All Apologies

Sorry, sorry, sorry. I can't help it, but sometimes, it's not the ADD.
ADHD & the City | posted by Jane D.
Jane D.

The sister asked me, in a very sympathetic voice, yesterday why I needed relationships to be so clear-cut. She's sick of hearing about the man crises, about the swimming addict who hasn't made a single move in almost a year, about Mr. Big who, after wooing me with words, flowers, and a very expensive watch, ditched me. Bastard alert, indeed. Her advice: "Let things be. Don't do anything."

“Why do you need to know if a man is a “friend” or a “boyfriend”? “If a get-together with a guy is just that or a date?" She asked in that voice that one would use to talk to a child.

“No, it's not the ADD," I replied, teeth clenched. I wanted to lash out. I feel like I am the only one with the right to blame or make fun of the ADD, a bit like a fat person making fun of themselves if they are fat. If they do it, it's funny and OK. If I do it, I am mean.

I don't want to be pitied or admonished like a 5-year-old. It is human to wonder why a man goes out with you for nearly a year, pays for everything, goes to movies with you, but makes no moves. I am convinced that I am just a normal, single 32-year-old woman who wonders and panics when Prince Charming will arrive—and if perhaps the romantic and creative part of me is preventing me from truly understanding what relationships are about.

Over the weekend, I survived the nearly five-mile swim under the Chesapeake Bay. It became very clear to me how different the swim buddy (very type-A) and I are from each other. He used to eat the food groups on his plate in order, whereas I am a grazing queen. He's always on time, and I am always calling, texting, and ultimately apologizing about running late. His life is run with military strictness, whereas I tend to be more spontaneous. Ideas sprout up like weeds after a hard rain. Sorry, sorry, sorry, I kept saying, I can't help it. After a while, apologies lose their meanings.

I'd read somewhere that ADDers always need to eat and snack, and, without food, I feel my mood turning south. After the endless swim (I found myself in the water for nearly four hours), I was famished for a hamburger, pizza, a nice seafood meal. The swim buddy — all logic and practicality — says, "OK, if we see something on the road."

I almost threw a temper tantrum as I repeatedly said, "I really need to eat." We made numerous pit stops so I could pee and grab a soda or chocolate. After awhile, my mood lifted and I could see him exhale. He told me maybe I should get a routine physical exam, maybe I am hypoglycemic. Or maybe it's something else, I wanted to hint. Why is it that I could admit to hypoglycemia (which I doubt I have) without shame, but ADD would be another story?

I feel sorry for the men who have come to know me as I am. I can be moody, unpredictable, childish, but also full of color, wit, amusement, and ideas, and, in the end, kind-hearted. I also have a good sense of people much like some people can smell a storm from the distance.

For the rest of the ride, the type-A swim buddy drove in silence. Maybe it was the heat wave, the fact that we'd swum three hours straight, or maybe I’d driven him up a wall and he didn't want to have anything to do with me anymore. I couldn't help it. Sorry, I said.

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