mardi, avril 04, 2006
Crazy busy, or just crazy?
Crazy busy. Bless you, Dr. Hallowell, for diagnosing my condition. Take last night, for example. It's not like there was anything out of the ordinary going on when I crept over into the other guy's lane near the turnpike entrance. Every Monday evening I'm supposed to pick up the kids after they have had dinner with their dad. Very rarely am I on time. Not insanely late, just an annoying and impolite five or ten minutes behind schedule. I'm tardy because I've spent an hour and a half in traffic getting home from work. That's before the rush hour hits our crowded highways and back roads. On Mondays I collapse for a couple of minutes, then quickly throw on running gear, get back in the car, and take off for a local state park. Back into the car after the run, time for a quick shower and an quicker dinner (sometimes consumed in the car). I have my phone configured so I can listen to my email while easing into a momentary crawl on Rt 100. Sometimes I even read the newspaper on the way to work (only when I have to stop at a light). You can see why, momentarily braked for red and interrogating my kids about whether they had done their homework, I might have poked one side of the sedan into the other guy's lane. I think that's what all the honking was about. The scary thing is, I'm still not sure exactly what happened. Dr. Hallowell, the compassionate psychiatrist who has written about Attention Deficit Disorder, has a term for what ails me. He calls it "Attention Deficit Trait" or ADT. In an interview in the latest edition of Time Hallowell talked about his new book "Crazy Busy: Overstretched, Overbooked and About to Snap-Strategies for Coping in a World Gone ADD." While many of us aren't genetically prone to true ADD, says the wise doctor, easy access to technology has driven a lot of us into a psychological state of distractibility, restlessness, and impulsivity. Our use of cell phones, pagers, email and answering machines isn't making us more efficient. It's just pulling us into a thousand directions, distancing us from our environment, and from the people around us. "What's the cure?" the interviewer asked Hallowell. Institute a protocol for when and where you are going to use this new array of electronic toys so you don't get used by them. Make a plan for what you want to accomplish in the course of a day. March bravely on, regardless of the lures cast out by your electronic mistresses. We still need to find time in our day to communicate, says the old-fashioned physician, face to face. Now that's one book I am going to read-when I can find the time, of course. In the meantime, my tousled-haired son has arisen from his requisite nine hours of slumber and has wandered into my room, complaining of a bad dream. Gazing into my eyes with the affectionate gravity that undoes me, he offers a heavensent opportunity to share a moment that will enrich, and not diminish, the Byzantine fabric of my day. I'd be nuts not to take him up on it.