My own experience with OCD makes me hyper-aware of the same in others. One of my compulsions is ‘evening up.’ It usually takes the form of creating and maintaining symmetry and a necessity to keep objects in groups of three.
“Specific order or symmetry. Individuals with OCD may have a need to have things lined up or arranged in a particular way.” (X)
“Lining up, evening up or arranging items so that they are perfectly spaced or even.” (X)
The purpose of this particular compulsion is the same as for any OCD-related compulsion: to relieve anxiety.
In Season 1, Hannibal is an absolute master of evening up. I’ve given four examples above, but there are several more as well.
The anxiety associated with each of these examples is obvious and intense:
Aperitif – Hannibal meets Jack for the first time; Jack nearly stumbles upon his drawing of Wound Man (an image associated with the Chesapeake Ripper), and; he thinks Jack may be investigating him.
Oeuf – Hannibal sneaks Abigail out of the mental hospital to cook for her and dope her up on mushrooms; she asks if she can stay the night at his house, and; they discuss the murder of Nicholas Boyle.
Sorbet – Will has missed his appointment with Hannibal.
Buffet Froid – Will is sits in Hannibal’s chair; Hannibal is perpetuates the lie that Will’s brain scan found nothing, and; Will asks Hannibal if he has plans to publish anything related to Will’s illness.
In Season 2, Hannibal does no discernible evening up, because he is in compete control, thereby alleviating all overwhelming anxiety.
One final observation: There is absolutely no way that Hannibal would be able to live with the relatively haphazard nature of the indexing system on the spines of his notebooks.