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!]
The inbox to your Facebook account is blowing up, comments Screen Two.
“Yep,” I answer casually.
Why are you not checking to see who writes you?
“Because I already know. The messages are gentle ‘pushes’ from kind classmates asking whether my twin sister and I might be persuaded to attend our high school’s 40th reunion.”
But that event occurs this coming weekend, protests Four. The hour is late for such notices and invitations.
“In defense of friends on the Reunion Committee, we were asked well in advance. Neither of us is able to break away from current commitments. Besides, I went to the 25th without Dianne and don’t want to go alone again.”
While messages continue to flood my Facebook and screens persist in pushing for an appearance, I think about the teens I knew four decades back. How has adulthood changed them? My greater concern is that I will walk among these friends and not remember them.
Your long-term memory is razor-sharp, assures Five. Only the loss of your short-term causes you difficulties and embarrassment.
“Even so, I do not think I could risk the look of pain on another’s face when he or she realizes I cannot recall our shared youth.”
“Hey, guys,” I mentally call to my screens, “help me with this woman. She is friends with a number of my classmates, so she must be a grad from our year.” But nobody claims to know this newest buddy-wannabe.
Counsels One, Simply write an honest note asking how the two of you met.
Miss Pamela – Thank you for your outreach to me. I have an embarrassing confession, however: 18 years ago, I “died” in a bad accident. Though God has seen fit to restore my life, He has not restored all of my memory. How do you and I know one another?
Are you Dennis Blackwell from New Providence High?
She knew you in your pre-“Blackie” days, notes Four. That narrows the search.
I went to school with you and Dianne … My last name was Ruggiero.
Got it! screens shout in unison.
“Fill me in!” I fire back with equal exuberance. But the screens do not. They do not because they cannot. They are laughing too hard.
“Uh oh,” I sigh. “This can’t be good.”
It is, Boss, says Six through ceaseless laughter. Story-wise, anyway. And without further prompting, he rolls the images I dread …
“So, you’re a junior at Ohio University,” the hospital nurse remarks. “Sorry about your pain.” Small talk stops. “Step over here. Disrobe, place your clothes in that locker and put on this gown. Make sure you wear it with the opening in the back – ”
You are about to moon the world, giggles Three at my plight.
“ – then lie down on the table. The next nurse will prep you for the work to be done on that torn ligament.” One last look at my damaged knee causes her to tsk-tsk and say, “Must’ve been quite a soccer game. Hope you won.” She leaves.
In my tiny gown, all modesty dies as a new nurse loudly enters the room. From behind.
“Good afternoon,” a disembodied voice cheerily greets. “I see that we are supposed to – ohh, it’s you!”
The Voice gains legs and walks into view. Syringe in hand and smiling, Pam Ruggiero remains the same cute classmate with whom I graduated three years earlier.
I freeze. But all six screens have a field day with my discomfort, firing off thoughts faster than I can attribute.
Clever way to meet new women, starts the barrage. Cannot “back” out now. You should have your phone number displayed on those cold cheeks. Ask her for a date. Find out if this woman is always “behind” in her work. Will tea be next, now that you have shared two buns?
Pam is professional. “Lift the gown and I’ll give you a shot to start the process.”
I do, immediately feeling an alcohol swab. Pam leans with intention, tries clean injection, gets keen rejection. “You’ll have to loosen your buns,” she says. “The muscles are tensed. I can’t get the needle in.”
Screens laugh as hard at the viewing of the replay as they do during the original incident. This is no time to flex, Rex!
Prescription pinpoint pushes through poised posterior. Pam administers a reassuring swab, directs my next moves, says it’s been nice to see me –
“See” you, repeats Three in delight, as if the moment’s double meaning might be lost.
– and leaves the room, perhaps to find a hall closet and burst into wild laughter.
“Mind movie” completed, my screens catch their collective breath and ask one last time whether I might catch this coming weekend’s truly remarkable 40th reunion. Seriously, coaxes Two, it is incredible we have lived so long.
Still uneasy at the remembrance just shown, I glumly lament, “Why go back and risk seeing the woman who shot me?”
Screens applaud my dark humor, but Six outdoes me. You do not need to attend, he confidently assures. Just ask Pam about your classmates and this gathering. No doubt, she will tell you …
They are all the same at the end.
Postscript: The older we get, the better we were, states Screen One.
“Think you’ve just summed it perfectly,” I laugh.
* * * * *