My latest travel adventure was a remedy for the frustration I’ve been feeling from the winter doldrums (read: breakup), and work (more specifically: the feeling of being trapped in a world of technology and information).
by Jane D.
I am back in Gotham again after a hiatus, or shall I say a getaway disguised in the form of a rare business trip.
After enduring a marathon 14-hour flight to China (the secret to surviving is watching six movies, sleeping for four hours, and snacking for the remainder of the time), the trip was a much-needed escape from what has been, overall, a rocky winter and spring -- love and work, rollercoaster-bumper-car-collided in sadistic fashion. In China I had the excuse of spotty Internet connections, and being in an opposite time zone, for putting everything on hold, for not communicating with the Boyfriend and the Boss.
The Boss and the Boss’s Bosses believed it, perhaps because they still see a China of men in Mao suits and a sea of bicycles. (Cars, what cars? “Maybe you should bring some granola bars with you just in case…” What do they know?) In reality, I had returned to paradise, which in my attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) world, is simplicity: Less is more.
On the other side of the world, I could easily keep technology at bay and reclaim time (need I remind you of my recent e-mailing and texting weaknesses?). I could experience a cell-phone free existence, and once again focus on a single task at hand -- eating a meal and concentrating on the texture and taste of the scrambled eggs, writing a letter by hand, or fixating on the swirl of cream in a cup of cappuccino drunk with leisure.
In the New York offices, work is all about juggling and multitasking -- about being welcomed every morning with a backlogged e-mail inbox from a mass of somebodies who always want something. I compare the job to fighting several fires at the same time. In a perfect world, a day in my life there would include conversations on porch swings, block parties, and even the old-fashioned telephone conversation. Meanwhile, my real world is increasingly overpowered by fastfast, nownow texts and instant messaging. (Maybe I just dislike what I find hard to juggle.) So, every so often I crave the pre-Google world like I do a good hamburger (and, yes that is what I wanted -- the best slab of meat in Gotham -- after returning from China). Remember the typewriter and the word processor? Remember the flashing green cursor on the computer and the Pac Man and Atari? Am I waxing nostalgic because of age, because I would have thrived better in another century, or because simple grass is always greener with ADD/ADHD?
Away on this trip I had almost forgotten about the ADD/ADHD, and almost came to think that maybe if I had a job that required frequent travel I wouldn’t have the time, or be sitting still in one place long enough, to ponder my troubles. Maybe being immersed in work and moving would blanket the loneliness and calm the anxious feeling I have of walking on a tightrope that remains suspended upon a skyscraper on a windy day -- shaky and tentative.
The bottom line is, almost a week since returning I am still painfully jet-lagged, but I am refreshed from the adventure. Simply said, the ADD/ADHD in me needs a splash of color, dash of spice, and the occasional adventure. I like to be on the move, I do well when I am focusing on one big project such as planning a trip, or preparing for one big adventure or event. The magic words here are “focus,” “single-tasking,” and “adventure.”
Back in Gotham, I have returned to the ADD/ADHD Boss and an information-driven reality. I have slipped the passport back into the drawer, but am itching to take it out again. The sooner the better.