spot! What were you thinking?"
My little faux pas reminded me of David Sedaris, who has a compulsion to touch people's heads in elevators and on airplanes. He writes about how he tries to hold back for as long as possible, but touching that head is inevitable. He usually pretends to get up to go to the bathroom or something, and "accidentally" bumps it. Once he touches it, he has to do it again, and eventually, the touchee wises up and gets suspicious. Well, as I sat there in the theater, watching Leonardo Di Caprio frantically repeat phrases over and over again, I began to wonder: why DID I touch that man's head? Am I compulsive? I kept envisioning myself shuffling around with kleenex boxes on my feet, finger and toe nails inches long, trying to spell quarantine ala Howard Hughes. Is it possible that the whole head-touching thing was just an amusing coincidence? I don't think so. This may just be the way of the future. The way of the future. The way of the future. Quarantine: Q-U-A-R-A-N-T-I-N- oh no what comes next?