Scattered in the Pool

The job and my life with ADHD are like Groundhog Day. The toxic thinking, that old feeling of being a failure: It’s creeping up.
ADHD & the City | posted by Jane D.
Jane D.

I never thought that I would be surrounded with people whose attention spans are worse than mine until I began working with three- to six-year-olds at the pool, where I've been relegated to earning my survival money.

On the job, I am forced to deal with screaming, tantrums, and an audience that reminds me of the monkeys that I feared when I was a girl and went to the zoo. Lately, I tend to daydream. Other adults with attention deficit disorder (ADHD) have been there, out of boredom and lack of focus, perhaps.

In daydreaming, my mind slips into life before the layoff. I would be under the wrath of a tough-as-nails editor, who would IM me notes, like "What's the deal?" or "Where's the bacon?" and send me Don Rickel-style one-liners ("The early bird gets the word") to whip me in shape. The "look" and cold shoulder worked. I shaped up. Little did I know that little kids don't respond to the threats.

I should say, in all fairness, most of these children suffer from what I have: major attention-deficit problems. They are dummies when it comes to listening and taking a step back.

I blow the whistle and all heads turn. It captures their attention for a split second. I raise my hands and ask them what "shhhh" means. I am tempted to tell them to "shut the hell up." They are asking questions as I give out instructions, and I am talking over them. Somehow they are an odd reflection of me. How many times have I conversation-crashed?

I jokingly boast that I have a colorful life. But I'd rather have a stable life and live the life of my peers – whose developmental phases match that of the sociologists' Bibles – rather than the convoluted kaleidoscope of my existence. I know the economy sucks in general but with ADD as an umbrella, it is a fate that follows me in good and bad times.

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