Imagine yourself in a multiplex movie theater. Curiously, no walls separate the half-dozen theaters that form the multiplex. Miraculously, you are watching six different screens all at once, thoroughly understanding and enjoying every scene, word, character.
Welcome to ADHD. [You in the Real World, click the red underlined hyperlinks!]
Or perfect morn, yawns Screen One, depending on your view of 3:45 am.
Briskly walking one of my two usual 3.5-mile exercise routes, I arrive at my midpoint view of the mighty Maumee River. Standing motionless (a rare occurrence for those in the ADHD world), I soak up the moonlit waters, swollen and rolling from heavy rains. Air is crisp, cold and full of promise, inspiring me to turn cheerfully and prepare to tackle the last half of my walk.
Nothing stopping you now, boss! exclaims Six.
A lion roars. Fiercely. And fiercely nearby.
The ghost and the darkness! shouts Six, excited. Let’s check this out!
Breath escapes me. Desperate eyes scan, seeing nothing.
Which is curious, says Four, because you just said you looked at the moonlit river.
Another roar. Majestic, powerful, incredibly unnerving.
Say, observes Six, he sounds like he’s right on top of you, as if with a single pounce the big cat could –
“Six, please!” I whisper.
Why are we whispering? Three asks in hushed tones. Do you know lion is Tau in Setswana and Sesotho tongues, but Ngala in Shangaan and Simba in many other parts of Africa?
One more heart-quaking, knee-shaking, silence-breaking roar.
Lions sleep 21 hours per day, says fact-finding Four, so they do not travel the 10 to 20 miles covered by tigers. Statistically, the odds of an African lion roaming the Rossford roads are infinitesimal.
“Infinitesimal? Stop the Spock talk! What am I dealing with here?”
Toledo Zoo, calmly says Five.
“No!” I shout into the night, still whirling in search of what may soon be eating me. “The Zoo is six miles distant!”
When you’re driving, yes. But the Zoo is just across the river, less than a mile away.
“Can you not hear the deafening roar?”
Five remains unruffled. A lion’s roar travels up to five miles across the savannah.
Savannah? repeats Two. Why so far in Georgia? Hey, do they roar with a drawl?
“Maybe a lion escaped?”
Even so, scoffs Five, lions are not nearly the swimmers tigers are. It is unlikely a big male mauled the mighty Maumee to munch mere men.
Awesome alliteration, adds Three in admiration.
“So, guys, Leo is captive? He’s confined, contained, caged?”
Yes, reassures Four, but he’s not content.
“Wha – what do you mean?”
Either he wants out of that restrictive cage – y’know, lions can be free-roaming nomads, they can be “homebody” residents – or he’d like a bit of extracurricular activity.
Extra-curr what? interrupts Two.
Extracurricular activity, replies Four. Don’t you remember when your folks took you and Thor and Barry to that zoo in Colorado? That adventure should be safely tucked in your long-term memory …
The Barron and I get parental permission to split off from the rest of the family to go see the lions.
We’re in the huge building housing the lions, milling about in the midst of a big crowd. Four lionesses race around the enclosure, trying to avoid the king of the jungle intently padding toward them. Sir Simba positions himself right in the middle of the ladies, inflates his huge chest and utters one long, memorable roar.
The powerful call rattles the thick windows, human hearts, and one lioness. This queen turns meekly away from her king and bows in response to the command to receive the male’s affections.
I mimic the awestruck gazes and the quiet of the many gathered viewers until the silence is sliced by a young boy’s voice.
Breath escapes me. Desperate eyes scan for exits, seeing nothing.
Barry asks again, louder. “Is he hurting her?” Really loud. “What is he doing?”
See? says Four. You did remember!
“Yep. Thanks for the memory,” I murmur sheepishly.
Postscript: Good friend Barb Schlegel e-mails me from her new and wild homestead in Africa.
Near the grounds of the Giraffe Center, close to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust elephant orphanage, my own yard is quite large and is part of a compound that includes seven sheep.
Perhaps, I think, the sheep will hear my voice and follow me. I’ve not read anything about sheep attacks on people. But I’m in rural Africa, not the ancient Israelite pastures where Jesus taught.
One male sheep misses the memo on sheepishness. To be fair, the shepherd (who washes my car, fixes my lights and opens the gate) warns me several times the big male knocks people down. But in the cool of the evenings, I walk the large pasture, anyway. I contentedly pet sheep, especially the baby, who is about a week old and adorable.
Initially, the big male accepts my head massages. He likes that, I think.
I survive the first charge, yelling “No!” in my best dog training voice. He backs off, rubs his head on bushes (only later does the shepherd say, “That’s a sign of a coming fight”), then charges with a force that knocks me over.
Once a person’s down, sheep continue to ram. Sheep heads are hard. And this bad boy has priors, having knocked down everyone in the family.
So now I listen to people with experience, I carry a big stick, and I look forward to the family barbecue planned for this eve.
Tonight’s menu highlight? Big male sheep.