Sunday 7 December 2014


My name is Liz: I'm an accuracolic. I haven't been able to decide if this is a fault or a blessing or simply a fact. I have had a very long time, indeed, to live with the condition and have only just got round to looking at it and its effect on my way of being in the world. As a child one of my most frequent complaints was "But you said.....", an extremely irritating whinge to the adults responsible for me. Now, it takes many and various forms. I am annoyingly punctual. I used to think this was due to my profession where my working day was divided in to fixed slots and the significance of being ready on time became part of what we were doing. A colleague has recently pointed out that we may well have been drawn to the job because of a need to be where we said we would be when we said we would be there; the mirror image  of my own assumption.

The phenomenon makes other unexpected inroads in to every day life. I can't be doing without apostrophes - apostrophes in the right place, that is. I also watch word order and grammar and syntax with the eagle eye of the possessed. Alphabetical order: now there's a thing for an accuracolic who works in an uncomputerised library as, once a week at the local hospital, I do. My day starts with going through the books -out card index. Inevitably, in the seven days since I last looked, the cards have been shuffled in to total disorder. Correcting this, I have started to check on the whereabouts of books which should have been returned during 2013. This involves getting up to look on the shelves and to check on the trolleys which go round the wards. Standing at the shelves I am compelled to put the books that are there in to alphabetical order, both of author and of title. I am thoroughly discomforted by 'white' lies - when I recognise them, of course. I get another rush of' but-you-saids. I can't settle for pretend friendliness or warmth. I am uneasy in its presence and believe I would be more at ease with the truth of hostility. I have to put down a book wherein the characters are not behaving as I expect them, from experience of how we humans operate, to behave. It makes amateur dramatics impossible for me because I need to agree with the Director's interpretation of the character. (I am already having difficulty with the relevance of this post to 75 going on 40, but what the Hell...
 On balance, though, it is probably time-keeping which pre-occupies my addiction most. However, I do understand : punctuality can be both a bore and a perceived reprimand by those who are more relaxed about the clock. In due course, I shall have to have a headstone which says  "The late Liz, who was never late". Bore da


Anonymous said...

I have waited a long time to know what it was that was wrong with me. Thank you for naming the club and letting me join

Anonymous said...

Dear Liz
Some people may call you a pedant. Can you say more about accurocology?