Guest Blogs

Inattention and the Error of My Shoes

Attention deficit strikes again…this time at the shoe store.

It’s summertime and that means…weddings! I’ve been invited to two marriage ceremonies this summer so I took myself shopping for a new dress. Found a couple that were acceptable and then realized: “I have no shoes to wear with these frocks.”

Off to the shoe store I went, picking through dozens of pairs of bright coral shoes (which, fortunately for my bright coral dress, is a popular color this season). I found a pair of trendy sandals with an acceptably low heel and took them home.

Back in my office, I slipped off my non-wedding comfy flats and went to work. Shoes litter my entire office and house. Those lazy shoes refuse to walk themselves back to the closet so I am forced to hunt them down when I need to wear them again. And I needed them the next morning.

As I pulled them out from under my desk, a dark and mysterious black hole where only courageous shoes and wastebaskets hang out, I was horrified. Though identical in style, the shoes I had worn to the store were different colors! OMG!

Wearing mismatched shoes is nothing new for me, but I don’t blame my ADHD. It can happen to anyone who happens to have shoes that are similar in style and color. But to spend three hours at the mall and try on shoes without noticing that I was wearing one navy blue and one black shoe? I repeat, OMG! Undoubtedly the shoe clerk noticed my strange attire, but at least she had the good grace not to mention it. I can only hope she thought I was making a fashion statement.

I was shocked, not so much about the error of my feet, but at the complete oblivion in which I was operating. I distinctly remember glancing down at my shoes a couple of times to make sure that the fickle, snap-on-snap-off, frou-frou bows were still attached. I was reassured that they were intact, but apparently I had checked only my right foot — which sported the navy shoe with its snazzy, striped bow. How in the world could I have extrapolated its A-OK status to the other shoe?

Maybe this was my ADHD, after all. It certainly wasn’t my hyperactive ADHD. Nor was it my distracted ADHD. This was my inattentive ADHD, the least prominent aspect of my combined subtype. I’d never really given my inattentive ADHD much thought; impulsivity is much easier to spot. I suppose inattentive ADHD was tired of being ignored and decided to sneak up from behind. I had no idea it was so powerful. I knew it was pervasive, especially among women. And now I was reeling from its impact.

My ADHD support group convened the next evening, so I set up an experiment. I’d wear the mismatched shoes on purpose to see if anyone noticed. Out of 45 people at the meeting, only two caught the “mistake.” And they weren’t the inattentive subtype.

Thanks to my “shoe episode,” I’ve gained new repect for inattentive ADHD. I’ll double-check the color of (both) my shoes next time. And I’ll show up at the weddings, making a different (and better) fashion statement.

How does inattentive ADHD show up in your life? Forgotten passwords? Mismatched shoes? Running traffic lights? Is it as powerful as my inattentive subtype?

[ADHD and Going Overboard]