Monday, March 30, 2009

Moving around my mind

My fiancée recently moved in to my place. I live in a two-bedroom condo, so in theory there's enough room for both of us. However, in the days leading up to that, as I tried to prepare the domicile for co-habitation, I found it to be worse than it would be to get ready to move to a new place.

With an ordinary move, one gets a bunch of boxes and one starts packing. Everything is already in a modicum of order; kitchen items are in the kitchen, bedroom items are in the bedroom, etc.; it's a lot of physical effort, but by and large the primary mental effort comes in when one deciding what items one will need between the commencement of packing and the actual moving of the boxes, and not packing those until the end.

With the scenario of having a home already filled with items, I found it difficult, but not so much because of the obvious dilemma: figuring out how we'll fit everything. It's easy enough to throw out or donate a significant amount of my stuff to make room.

The problem I find myself having was deciding what to do first.

It doesn't sound tricky, I know, but I found myself walking into the spare room and seeing one thing to do and starting on that, but then that made me think of another task over in the hall closet that seemed better to tackle before the first one, so I would ditch that and walk to begin the next idea, but then another idea sprang to mind that struck me as an even better way to go, and so on. And every time I'd move something I'd realize how overdue much of the "bachelor pad" was for a thorough cleaning, and it seemed that during this transition (in addition to everything else) it would be the ideal time to perform that. However, I was attempting most of this in the evenings after I got home from work and ate dinner, so most nights it was a bit late to get to deep into that.

The thing about this: It seems like indecision, but really it was a lack of focus. It's not that I didn't know what I need to do; I knew too well what I needed to do and all of it came to mind, but not in any productive order. It was a sort of ADD for moving.

Which brings me to my actual topic.

In ruminating on this dilemma I started to think about how calling "attention deficiency" a "disorder" suggests that the brain's natural inclination is to remain focused on one thing at a time. However, that doesn't seem a realistic view of the mind's baseline for operation.

Heck, form a survival standpoint, it seems like being able to quickly shift from one item of attention to another is beneficial. Our ancestors who were too focused on advancing their attentive skills were possibly the ones who didn't notice the lion sneaking up on them.

Certainly the ability to concentrate is worthwhile and beneficial in our industrialized world, but that doesn't mean that paying attention is necessarily what we just do; conceivably, paying attention is a developed skill.

Thus it's not a disorder when one lacks that ability; it's a developmental deficiency. Which is a problem, certainly, but it's not a disorder. There are obviously actual disorders which cause what is called ADD, but it's not right to call the mere lack of attentive ability a "disorder."

However, as ADD is already taken, we cannot re-appropriate that to now mean "Attention Development Deficiency," so I propose we rearrange the terms as "Deficient Attention Development," or DAD.

A disorder is an ailment that's difficult to overcome; a deficiency is merely something there isn't enough of, so it carries the superior implication of being such that it can be resolved with simply getting more. Not that the "more" that needs to be gotten is easily acquired, but the important thing there is the hint of empowerment that it can be acquired at all; a "disorder" sounds like something largely out of one's control.

Now let's imagine someone saying the following: "His problem is DAD."

See? Rolls off the tongue. And pronounced as a single syllable word, to the untrained ear it seems to lay the blame for his problem squarely on his parent, which may or may not be true but is almost certain to be accepted by the listener as plausible.

Assuming the listener had developed the ability to pay attention long enough to hear all the way to the end of the sentence.

At this point I presume everyone is too afflicted with DAD to remember how I started this and expect me to resolve the ostensible dilemma about getting the condo ready to receive my fiancée's belongings.

But if you must know: All her stuff has been moved in, and maybe a third of it is unpacked. If you can't figure out why more of it isn't done, please re-read the paragraphs above.

Unless you have something better to do.


They're called "Dougressions" for a reason, people. If you were expecting them to stay on topic, you really weren't interpreting the pun that well.

We'll try to come up with an acronym for that at a later time.


  1. You wrote: Heck, form a survival standpoint, it seems like being able to quickly shift from one item of attention to another is beneficial.

    Did you form a survival standpoint with your wandering attention? [G]

    But at least you keep it’s/its straight.

    See you later, DADdy-O.

    Typo Ray-O

  2. Look, Ray, if I don't include some mistakes now and then people won't be able to relate.

    To err is human, and until computers develop sentience or animals learn to read, humans are my only audience. I don't want to alienate them with perfection.

    Now what were we talking about?


So, what do you think?