I learned a very valuable lesson in life at a very young age and it was thanks to a Christmas present: The Green Machine. Even today I still consider my Green Machine to be my most valuable Christmas present ever, not only because it was a lot of fun, but it showed me the harsh reality of how some people view and use friends, well, I use the term ‘friends’ loosely.
As a kid I stayed pretty much to myself. I was not good at relating with others, so I usually stayed in my backyard building models of airplanes, usually out of two boards nailed together which kind of formed the body and wings of an airplane. (What are with us ADDers and airplanes anyway?) When I wasn’t building these constructions of airplanes I was out playing in the fields behind our house. I was 5 or 6 at this time and we lived near Sacramento California, our backyard was a vast, seemingly never ending wasteland of open land with lots of snakes, lizards and really big spiders. Oh, it was a great playground and I usually had it all to myself.
Obviously I wasn’t a popular kid and I didn’t want to be or try to be, heck I didn’t even know what popular was. Then that temporarily changed when I got the Christmas present of a life time. You know by now what it was, my GREEN MACHINE! Once I started racing down the driveway and the street in front of our house I began attracting a lot of attention, I didn’t really want the attention, but I have to admit it felt pretty good having something everyone else wanted and didn’t have. Shame on me! Kids in the neighborhood started to notice I existed, well, okay, they noticed my Green Machine and they wanted to ride it.
If you want people’s attention get something they don’t have, but they really want and show it off. I didn’t originally ride my Green Machine to show it off. I started out oblivious to the other kids and never considered that they wanted a Green Machine too. If I had, I might have used the toy a little better to my advantage, to what ends I have no idea.
I was a young lonely kid and was caught off guard by all the attention and didn’t know what it was for. Suddenly, I had kids wanting to be my best friends and asking if they could ride my new toy. I was pretty naïve and allowed the kids to get on and give ‘er a whirl. I started to feel rather good about myself because it seemed I was somebody, as kids waited for a ride they talked to me and asked questions and I thought we all got along great, then it all ended just as quickly as it began. After so much use my Green Machine broke. I don’t remember exactly what happened, but it was kind of a surreal moment because once it broke all those other kids left me standing there with my broken toy. I just stood there with tears running down my cheeks and nobody stayed around to help me carry my broken Green Machine home. Just standing there alone, with my broken Green Machine and nobody wanting to help me or be my friend anymore was something never to be forgotten.
You can probably guess the moral of this story.
Know who your friends are and why they are your friends. I went back to playing out back of my house and never played with any of those kids again, not because I didn’t want to play with them, they just didn’t want anything to do with me anymore. I had nothing to offer them of interest. I wished for another Green Machine for quite a while and never got another one and maybe in my mind, way back then, I believed you had to have a Green Machine for others to like you. The truth is, it’s not about the Green Machines we have in our lives. I wished I had just played with it out back, that way I would have had it longer and enjoyed it more.
Kids with ADD ADHD often have difficulty in recognizing what others want from them and/or why. I wasn’t a very talkative kid and did not relate well with the other kids, so all the focus was on the Green Machine. Had I understood what was going on and why, I probably would have been more protective of my most prized possession. Most of us Adult ADDers know how we miss many subtle, unspoken and spoken human communication cues, it is even more difficult for a young ADD ADHD child.