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!]
“You can’t just chuck those newspapers! They belong to someone!”
The accusing voice knifes the darkness and stabs me in the back.
What’s his problem? questions Screen Four. You discard trash with your right hand, fling morning papers with your left. So?
He is jealous of your ambidexterity, contends Five. Both-handedness is rare.
Maybe he envies your multitasking, suggests One.
Regardless, bristles Six, none of this is his business. Shields up!
“Hey!” shouts the voice, which hustles up to me and turns into an inebriated young man of 20. “I said you can’t – ohhh, you didn’t throw away newspapers.” Tone changes. “That’s nice. I totally was wrong.” He falls into uncertain step next to me. “I’ll walk with you, how ’bout that?”
Hahaha! laughs Three. Wait until the Rossford police drive past you two Weebles wobbling!
I do not share Three’s laughter. Screen Six, believing me incautious at allowing this disoriented dude to stumble my streets, replays an earlier scene. Roller-coaster chills speed along spine as I drift back a couple of years.
“Jim!” shouts a disembodied voice, one I cannot perceive in the early-morning darkness. “Jim! Wait up for me!”
Your name is not Jim, reminds One. Your nickname is not Jim. Keep walking.
I stop, even so. The voice draws nearer as I cast eyes this direction and that in search of the man requesting I wait.
Tall. Young. Medium build. Wild look in his own eyes that causes mine to blink. Deep, dark complexion rivals the moonless night’s.
“Why didn’t you stop, Jim?” he puffs, working to breathe. “I yelled and yelled.”
“Who is this Jim? Because that’s sure not my name.”
“You stopped,” he points out rather obviously. “Maybe it is Jim.”
“No, I’m sure it’s not. I’m Blackie.”
His own eyes grow wide, filling my immediate horizon with Earthbound moons. “Whaat? You’re just a little white guy.”
I do not answer. Seeing him weave and waver, I decide this youngster has ingested something his cerebral regions contest. Following the advice of Two – maybe we should go, Black – I resume walking.
“Wait, Jim!” he shouts, catching me in three long-legged hops. “Wanna buy some speedball?”
Eight ball, corrects Four. Think he said “eight ball.”
Surmises Five, He wishes to sell an eightball of speedball.
“Guys,” I mutter, “pharmacopeia finals later, ’K?” I face the panting youngster, his body sweating despite the cool morning. “Not interested.”
“Oh, so you’re better than me?” is spit back, along with a flurry of swings that would be tough to track even in broad daylight.
He has not yet landed a punch, soothes One.
“Helps that I’m doing my level-best to duck,” I huff.
Five diagnoses the youngster teetering at high speed and concludes, Before you heed Six, know that this man is so high his “lower functions” may not respond.
He will not feel your fists. But he will know they are being launched. Options are limited: mercilessly punch for all you are worth or flee this fighting fellow.
“Let’s walk,” I lamely offer. “Fists of blurry” cease, friendly voice accepts invite, and two men stumble toward a distant baseball field, the same park where I chase groundhogs.
Now the hunter – you – is the hunted, snarls Six. Lead this loser away from your home and Miss Laura!
Run the steps! coaches Three, humming the “Rocky” theme. He hears my sigh of disdain. This is not for theatrics, Black. Run the steps twice, then zip back down and slip through the brush to escape primal park and punk.
Three, never a military strategist, succeeds here. I burst free of clinging underbrush and wobble at high-speed through backyards until I find home and phone. Alerted police respond immediately, finding the young man calling aloud two streets away.
At the station to identify my antagonist, I learn he – his balled-up hands beating unforgiving bars – is the fourth and final family member to be arrested this month. Conviction is certain, since the youth thoughtfully keeps illicit street drugs in his pocket for officers to remove and catalog.
Two whispers, He is just 18, Boss. Must he go to jail?
“Go” the young man does, indeed. His assault on officers (and graphic promises to harm my family) win him 24 prison months. I only know he’s out because we, this angry young man and I, meet during one of my many bicycle rides about town. Thankfully, orange helmet and oversized sunglasses hide my identity.
That one thickly pronounced word snaps my reverie, revives present problems with the ambulatory alcohol brewery beside me. “So, where – hiccup, hiccup – where should we walk, pal?”
Screens look up the road. Just a quarter-mile away, the baseball park and its camouflaged contours await.
Smiles Three, I know just the place.
Postscript: Back in March, I wrote of being hit – twice, in separate incidents – by cars that shot right through the same crosswalk in which I strolled.
This week I decide to use a vacation day. I may be off, but lightning is on. I’m hit a third time.
The trouble starts at the front door, lovely bride launching me with kiss and caution. “An hour later than usual, babe. Please be alert.”
But six screens hyperfocused in writing the column you’ve just read miss the illegal arrival of a three-quarter truck in my space. Arms up! bellows Six, but extended hands get compressed against chest and I thump backward on pitiless pavement.
Russian judge gives a seven, complains Four.
The driver, unaware of having applied truck body to out-of-luck body, sees me only because my reflective gear shines from the roadway where I lay. “What are you doing?” he asks, then recoils. “Did I – did I hit you?”
No, replies Three. We always rest here.
“Never even saw you!” he apologizes.
Stopping improves visibility, snaps Six.
Driver takes me by the shoulders to strengthen and straighten my frame. “You OK, guy?”
“Fine, I think. Won’t hurt ’til I explain this to my bride.”
* * * * *
Sing to me, Miss Nancy!
Speaking of unwelcome walking partners …
Let’s just give up walking altogether