Can I focus enough to write a headline?
I don’t always pay enough attention.
For those who know me, that’s hardly a revelation.
Sometimes this has worked to my advantage. A few days ago, I completed two stories for the following day’s newspaper and turned them in only to be told I was working on the wrong stories. Those weren’t due for another day or two. Oh, well. At least they were done.
But then I had to really kick it in gear to write the story I was supposed to have been working on instead. Sigh.
A couple of weeks ago, I realized I had not read the most recent issue of one of my favorite periodicals, Guitar World. I looked in my magazine rack and all over the apartment, but couldn’t find it.
After checking online to remind myself exactly who was on the cover of the latest issue, I discovered I’d never received it. In fact, I had not received the two month’s issues prior to that one.
I had gone three months without getting a new magazine and never noticed.
It’s not unusual for me to be confused about what day of the week it is. We are always preparing issues of the newspaper, special editions and magazines ahead of time, so it’s easy to start thinking you’re on a different day than you actually are.
I’ve missed doctor’s appointments because of this.
But three months? Come on.
So I called the customer service phone number listed in the front of my most recent magazine.
The woman who answered sounded like she’d had enough of me from the get-go.
“Three issues?” she asked.
“Uh, yes, ma’am.”
“You just now noticed you haven’t gotten the last three issues,” she said. It was more a statement of amazement than a question. I could tell she was wondering if my IQ was high enough to actually read the magazines, and probably shaking her head at the dismal state of a world in which a person could do such a terrible thing.
“Yes, ma’am,” I repeated.
“So, you want me to send them to you?” she asked.
I wondered if I’d ever see them, but they came in the mail this past Monday, along with the new issue — four in one day. It felt like a periodical Christmas.
I started carrying a small notebook in my pocket years ago to write down pretty much anything and everything I might possibly need to remember throughout the day.
I misplaced that notebook so many times it was ridiculous.
I bought a calendar and started scheduling everything, no matter what it was — meetings, doctor visits, kids’ softball practice, time to get a haircut or buy another calendar.
I spent a full day organizing my office and calendar, scheduling appointments I’d put off and replying to emails I’d neglected. I was getting organized no matter what.
I copied everything from my old calendars (I had previously used three separate ones — a wall calendar, desk calendar and pocket calendar) into the one new calendar that I was determined to never go anywhere without.
Just a couple of days later I missed a very important meeting — the kind that it becomes an uphill climb to recover from — and a quick review of my calendars (new and old) led me to the problem. I had skipped an entire week when I copied everything.
In my calendar I was a week ahead of everything else, but a week behind in real life.
That’s when co-workers and family said ‘Enough’ and had an intervention.
I went to see a doctor and was officially diagnosed with Adult Can’t/Disorder Crisis — AC/DC. No … ADHD, yes, that’s it.
It’s a label too many claim and too many others avoid.
I had always known my brain works in a different way than “normal” people, and I’m OK with that. While I struggle to pay attention, I’m encouraged to know that I’m also helping other people learn to be patient.
News editor Brett Campbell can be reached at 601-265-5307 or firstname.lastname@example.org.