A Heartbreaking Smirk at Drifting Genius

Can the outside world see the wit and wisdom in us adults with attention deficit disorder?
ADHD & the City | posted by Jane D.
Jane D.

The father would be very disappointed, but I slept until close to 11 a.m. yesterday. Back in job land I would rise at the crack of dawn to swim. But now, living a life as an unemployed adult with attention deficit (ADD/ADHD), motivation seems to have fizzled.

Friends, or as the Chinese like to say, “the wine and banquet friends,” have been calling. "Where are you, I can't seem to find you, we're playing phone tag." I don't have the heart or ability to tell them to f--k off. They are not in layoff land where everyone is an unwilling citizen.

It is like the singles and the married. The division is invisible, but clear as day. There are opportunities to socialize, to beat the blues, to start the job search, but I struggle to organize and feel motivated enough to get things done.

Last night, my buddy, the Type-A Swimman, and I had dinner to talk about our upcoming long-distance swim. I've learned that he and I have an interesting dynamic. It is push and pull. He likes to set the agenda and dictate things, and I, on the other hand, will swallow it and sometimes question him with a teenager-like rebellion.

I had hoped that Swimman might offer up his family's place for me to crash, since he is a native of where the swim will be held. I think my heart and hopes are still in this man, even though he has plainly told me he wants me no more than as a friend.

Rather than sit back, I told him how I felt about his bossiness and his demands, and added that it would be nice if he would be gracious enough to tell me where there are inexpensive places to stay at for the swim. “You can't stay at our place, Jane," he said. "There’s no room for you, but I can transport you from point A to point B."

I laughed and almost choked on the Merlot. "Transport," I repeated. "Do you have a truck? What, transport me like a fruit, like cargo?" There was anger and sarcasm in the statement, but he collapsed into laughter. They say that people with ADHD have an uncanny sense of humor, and for a split second, I wondered if it was my ADD self speaking.

The same humor surfaced two nights ago when I had a first date with an oddball photographer, a 48-year-old guy who walks with a limp and with one eyeball permanently rolling up. I wanted to be alone and almost canceled, but he was agreed to meet me in my neighborhood. I waited for him on the corner and exhaled the cold air, pretending I was a female Dirty Harry sucking on a cigarette and growling, "Make my day."

The irony in this dreadful economy is that I continue to get dates with men. So far I've gotten by on minimal grocery shopping, because I have a string of dinner dates with guys I’ve met on an online dating service. Most of them are at least 10 years older, and they have what I think is an Asian fetish. Most are a bit quirky.

The photographer was quiet, and he wolfed down the arugula salad and penne pasta. He showed off his Italian to the less-than-impressed waiters, who were dark-haired and olive-skinned—and who looked at us as if we were cells on a petri dish.

The lack of conversation was disconcerting, and I tried to add in chatter to stave off silence. I didn't mention the unemployment or the diagnosis of attention deficit—I learned that lesson from the time when I explained ADHD to a friend—but at one point, he laughed and said, "Oh, your thoughts are like this." He drew a quick arch in the air like a concave pendulum. I was offended. He had touched on an ADD nerve.

"And your thoughts are A to B, and B to C," I said, sarcasm in my voice.

He smiled, "No, they are like A to R and then R to Q."

I laughed and finished off the wine. "Well, my thoughts are A to 12 and 12 to rectangle and rectangle to red," I quipped. He nodded in a scholarly way. "That's good, you have wit," he commented. It is a touch of genius and humor, and, as I've discovered, men like that. I asked if he would take me along on his international travels (the photo shoots).

"I'll take you in my suitcase," he said.

"Only if the suitcase has a swimming pool," I smiled.

It is at moments like these when I feel that it is so unfair that these flashes of genius are not seen or even appreciated by the outside world. There must be a place for it, for people like us with ADD, I think.

He walked me home, braving the black licorice-colored slush with his limp, and kissed me, long and hard, in front of my door. "Thank you," I said, turning my cheek to him for a goodnight kiss. "You are OK," he said to me, "Stay out of trouble." I can only hope.

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