Inside the mind of someone with ADD … or, as we used to call it before its fancy medical term came along, BSO or bright shiny object disease. Here’s how a typical unstructured day goes for me:
Get up, eventually … after rising at 5:30 during the week sleeping in is my first treat of the weekend. Figure out what sweats/yoga wear to lounge around in, go downstairs and it’s like a dog distracted by a squirrel … I clean up any “presents” my geriatric pug might have left during the night which leads me to decide the rug needs cleaning which leads to vacuuming the whole room and while I’ve got the vacuum out might as well do the whole house. While downstairs, I see some boxes that need collapsing before being recycled which I start to do, but in looking for my box cutter I come across my heat gun which I recently used to do some melted crayon art (see above). So I put the heat gun away, forgetting the boxes as I look around at my studio, I decide I need to tidy up my mess and that leads to going through boxes of goose clothes (more about that later). It’s fall, so I need to change my gooses outfit. She’s now dressed like a scarecrow and the FSU cheerleading outfit she was wearing needs washing so I toss it in the wash, realizing that I have a spare FSU cheerleading outfit but the FSU patch has come off … so it’s back upstairs where I trip over the vacuum cleaner … oh, right, I was going to vacuum downstairs, but first I need to iron the patch back on. That task done, I return the ironing board to the closet and head back downstairs to return the goose outfit to her dresser of outfits. As I sort through various art projects, I manage to actually throw a couple out which means a trip to the garbage cans and the boxes to be recycled get stomped flat instead of neatly cut and collapsed but they make it to the recycle bin. All this is going through my mind and I’m thinking, maybe I ought to blog about it. Going back upstairs, moving the vacuum cleaner upstairs (my townhouse is three floors) in the vain hope I’ll get that chore done eventually. I sit down at the computer desk which has some sheet music printed out, and I decide to hole punch it and put the music away in my book, but looking at one of the tunes – I realize it’s a Christmas tune and wonder if I can play it on my violin. So I get out my violin, where I discover one of the strings has come almost undone so I have to tighten that peg and retune the violin, then I try and play the tune which I can almost do. That stupid torn rotator cuff is still inhibiting proper violin playing posture. I’m aware I’m hungry so I go into the kitchen and make myself a meal replacement shake but notice the dishes in the sink so I stop to wash them but first I have to empty the clean dishes from the dishwasher. Eventually I end up with the dishes put away, and make my shake and now … several hours later I’ve gone from cleaning the rug to … oh, darn, I never did finish vacuuming did I?
That’s kind of what it’s like to have ADD … you barely start one task when … oh, look! Bright shiny object … and you’re drawn to something else, and something else, and the original task is likely to fade into the mists of time. It’s a variation of “what did I come into this room for?”.
Partly it’s the way my mind works, and partly it’s an inability to deal with unstructured time. As much as I complain about work and how much I’d rather be retired … it does force a certain structure to my day. Left alone, with no deadlines or other requirements, I’m (to quote Carrie Fisher) like a hamster in search of a wheel.
About the geese. All the women in my family own these big cement lawn geese. They have a variety of clothes and are often dressed to match the season. My goose has about 30 outfits. I’m known in the neighborhood as “the goose lady”.
What was I talking about? oh … was that a squirrel?