Meet My ADD Twin

She's picky and particular—and sees me as her lifeboat. So, how to help her when I can't handle my own messes?
ADHD & the City |
Jane D.

I wonder if my friend Cheryl also has attention deficit disorder. We share a passion for swimming and since we went on our inaugural Thelma and Louise trip together, I’ve discovered that we are like Bobbsey twins. She’s 30 years older than me (“of a different vintage,” she says) and probably 40 pounds heavier, but when I’m with her, I feel like I am looking at my reflection.

The vacation planning process for this all-girls trip was a nightmare. There is nothing that sets me off more than having to surf through the gutters of the Internet, frantically unearthing lost usernames and passwords and drowning in a flurry of credit card numbers… which brings me to the topic of the nonexistent budget and the bills that float about.

In the meantime, Cheryl, like me, is very picky and particular. She wanted an aisle seat at the emergency exit, and all the while, I’m thinking, “I can’t do all this for you when I can’t even handle my own accounts.” The frequent flier mile thing was a nightmare: I had forgotten if I had an account with the airline and, if so, I’d long misplaced the card and the number.

Although she’s of a different vintage, Cheryl too has a low tolerance for technology, instruction manuals, online passwords, and anything that requires too much planning. She looks to me as a lifeboat—but I’m in the doghouse, too. Ahhh, I wanted to pull my hair out. I wanted to outsource this wrenching chore.

Cheryl is mostly an ideas person and a child at heart. Inside the hotel where we stayed, she transformed from the 60-plus year old she is into a six year old. She wanted to go check out the indoor water park really designed for those 12 and under. We went on all of the silly slides together, laughing and giggling, flopping onto those rubber tubes and floating down the lazy river.

By midday, we headed to the arcade where we – the two oldest video gamers – played a lean and mean game of ski ball. The last time I played, I was 12 years old and don’t remember having that much fun. We joked and laughed that it was ski-ball Olympics, as the tickets scrolled out like pasta from the machine.

I joked with Cheryl later that it’s nice to be a child at heart—which is what I am—and she responded, matter-of-factly, “I am, too.”

Our eyes both got as large as saucers as we examined the plastic kitschy prizes for ski ball. The awards included a rubber ducky keychain, but I hadn’t felt so happy and free in a long time. On the bright side, we simply understood each other.

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