And not in a good way!
I’m a bit ADD. I know, I know, that’s become an overused cliché catchall that everyone and their brother uses to excuse anything from a hangover to a stroke.
Hear me out. I’ve been like this my whole life, and for me, this is completely normal. I’ve adapted to being this way because I’ve never know any other way to be. There are times when the ADD presents challenges, loud noises, crowds, bright flashing lights, can really mess with my calm and freak me out. Most of these challenges are manageable. If I feel myself being overwhelmed I’ll find a quiet spot to collect myself and then I’m good to go.
One of the biggest challenges ADD presents me with is listening to someone talk. If they have something to say and they keep on track I’m fine. If, however, they meander and pause the main thread of their story to fill in useless details or give me background that they should have given at the beginning of the story, then I’m likely to stop listening. In the worst case, the person doesn’t notice my eyes glazing over and they keep yammering.
This is usually when the ADD becomes a real problem. I respond first with annoyance, then hostility, then outright anger. The poor fool telling me, whatever they were telling me has no idea what they’ve done wrong or why I’m pissed off.
Believe it or not, I feel guilty when I lose control and get angry because of the way someone is telling their story. It’s not fair to the other person. As far as they’re concerned they are telling a nice coherent little tale.
To an ADD person it’s annoying tedium. I can explain, I think using the following example.
The church made, because of the rummage sale, the church made, the donations to the rummage sale this year because, because of estate donations allowed the church to make, One estate donated a teak modern dining set that was worth about 5000 dollars it went at silent auction for 2000, it was one of those Danish modern designs, I don’t know who bought it. The usual amount that the church makes on a rummage sale is $15,000 or so. This year the church made, oh there was a lot of very nice estate jewelry some of it brought in a lot higher than expected prices. This year the church made $30,000 although the final total isn’t in yet.
The story could have been summed up simply.
The church doubled it’s usual rummage sale income this year due to a number of estate donations.
Then if I was interested I could have asked what the total dollar amount was.
There’s another level though that’s worse for the ADD person. It’s that for every one of those pauses we pause a stream of thought and start another one. Pretty soon your 2 minute anecdote has us nearing the maximum capacity of our brain power.
Think of it like trying to compute orbital mechanics of the entire solar system and keeping all the variables in your head.
This is, I think part of the reason we ADD folk don’t like watching the late night news, it’s the constant teasers. If the 10 o’clock news really wants to piss of the ADD crowd; tease us for an hour and then never get to the story!
“Stay tuned to find out why your penis is at risk”
The way my brain works is probably best described as a corral of skittish horses. I have tons of thoughts running all the time and it requires an effort of will to harness those thoughts, put blinders on them, and then hitch them up to the wagon of a project I’m trying to do.
A conversation like the story above tends to have an effect on my thoughts, that’s similar to what you get if a rattle snake suddenly appears in a corral full of skittish horses. After the chaos and dust clears, you’ve got horses spread to the four corners of the corral and none of them are going to do any work for the rest of the day.
I live with a person that tells stories like the example above. That pisses me off by itself. (Come to think of it, my stepdad tries to lecture on science and technical stuff the same way; no wonder I dreaded asking him questions when I was in school!)
What really pisses me off is when I catch myself telling stories the same way.
My ability to write today is gone. I’m going to go outside and run the weed whacker. I will avoid holding a fluffy pillow firmly over someone’s face.