When I was walking to the train station this morning I caught one of my neighbours having a little OCD moment. He had closed his front door, in one of those old style terrace houses where the door opens right onto the street, and then he was pushing and pulling the door. Repeatedly, and hard. At least about 8 or 10 times.
I say an 'OCD moment' because it went beyond just checking to be sure, and actually I have seen him do this exact thing before. It looked like one of the 'rituals' that people with OCD develop. Things that must be done in order to stave off bad things happening. Most of us would give the door a tug and a push once, maybe twice, and be satisfied that it was properly shut, rather than having to do it over and over again to reach a feeling of satisfaction that it is indeed properly shut.
The thing is though, this was the first time that he saw me see him do it. I wanted to look away, to appear not to have noticed, to be somewhere else, because when he saw me see him his face registered what looked like embarrassment, maybe even shame. For a moment he saw himself standing there pushing and pulling the door over and over again through my eyes, and he obviously didn't like what he saw.
I wanted to say something to him, but I didn't dare and I didn't want to add to his embarrassment. So I did like we do every day in a big city when faced with people in embarrassing situations, I looked away and kept on walking.