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! And know these accounts are true … without exaggeration!]
My boss tells me to rush an order of windows to a customer’s house, so I run –
This obviously pre-dates your titanium knee, comments Screen Five, amused.
– outside to load a company vehicle. However, the lone truck available has “scrap glass” strapped to one side of it.
“Don’t worry,” says Boss Bill. “Load as many of the windows as you can on the other side, deliver those, and come back for the rest. Just make sure you clamp the scrap glass tightly against the truck!”
“You know me,” I reassure.
And because he does, cracks Three, Bill repeats the caution.
Quickly checking stakes pinning the left side load in place, I declare them to be “lookin’ good.” Next I place three factory windows and two huge mirrored closet doors on the right side and stake them in tightly. Scanning traffic both ways, I punch the accelerator.
Do you hear crashing glass and metal? asks Two.
No. But a glance in my sideview mirror tells me I just dumped most of the scrap glass. Slapping brakes a second time certifies the entire load now rests upon busy, busy East Fourth Plain Boulevard.
I leap free of the truck, shake my head at the mess and shout at the honking cars lining up behind me. “Gotta grab a broom!” But then I see my watch waving its tiny hands and screaming I am just 20 minutes from losing Mrs. Applebee, a long-valued client.
Your drive alone will consume 15 of those minutes, volunteers Four, unnecessarily amping my anxiety.
Ignore the mess, counsels One. Get back in the truck and deliver the windows. This seems more reasonable than Three’s suggestion, Drive home. Apply for a new job.
Zipping toward the Applebee home, I ponder how dire the consequences of a late arrival might be. But six screens assure me I will win Bill’s cold heart if – when – I overcome all obstacles to deliver our fragile goods on time.
In the midst of those assurances, the right-side load departs.
I hear the sound in time to watch the last of the expensive, huge mirrored doors hit the road. Ever-calm Screen One speaks up immediately. Relax, Black. No doubt the packaging protected them.
My temporary calm kicks into skyrocketing panic when I learn the packaging failed the speed test. You can still salvage this, says Five, as my hands bleed while picking up hundreds of sharp-edged reflections of my horrified face. The customer will understand.
She doesn’t. “This delivery is weeks late already, and now you’re late today! It’s a good thing I’m not the kind of customer who” – she stops, looks past me and shrieks, “The closet mirrors are broken!”
Not both of them, corrects Four, but I do not think his soothing words are heard.
“Go!” shouts the woman. “Don’t come back!” She browbeats me mentally as I put things back up on the truck, carefully staking all the broken items. “I will never do business with Anderson Glass again!”
She has made her point, states One, recoiling in embarrassment. She does not need to say all those unkind things she hopes will happen to us.
I sigh, fire up the engine and make the 90-minute drive back to the glass shop.
Wait, 90? asks Four. A little bit ago, I told you it is just 15.
“Time slows when marching to one’s death.”
I clear the last corner, seeing first the “Anderson Glass” sign, then Boss Bill kneeling on the boulevard. In a vaguely familiar scene, he bloodies hands while picking up hundreds of sharp-edged fragments, the last of the first load I dropped earlier. Bill’s face is is tight.
And not because he is heroically lean-jawed and chiseled, offers Three.
I edge past him, slowly glide into the lot, put the truck in park, turn off the engine and set the parking brake. Can’t be too careful, I always say, spouts Six, who never says that.
Breathing heavily, Bill walks up to me. “Did you drop all this glass in the street?”
Lie, lie, lie! shout six screens, but I nod in agreement.
“Do you have any idea what kind of a fine that is?”
“Only had 20 minutes,” I whisper.
Bill rubs his forehead, smiles, softens his voice. “Is Mrs. Applebee happy with her windows and mirrored doors?”
Get back in the truck, counsels Five. Lock the doors.
Against my will, an uncooperative arm rises. Fingers point. Bill’s eyes follow the suggested direction. Bill sucks in air. Lots of air. “The mirrored door, Blackwell,” he says slowly. “Where is the other mirrored door?”
“Well, the frame is inside the truck, sir.”
“And the mirror itself?”
“Reflecting a distant roadway.”
Bill repeatedly rubs his forehead. “And what does the customer think of this?”
“Actually, sir, it probably isn’t accurate to use the term ‘customer.’ ”
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