The Problem With a Brain Like Mine…

I just lost my shit on the poor woman who answered the phone at our local library.

I’m not proud.

And truthfully, I didn’t exactly lose it, but as someone who loathes confrontation and prefers every interaction to be the utmost harmonious kind…it felt that way.

I received a freaking collections letter FROM THE LIBRARY in my mailbox today.

I’m still trying to pop my eyeballs back into their sockets.

What the FUCK?! (I seriously tried to use another word here, but this one felt SO right. Forgive?)

I always hear money-concious people say, “Just use your local library! It’s more economical!”

That may be true for most people, and it’s a good tip for a voracious reader like me, being that Amazon One-Click is entirely too easy for those of us with a rather, um, impulsive nature.

BUT… I make more *donations* to the local library than I care to admit because I exist IN THE NOW. I remember to return books when I drive by the library as my borrowed items rest happily miles away on my beside table.

Even with fines, I’m certain I come out better using the library, and they really don’t phase me all that much. I’m a big believer in libraries, and though I kid, I know that I could never afford to purchase all the books I read.

But a collections letter?! Really?!

The Backstory:

One Saturday I escaped to our local library, the land of books — my happy place. I come alive when I’m surrounded by books, just as I love coffeeshops and quaint bookstores. Piers, my 7yo, accompanied me. We had no itinerary, no agenda, just an open-ended afternoon.

After an hour or so Piers became restless, as first grade boys often do, so we gathered our books and headed for the checkout.

There was a line…

Next to the NEW books…

I Always Want to be Where I’m Not: Successful Living with ADD & ADHD by Wes Crenshaw, PhD ABPP (American Board of Professional Psychology — I had to Google to find this out) caught my eye. I have ADHD; Gil, my husband, has been diagnosed with ADHD, though he clearly denies it. I’ve seen the paperwork and lived with him for 15 years; trust me, he has it. I’m pretty certain both of my children have it, considering that it’s highly inheritable.

I added it to my stack.

Then…I lost the book. It simply disappeared.

I looked under my bed, in my car, all over the house. I hadn’t read it all, but I liked the few pages I did read.

I assumed it would turn up.

Two weeks later, I returned my other books and confessed to the nice library checker-outer that it was missing. She informed me that it was a pricey $45.00, since it was a new release and all. She also suggested that I give it a week or so and maybe it would turn up. The fines would still be cheaper.

I took her advice.

And I found it…

On my bookshelf, where never in a million years would I have considered looking.


So, I got it out and started reading…again.

It was excellent.

And then it disappeared…AGAIN.

What is it with me and this book?

And trust me, I have not overlooked the irony here.

At one point I sincerely believed that I had turned the book into the library and forgotten all about it. You guys, I’ve done this sort of thing before.

I had also decided that I needed a copy of this book — it’s that good, and if this post hasn’t convinced you that I need all the tips for successful living with ADD that I can get, I’m not sure what kind of convincing you need.

It still didn’t turn up. I knew I needed to drop in and pay for it, but every time I’d drive by the library I didn’t have my checkbook, or there wasn’t time. I’d be lying if I told you it wasn’t tucked in a corner of my brain.

I also assumed they’d call and remind me. I think this might be why I thought I might have turned it in without remembering. Like I mentioned — I’ve had fines. They always send reminder emails, but this time, I got nothing. People in my ADD tribe need those reminder emails like nobody’s business. Trust. Me.

But the reminders never came, and somehow in the craziness that went down the last two weeks of school, I simply forgot about it. Prior to THE COLLECTION LETTER, I hadn’t thought about any of this for weeks.

I get it — I screwed up, made a mistake, should have handled it in a more timely fashion. I think I checked the book out mid-April. I KNOW!!!

But a collection notice for a book that’s been out since April?! It hasn’t even been two months. Oh my gosh, just typing that I realize how bad it sounds.

I don’t think I ever received a mail notice FROM THE ACTUAL LIBRARY. Shouldn’t those come first? It’s a library, for crying out loud.

So here’s where I’m torn. I’m an intelligent person, and for that I’m grateful. I may not be THE smartest, but I was given a brain that works…except when it doesn’t.

I’d love to tell you this is one mistake, and I want to chill out and not beat myself up for it. I know I have ADHD. It’s not an excuse, but sometimes I wish it could be. Or rather, I wish there was more understanding.

I also get why there isn’t. I have an uncanny ability to handle all sorts of complicated things that a neurotypical might have trouble performing. Teachers, parents and friends have been telling me this my entire life. It’s a bit exasperating. I look like a person who has my shit together, most of the time anyway, and really I’m relatively together. I used to work in sales. I didn’t love it, but I was good at it, not because I was a hardcore salesperson — I definitely wasn’t. I detest pressuring people, but because my memory for things that have absolutely nothing to do with me is remarkable. I remember people’s dog’s names. I remember their grandchildren’s birthdays. I remember that they got married in that quaint chapel on the island just off the coast of Maine. I remembered that my client used to drive a black Nissan Maxima but traded it in because the automatic windows made that annoying squeaky noise that sent chills down her spine. I remember crazy, insignificant details.

So when I tell people who have experienced my super-power-memory-of-everything-random brain that I can’t remember where I put my keys or that I thought the 4pm movie started at 4:15, they think I’m making excuses or flat-out lying. I mean, most people are too nice to say it, and I do think those who know me well believe that I’m not a liar but rather pass off my slip-ups as, “Oh, Viv’s a bit scattered and quirky.” But still, it bothers me and jacks with my self-esteem.

My best friend from high school once said, “I really don’t understand how you can bebop all over the world, but you can’t seem to organize the basics.” UGH! Well, me either, Sister! Thanks for pointing that out!

But she’s right. Not that I’m currently bebopping, but traveling has never really phased me. I like the adventure. I could use more of that these days.

Today after I was less-than-kind, I was referred to a higher-up who said they’d happily draft a letter to the collection agency as soon as I paid for the book. Yay! All fine and dandy, but my credit’s not the best anyway, and it feels like one more thing. I need to be actively working to improve my overall credit score without having to dispute another negative item.

I guess more than anything, these incidences make me feel like I’ll never get it together so why even bother. This is just how I’m wired. I fall into that all-or-nothing thinking, which is never good.

What things do you do that make you feel like a horrible loser of a person? Why do we do this to ourselves?


11 thoughts on “The Problem With a Brain Like Mine…

  1. I love everything about books. I can spend hours in a library or book store or coffee shop just browsing or reading or touching/feeling/smelling them.

    Here’s a thought…when you check out a book, put a reminder on your phone for 3 days prior to when it’s due. Then have it repeat at 2 days and then 1 day and then hourly until you return it. The annoyance factor alone should have you running and screaming back to return the damn thing!

    I’m a project manager by nature (and at work) but I do not have good attention to detail. You’d think that would be a problem right? Nope. I just put things in place to remind me or prompt me so that nothing falls through the cracks. You can do that too! You know I’ll help.

    I’m not sure if you’re a Seinfeld fan but this whole post had me thinking of “Tropic of Cancer” and Mr. Bookman.


    Liked by 1 person

    • I LOVE Seinfeld, but Gil REALLY loves Seinfeld! We own ALL the DVDs and have since they first came out, so the other night I got up around 2am to use the restroom and I heard him laughing in the living room. I walked in and he was parked on the couch and Seinfeld was blaring on the TV. I don’t think I said a word other than “Really?!” His reply: “The entire series just came out on Hula!” As if to say, ‘I HAD to watch it…’ I’ll have to to check out that episode. It’s not ringing a bell.

      Good ideas on the reminders. I’m planning to post about my most recent organizing project soon. Shocking, I know. You’d think as hard as I try I’d have it all figured out by now. It’s hard to believe, but I’m WAY more together than I was in my teens and twenties. Goodness. I shudder just thinking back on the disarray that was once my life.


  2. Geez, we have a lot in common. I’m a avid fan of the library and also love being surrounded by books, And even though I’m usually very organized, I’ve gotten hit by HUGE fines (though never collections) and we also have ADHD in the family. So I hear ya. I haven’t yet lost in on a librarian yet but I understand your frustration.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I lose things all the time and that makes me feel like a loser. I’ve tried joking about my ADD, but it seriously causes some unfortunate situations. You’ll probably find that library book right after you pay for it. I hope they straighten out the collection issue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, you predicted it! I did find the book, but I haven’t actually paid the fine yet. I called the library to ask about my options, and the person informed that the fines are now more, so I’d be better off paying for the book. That doesn’t make much sense, so I’m going to go by and try to get a little more info. One more thing, but really it’s all okay. We may lose things, but we’re definitely NOT losers, but I certainly go down that slippery slope more often than I care to admit…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I go on a daily hunt for something. The worst one is a bill I have to pay and can’t find it anywhere. I have almost all bills on auto payment, except one—and I’m late almost every month. argh!


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