I have to tell you a story. (don't groan. I'll try to keep it short. ish.)
I did quite well in court reporting school, but I was not one of the professor's favorites. In fact, she downright didn't like me. I did not practice on the steno machine, and I still passed my speed and accuracy tests. That pissed her off to no end (although she was far too refined to use the phrase "pissed off"), as it eroded the Absolute Truth that she preached: You MUST practice EVERY DAY or you won't get your speed. Every day we were to pass in our practice tapes...the piles of paper from the steno machine to show that we had practiced the night before. Mine were always about a quarter- to a half an inch thick. (they would likely have been not even that thick, except we had to pass in something, otherwise points were taken off.) Other people's were five inches, six inches, eight inches thick. She praised the ones who passed in the thick ones, and most of the time they made their speed tests. She glowered when she received mine. The other students would give a tsk-tsk kind of look. Shame on Norma. But then I'd pass the speed tests, too. Worse than that, I'd ace the written knowledge tests, but the others often were not allowed to proceed because, although they had gotten their speed, they did not pass the academic bits. It was really all about the concentration. That was my super-power. (Well, that and super-human hearing. But for this discussion that part is irrelevant.)
When it came close to graduation, we all sat for the national certification test. This was meant to be only for practice, because nobody really expected you to pass the test before you had even graduated from court reporting school. It was done to get familiar with the whole thing and get a little more experience under one's belt, experience the stress of taking the test, and if one were lucky enough to pass, well, all the better. So the test day was there and we were all set up in a classroom where the test was administered. There were two people in the front of the room, professional readers. They had timed material to read to us in one or two voices, depending on the test. It was three different types of material at speeds of 180, 200, and 225 words per minute. In order to pass, you had to have 95% accuracy or greater in the transcript you later typed up from the dictated material.
So my seat was the closest to the open window. It was May and it was hot. I wanted the breeze. The dictation was given, we finished, and I knew I had GOT IT. I heaved a HUGE sigh of relief and started jumping around in my seat. I couldn't wait to get to the typing area to type it up. WOW! I think I passed!!!
WHINING began - loud - crying, "Foul! It's not FAIR! The lawnmower under the window. We all lost our concentration! Do-over!" (I'm really BAD at tolerating whining. I can't stand it for ONE SECOND. Unless it's me doing the whining. Then I can listen to it ALL DAY.)
The professional dictators (sounds like Fidel Castro or something, eh?) began to agree. They didn't know what to do. Should they contact National and get a ruling? Should they call the test a failure? Is there a procedure for this kind of thing? Then the professor said, "Wait. Before we call National, does anyone think they got it?"
Red-faced Norma had to raise her hand. Tentatively. "Lawnmower? What lawnmower?" Many nasty stares. Hey, this thing cost me $225, and if I passed it, it would mean not having to pass it later, and it would mean getting hired somewhere at a higher pay rate. I was not about to say I didn't get it just to be with the "in" crowd. The Professor Who Never Liked Me turned GRAY. Through pursed lips and with a roll of the eyes, she said, "Well, since Norma was the closest to the window and SHE SAYS SHE GOT IT....."
This story is to illustrate that I used to have it. I mean, I really had it. The "it" being P-E-R-F-E-C-T CONCENTRATION. No A.D.D. here. Nope. Not even close. (I did pass, by the way, in case you're wondering.)
Then what the hell has happened? I have clearly lost it. I've lost my concentration mojo.
To illustrate my point, here are my current works in progress:
The second Vineyard sock....at least I'm making some progress. I've turned the heel. This is good. Progress is good. (ow, that windowsill really needs to be taken care of.) Hm? What? Where was I? Oh, yes....
The Dulaan toddler's vest and the Must Have Cardi. Just a tiny, faint blip on the radar. And then there's the second Dr. Suess mitten for Dulaan. It's bright yellow-and-green, and it sits in the Dulaan basket next to my computer chair, waving at me so I won't forget.
Beth. I think. Is that even the right name? How horrible that this little love o' mine has been ignored so long. How could I fall so head-over-heels in love with this project and then even forget the name so soon? Need to rip back that sleeve cap, redo it, and get on with the rest of the sweater.
Rogue II. Not really anymore. I've made a decision to not continue with the Rogue in the yarn I was using. I hadn't gotten far anyway. But after seeing Teresa's Version One in Green Mt. Mohair in Rhinebeck last weekend, I've decided to restart it in the "spice" Green Mt. Mohair that's in my stash. I decided that the Rowan Magpie in the gold color, although beautiful, is too flat a color for the Rogue I wanted. I want the flecks. Flecks is important. (right, Laura?)
A new project. Yes, of course. What else would a person with newly-developed ADD do? Start a new project, of course. Backyard Leaves scarf from Scarf Style. I love everything about it: the pattern (easy-to-follow chart, ingenious and lovely design. Yay, Annie Modesitt!), the yarn, the color (yay, Better Pal!). I've completed one of 22 of those leaf repeats. Then there are two edging charts to be completed. By the way, if anyone is an advanced beginner and wants to try a chart for the first time, I'd recommend this scarf. Just challenging enough, and yet very well written and easy-to-understand.
And then, of course, there's the spinning. Let's not even talk about the spinning. The blissful black hole.
Perhaps more important is what effect the loss of my concentration super-power has had on my paying work. Less output = less money = less fiber. This is a SERIOUS SITUATION, people!
And in the queue, just off the top of my head: Fair Isle fingerless gloves, mittens for Sandy's Warm Hands knitalong ...........oh, cripes....there it goes. I've lost my concentration again.
Will I ever get it back?