07 July, 2009

Look! A chicken...

No, actually a kitten.

Many people who have seen the cartoon or T-shirt with the reference, "Look! a chicken" understand that it lovingly chides and refers to people with seemingly short attention spans.

In less than three weeks since Beauregard has joined our family, I now have a renewed appreciation of the Warner Brothers cartoons; and I have gained a deeper insight into my own biological and emotional behavior.

For lo these many years, I have known (and recently have the official diagnosis to boot) that I was a child with ADD. Now, I have come to understand that no, I am really only a human kitten.

When I was very young, I recall one evening when my mother and grandmother invited this nice man over to the house. He was dressed in a suit and carried what I thought was a briefcase. The three of them whispered in one room for awhile and soon they brought out four different cups on saucers and placed them on the coffee table in the living room.

I always loved the smell of coffee percolating but I was not allowed to drink any of it--"Coffee is for grown-ups" was always the reply when I asked for a taste. And now, I was being offered a chance to taste each of these four cups of the mysterious, dark beverage? Even as a young child, I knew something unusual was going on.

As I reflect back on that night, I was a little like the fairy-tale child tasting the different bowls of porridge. Only these little cups contained black coffee, coffee with cream and sugar; or coffee with either just cream or just sugar. The very kind man told me to take a taste of each one of the cups and tell him which one I liked.

"Oooh, this is one is too sweet. This one tastes funny. I don't like this one....Ah, this one tastes juuuuuust right" as I ended on the straight, black coffee with no embellishments. And thus began my life-long affair with caffeine.

Unbeknownst to me as a child, I had been diagnosed has hyperkinetic (the earlier definition to what is now more commonly known as Attention Deficit Disorder) and this doctor was doing me a favor by using caffeine as the treatment instead of the popular drug of that time, Ritalin.

As I grew up and learned more about many of my behavioral differences, I did piece together the fact that for me, caffeine actually works in reverse of what it does for most people: it relaxes and focuses me. Imagine how difficult life was for me during my Adelle Davis/Vegetarian/I-Am-going-to-be-as-food-pure-as-I-can cycle and I gave up caffeine. There were chickens everywhere.

Most of my life, I added this eccentricity to the growing list of traits that I felt made me a dysfit in life. (Dysfit is the word I made up to define being a dysfunctional misfit in the normal scheme of things). As my maturity and tolerance grew, so did my self-understanding and I returned to my love of coffee. Even the aroma has therapeutic benefits for me.

And now, with Beau in our lives, I am watching displays of energy, playfulness, tenderness, the numerous distractions, the fascination with the mundanity of day to day activities, the need for an immediate nap to re-charge (literally and figuratively in this case) that describe both my life or that of a young kitten. All these years I never realized that any other living being shared my mindset and feelings. If only my mother and I had not been allergic to cats... A good friend recently shared that one of the aspects that she appreciates about me is that I reflect a level of neoteny in how I do my life and work. Now I also understand why she, too, is such a cat lover.

Now I can remove the real or imagined stigma of certain social disorders and instead, tell people that I am a kitten reincarnated as a high-functioning Asperger's human being. And with my metaphysical and spiritual leanings, I can reframe ADD into:
Allowing Divine Direction.

Why does the chicken cross the road? To get to Starbucks of course!

City Slackers

No, I did not misspell the title of this post. Yes, I was playing off of the comedy film title, "City Slickers" about a bunch of...