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, be sure to click on the red underlined hyperlinks!]
“I enjoy your singing,” says the woman waiting for her cab.
Is she talking to us, Boss? asks Screen Two in surprise.
Of course, affirms Three. She knows quality when she hears it.
I stop both my stride and song. “Thank you.”
“You sound so happy.”
But are we good? asks Six. That’s what matters.
“I am,” I reply, resisting Three’s bid to launch Pharrell Williams’ catchy tune.
“Hadn’t heard that song in years,” my listener says, smile suggesting pleasant memories flow. “Do you know more?”
I nod, then half-talk, half-sing, “But the dawn is breaking, it’s early morn, the taxi’s waiting, he’s blowing his horn …”
And a second voice joins mine for a moment that lifts the woman from her wheelchair, from her pain, from her struggles in a world moving much faster than she does.
“Thank you,” she politely murmurs at song’s end. I doubt Peter, Paul and Mary would tell me the same.
She thanked us for singing! marvels Six. Nobody’s done that before!
I laugh, hold her hands, repeat what Six just told me and then walk on, amazed at the life-changing power of a John Denver melody written in 1966.
A mournful melody at that, comments Five. Apparently an oldie but a goodie!
Our songs haven’t always been greeted so lovingly, says One.
You know he is, chimes Four. Picked the wrong place to unveil musical talents, Boss.
“Reminder: You screens encouraged my lungs to ‘live large’ and just let it go.”
You don’t have to do everything we think up, Four defends. You still own the body.
The bustling pediatrics clinic serves overwrought moms, uncomprehending dads and very sick little beings. The six doctors, fearing more noise will heighten strife and anxiety, insist music not be piped throughout the office.
Sure it’s the doctors who are insisting? challenges Five.
Good point, since my careful and repeated advocacy – “It’ll soothe the patients. It’ll revive the staff. It’ll shorten the day” – go unheard by the longstanding office manager. She, being rather –
Tightly wound? suggests Three. Unyielding? Inflexible?
– prim and proper, states the office environment should be one of work and professionalism, not play and levity. “No radio. No music,” she sums and sends me from her dark presence.
Sheesh, mutters Six. I’ll bet even Darth Vader has tunes inside his mask!
Disappointed but valuing employment, I climb atop a counter and stand upright.
Oh, and that’s professional? blurts Four.
What’s wrong with standing upright? wonders Two.
Dusting and cleaning the unattended top of the filing cabinets, I do not realize I hum until one of the nearby nurses joins unbid: “Someone’s knockin’ at the door, somebody’s ringin’ a bell. Do me a favor, open the door, and let ’em in.”
Thought it was “let him in,” mumbles Two.
Linda’s with you, coaxes Six. Keep going. Jan will jump.
Six is wrong. True, Jan jumps. But by the time we finish warbling “Sister Suzi, brother John, Martin Luther, Phil and Don,” almost every nurse we staff is singing along with me.
And I, standing tall above the melodious masses, lead them with arm waves, hands measures, ever-louder notes.
Which, surmises Five, is most likely how all of you missed hearing the heavy mechanical breathing of Vicky Vader.
Unnoticed, the office manager has left her own office and hyper-spaced into the area I now orchestrate. She steps into full view, eyes immeasurably wide but outdone by drop of jaw.
“Blackwell?” Her tone, a rare mixture of astonishment, belittlement and unemployment, is out of touch with the light-hearted lilt our English-affecting ladies produce.
There’s a disturbance in the Farce, whispers Three.
I look to my clinical choir for preservation, but heads have fallen –
Yours is next, sighs Five.
– into studious observation of pediatric diagnoses, leaving me exposed and vulnerable. It’s clear I alone will swing for this heinous deed.
One is the loneliest number, hums Three, but I dare not laugh.
“Still waiting,” Miss Vader injects. Screens throw myriad ideas – say you didn’t start the singing (it’s true, I only hummed), tell her it’s the sugary doughnuts talking (singing, actually), remind her you struggle with your short-term memory (she did just warn me 10 minutes ago, after all) – but I never get to apply any of them.
“Hey, what happened to the song?” asks one of the half-dozen pediatricians, suddenly popping into full view of Vicky and Vanquished alike. She, an owner, cheerfully adds, “Loved the voices!”
Observes One, Dr. Jenny does not thank you for singing. But she does save your bacon.
Vicky Vader’s eyes are even wider, laughs Four. Didn’t think it was possible.
I look at the office manager, whose dropped jaw reverses direction and now presses lips tightly together. Words are unnecessary.
We’ve seen that glare before, shudders Three. It was accompanied by, “And your little dog, too!”
Postscript: This ADHD-powered singing, passed to the Next Generation, gets me summoned to my daughter’s elementary school. Her teacher’s explanation that “Leah’s a good – well, great – student,” confuses me. Or does until she adds, “Problem is, Leah finishes work early and bounces around the room, cheerfully singing. Loudly.”
But I’m not one to be outdone by Leah’s “musical” ADHD. I prove this when I address folks on what Harold Camping alleges is the last day of Earth. Many in the unemployed group, earlier wrestling fiscal fears, now voice concern about our planet disappearing in just 24 hours.
Moderator and friend Jeannie Bourk quiets the anxious crowd, warmly introduces me and asks the many attendees to pay close attention to my reassuring words. I thank Miss Jeannie, turn to the group, say “I’ve got just one comment for all of you,” and sing the first line of American rock band R.E.M.’s best song …
“It’s the end of the world as we know it.”
Horrified screams and terrified shouts fill the room.
Got their attention, Black! says Six. Pitch-perfect, too.
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