When you hate school, are fourteen, have ADHD and might be actually insane, life is hard. I went to two high schools, and the first of these, where I spent ninth and tenth grade, had such a lack of guidelines that kids could’ve organized a fight club in the cafeteria and everyone would’ve just wondered when the gym teacher was gonna get back from the bathroom to make sure no one gouged eyes. I spent most of the day trying to find new ways to keep myself entertained, and this included writing rap songs in class or acting like an idiot so that other people would think I was funny. I had to constantly be moving, be talking. And, as ninth grade went on, sitting still was becoming harder and harder.
It was a winter day that I came up with an ingenious plan. I could go on “walks” during class to relieve my whatever. There was no anatomical, factual backing for this idea. Allowing an ADHD kid to take time out of class to meander around the school unattended is like treating a third degree burn by shoving the victim into a working refridgerator. It’s definitely a solution that a socially inept, freshmen kid with focus problems would come up with.
I didn’t have a doctor’s note for it, or anything valid like that, but that didn’t stop me from telling my teacher that I had my doctor’s approval to leave the class at random intervals and come back whenever I wanted. Using a mindset similar to this is how most organized religions are created. So, after about twenty seconds of deliberation, I prepared to tell all of my teachers that I had the dreaded ADHD and the only way for me to learn anything was to be allowed to stand up during class whenever I deemed it Fuck this enough, and simply leave.
I had four teachers at this time, each teaching ninety minute courses. Three of them called me out on this nonsense, and rightfully so. It’s a stupid idea in every meaning of the word. Telling my teacher that, in order to cure my cancer, I should be allowed to build a fire on my desk whenever I thought it necessary would’ve been more believable.
But one teacher bought it: my Latin teacher, who had not been in the United States very long. And considering that his class was full of people who openly loathed the dead language they were learning and the man who tried to shove it into their brains daily, having a kid who just wanted to leave for a bit and come back refreshed and ready to take notes was a blessing. I pitched him my impossible dream and he thought it was a great idea. Well, maybe not “great.” He was certainly willing to try it out, and with anything given to you when you’re in high school and full of exuberance and idiocy, you’re going to stretch that shit out as far as it will go.
From that point on, whenever I got tired of hearing about past perfect verb endings or ancient Greek life, I would stand up, look over my peers like I was receiving some sort of medal for Best Retarded Plan and exit the classroom. From there, I’d go to the water fountain, to the bathroom, to anywhere in the school that I wanted to go. It was a ninety minute class, so I had a lot of time to amble around and talk to the teachers who didn’t immediately ask “You’re in school. Shouldn’t you be doing that?”
But walking around gets lonely when teachers have jobs to do, so I thought of a great addendum to my previous deal. I would invite one person from the class to come walk with me. To handle me. I don’t know what my Latin teacher thought ADHD was at this point, but from the fact that he agreed to have someone walk with me around school to keep me fucking focused on my moving around aimlessly, he must’ve imagined that it was some disorder that was bizarre and completely uncontrollable. If he didn’t have someone go with Daniel to keep an eye on him, well, by God, he might kill again.
I had a few friends in that class, so now, when I stood up to leave, I’d literally survey the class, taking my time to build suspense before saying someone’s name. Then we’d both go, and do the same thing I did earlier, except now I had someone to talk to, making any activity that I did around the school last twice as long. By the end of this, I was spending sixty minutes exploring the school grounds and thirty minutes wondering what would be a good time to take my hour break, as if timing was any issue in a kid who’s plan to help out his ADHD was to take adventures whenever he got bored with translating The Odyssey.
Eventually the ruse ended, as I spent too much time talking too loudly outside the class door. My teacher got suspicious, saw that I wasn’t doing the medically “prescribed” action of taking a tally of what school doors were locked during the day, and told me that I couldn’t bolt from the room anymore. I didn’t try to plead my case. By then, I’d grown mad with power. The DANIEL’S MAGIC SNAKE OIL ELIXER ADHD CURING WALKS had gotten so long that Latin class had simply become a place that I stored my back pack for a class period.
I never did anything like that again, mainly because no teachers were willing to accept the fact that a doctor had told me “Well, you seem to have ADHD. But that’s no problem. The way to fix it is to go to school, but not class. That way, you’ll get all the benefits of nothing at all and your teachers will hate you.”