Friday, October 2, 2009


I’ve found it’s impossible to complete anything. It’s not that I have an attention-deficit issue, but rather I just suddenly stop in the middle of doing something—could be anything—and walk away, like a robot who’s just received a new directive. This is a serious problem. Try holding down a job with this condition, or having friends. Bosses aren’t too thrilled when you’ve ended your day at 11:30 AM. Friends don’t stay friends when you’re laughing and having fun, and suddenly, you abandon them to take a nap or read a book or go skiing. I’ve tried psychiatrists, but my 30 minute hour is quicker than their 50 minute one.

Sometimes, even a sentence is a problem. I have a thought, and I become determined to write it down, but just as I get started…

I’ve gone grocery shopping and abandoned the cart in the store. I needed the bananas, the toilet paper, the tuna fillets that were in my cart, but that wasn’t enough for me to finish. I’ve been pushing a cart down an aisle and just let go of it and turned away. I could hear the screaming of an old lady, cans crashing to the floor. Later, I’ll look in my refrigerator at the stuff I’ll never touch again—the half-cooked and half-eaten meals, the beer bottles three-quarters full—and wonder why I couldn’t have just breezed through the express checkout.

Once, I was getting married and, while reciting my vows, I just stopped and walked out of the church. Gasps of shock and a verbal threat from the almost-bride’s father didn’t keep me from leaving. I felt bad later, of course, since it takes time to meet someone you like, get to know her, ask her to marry you, plan the wedding. How come my instinct for incompletion didn’t step in sooner, to save all involved the trouble?

One day, I sat down and figured out why. This was one thing I took to completion. I wrote extensively in a journal, explaining my personal history and feelings. I even consulted some psychology books. I pulled it all together, and the conclusion I came to was…

I’ve abandoned functioning cars on the highway and on city streets. I’ve walked away from bank tellers as they were counting out cash from a transaction. I’ve not caught my connecting flight and instead booked passage elsewhere. I’ve had procedures involving local anesthetics where, in the middle, I’ve stood, fighting off the doctor and assistants, walking away from the operation, sporting open wounds and not fully clothed.

The worst thing is when I suffer spastic incompletion. When I go back and forth between activities I’ve abandoned in simultaneous moments. This has happened before going to work. I’ve walked toward my car, then halfway there, turned around and headed toward my front door. A few steps later, there I was. turning back toward the car. I kept doing this, the intervals becoming shorter to where I was just spinning around in circles. Eventually, I became dizzy and collapsed on my half-mowed lawn.

When I’m telling a story, I often just stop. I get to the juicy part, and just…

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