Archives for July, 2012
Have you ever had one of those days? Have you ever had a day when everything seems to go wrong? I had a day that had a weeks worth of wrongs yesterday. I put my boat in the water finally, and it started up just fine, ran wonderfully smooth and then overheated and stalled out. The gauges checked out fine, but there was smoke coming out of the engine room. It isn’t actually a room, it’s a space under the deck, just big enough for the engine and little else. There’s no room to work comfortably on the thing. Believe me, I’ve had to do a few things to it, and they all required me to almost stand on my head.
I love the smell of lumber. I love the feel of it too. There are few things more satisfying than making a good clean cut in a nice straight two-by-four. There’s only this one little problem, there’s no such thing as a straight two-by-four. There are very few straight four-by-fours either. Mind you, I’m not complaining ... This lack of straight lumber is why I have a job. If lumber were perfectly straight and square, no one would need a contractor. Lumber would snap together perfectly. You could buy the lengths you needed and even the angle cuts would already be supplied. At work the other day we had a deck post that had a twist in it. It wasn’t something you’d notice with just a glance. But when I put the end of the railing against it to screw-nail it in place, there was an obvious difference between my square cut rail and the twisted side of the post. I was at a loss, sometimes the screw-nail will draw the wayward piece into line. Not this four-by-four though, it was having none of my screw-gun based reform.
In Monday’s post I mentioned that it felt like I still had all the time in the world. I have no intention of getting into a discussion about life after death or reincarnation here. My belief is that I can’t make something true just by sermonizing. And without proof, I’m unwilling to attempt to mislead anyone out of fear that this would be the one time someone might believe me. But in the middle of this life, in the middle of this year and this month and this week and this day ... I still feel like I have all the time I need.
In Canada, we have a folk goddess named Joni Mitchell. I hope you’ve heard of her, she is one of our national treasures. She played Woodstock. (Note: A reader, NDJ, has commented on this post, pointing out that Mitchell never attended Woodstock. Click the link below to read the comments.) Many of her songs have been covered by artists around the world. And she is my number one favorite professional Canadian singer/songwriter. One of her older songs is called "The Circle Game." In one of the verses she mentions that in teenage years people live life fast but older folks tell them that they will reach a point when they will be dragging their feet, trying to “slow the circles down.”
There are people who insult with intent, and there are people who insult with the best of intentions. And there are people who insult because they had the best of intentions but have become frustrated with the lack of progress they’ve made on “fixing” the problem. People who insult with intent are just people who don’t have the ability or ambition to better themselves, so they choose to belittle those around them in order to feel better about themselves. It’s a sort of bell curve deal where they try to lower their perceived grade of those around them so that they will actually seem more competent and capable. Those are the obvious insulters.
You can’t beat a summer weekend for fun. And I’ve had three great ones in a row. The first one I don’t remember at all. See, I told you it was great. Oh, wait, I remember that I took my friend to the farmer’s market and we bought trout. I remember that because we barbecued it on cedar planks that we soaked in water. That was new for us, but we’ll remember it, it was very good. What I do remember about that weekend is that it was very busy. And so was the next one, the weekend before last.
Yesterday was Sunday, July 15th. Not wildly significant for most people. But it was also the third Sunday in the month of July. Again, still not significant ... but for me, for the last fifty years, this is the day reserved to honor my mother’s mother’s family. The third Sunday of July is the McKinlay Reunion. Yesterday was the fiftieth occurrence of this phenomenon. In the good old days we would arrive at noon and the lunch would be put out buffet style. We’d dine and dash out of doors to play with our cousins. Games would be organized by the adults and I once won a prize for being able to whistle immediately after eating a cracker.
(with apologies to Robert M. Pirsig) I was at work yesterday, repairing a deck ... it turned into a complete rebuild. We took the decking off and started assessing what it would take to stabilize the framework. We discovered that the posts it was built on had sunk to varying depths because they had been set on patio stones that had simply been dropped onto the ground. We began to dig out and reset the stones properly with gravel. Then one of the joists snapped under my weight, and I’m not that heavy. The easy answer to the situation was also the best answer. Tear down and start fresh. What does this have to do with ADHD?
I talk about my ADHD “on the street” - just not on the street I live on. The street I live on is on the edge of a rural subdivision, the houses are not very close together. There really is very little street activity, no real community. We don’t hang on the corner, there’s no store, church, supermarket. No opportunity to talk, let alone talk about ADHD. Downtown is a different story. There are places I am known in the downtown core of the city on whose outskirts I dwell. And I do talk about ADHD there. Cafés, restaurants, the library, any place where I meet with friends or interact with people, you can find me there talking the talk.
[...] I am capable of living for 50 years without knowing [...] Okay, I've ranted about mental health stigma before. You all know, those of you who follow my blog, that I am upset with the idea that people should be judged to be wanting in some way if they suffer a mental health disorder. But did you know that whenever I demand to be treated as an equal member of society regardless of my ADHD, I feel guilty? It's true. Why would that be? I feel guilty for demanding this when I am capable of living for 50 years without knowing I have a mental health disorder. If I lived for those 50 years feeling like stigma was not applicable to me, my mental health issues must not be as debilitating as those of other people. But wait ... And yet, I am aware that I have very poor self-awareness. I am aware that I have suffered. I just can’t reconcile the suffering with the having survived relatively unscathed.