I learned today what it feels like to have your car alarm go off while you’re sitting in the driver’s seat, parked in front of a friend’s restaurant where patrons…right in front of you…are occupying tables on the covered patio on an unusually warm day for January, eating their lunches within twenty feet of your barking car. One patron walks over to the screened window to see if it is his car that is creating this protracted disturbance. After seeing your flashing lights, he returns to his table…and now you are watching people who are watching you!
I know now what it is like to learn on the job—by rapid trial and error—how to turn off a car alarm when the electronic device on the key chain no longer works because you washed it in the washing machine two months before, and you’ve had to lock and unlock your car the old fashioned way. I know what it is like to appear clumsy in front of others while experimenting to disable the alarm because you have to get out of the car and let all the restaurant patrons see you…the tall guy scrambling out of the little white car…with parking lights flashing in sync with each honk of the horn while you manually lock the car door, successfully silencing the alarm…and after two or three minutes in the spotlight, you walk rapidly from the car and away from the patio, into the front entrance.
No one is hurt…not much time is wasted…your spouse isn’t there to feel embarrassed and annoyed at you…there is no one around who is likely to criticize you…and with years of experience in the involuntary spotlight of your ADHD, with a greater-than-average potential to experience such public episodes, and your greater-than-average capacity for divergent thinking and rapid processing in an emergency, there is no reason to re-experience any of the shame that you felt as a child with your undiagnosed difference. This is living well with ADHD!