Confession: I'm a little particular about table settings. I love setting the table, and I especially love lining everything up into their rightful places. Every piece, every utensil must be in its proper spot.
Chris is still coming to terms with this quirk of mine, even after two years of being married to me. You see, Chris is more concerned with efficiency. He doesn't see why his fork can't be on the right side of his plate. He uses his fork with his right hand, and so why should he have to pick it up from the left side of his plate?*
But on this matter I'm unbending. Seriously, I can't handle it to see the fork on the right side, or the knife pointing outward from the plate, or the glasses placed willy-nilly on the table. I start twitching and can't focus on anything else until I've lined up the glasses with the knives, the cultery with the bottoms of the plates, until I've flipped in all the knives.
(I confess that I've been known to follow behind someone who is setting a table, rearranging everything into their rightful places.)
I blame Girl Guides for this quirk. When I was in Pathfinders (that's Girl Guides for girls in their early teens), we would have this winter retreat at a B&B called "Bluenose Vacation Farm." While we were there, we'd learn how to bake bread and play games in the snow. We'd also have a big banquet at the end, where we'd dress up and they'd teach us how to set the table properly.** The owners stressed to us that, even when it was just the two of them sitting down to a casual meal, they always had a well-set table.
And somehow I've never shaken that. I'm not excessive -- I don't set out dishes or cutlery that we aren't going to use -- but I love the symmetry of it all. Forks on the left, with the option of adding different forks for other courses on beside them. Knives and then spoons on the right. Making a line from the knife to the water glass (I know that other people offset the cups slightly, especially if they're adding more glasses, but it's a touch I picked up at Bluenose). Knowing what a pie fork is.*** As I told Chris last night (as we were disagreeing on where to put the forks on the table), it makes my fastidious little heart sing.****
And I know that Karl's going to say that it's yet another way in which I'm "textbook OCD," but sometimes it's nice to have control over a small amount of space. Like packing a suitcase. Or organising my iTunes files. Even if my apartment's a mess, at least something's right.
*I can already hear Ky's voice: "Let the man put his cutlery where he wants to put it! This is as bad as when you pushed my plate aside with your thumbs!" They always take his side.
**Yes, I'm fully aware of how ridiculous that sounds.
***I guess I also picked up a lot of that from my Little Grandma. I still have trouble using pie forks for non-pie-related purposes.
****After I used that line, he said, "This is going to become a blog post, isn't it?" But I think that line also convinced him. Because he loves it when crazy things make me happy.