Having worked in the White House as a clerical assistant, I was managing phone calls, email and other tasks for staffers. There was to be a photo shoot after dinner and we were all instructed to attend. I recall sitting with other secretaries when, right in the middle of the dinner, the main phone rang. I heard someone yelling to my co-worker that we really needed to be answering the White House phone.
I didn’t get the phone; I was thinking how earlier that day, a woman with a whole slew of Portuguese Water Dog puppies had been walking around the grounds and how she allowed me to take one of the pups for a few days, reminding me that I had to ship him back home to her. Also admiring the pups was no other than Michelle Obama!
At any rate, the meal ended and we were about to pose for the photo shoot. I was sitting next to a group of women who’d been working at the White House forever. They were posing in such a way so that they could be sure to have their faces seen, all but pushing me out of the camera’s range. I asked if I was supposed to be sitting with my husband, who had a high position with the White House staff, and was told they’d be photographed separate from their wives.
Suddenly, Michelle Obama swept by and I introduced myself. She kindly reminded me that we’d met earlier when I was admiring the Portie pups. My cheeks burned in embarrassment, but she was forgiving of my lousy memory.
She began to tell me something interesting- her face was animated and her hands moved in unison with her words. But my co-workers’ chattering quickly distracted me and as is often the case when I’m in a room with multiple conversations going, my brain bailed…but this time…from the First Lady. The most important meeting of my life and I turned back to Ms. Obama only to see I’d missed every word that came out of her mouth.
So I ended up doing the “Terry Nod”- pretending I’d heard every word by nodding and smiling at her, while quietly kicking myself for having allowed my attention to drift. Again.
I woke up from this dream semi-agitated, realizing that even at four in the morning, my ADHD seems to follow me.