Saturday, July 7, 2012

Brain no work good

Since becoming a teacher, I have had to deal with learning about various learning disabilities.  Oftentimes the conversations about these center on whether they're legit or not, or if perhaps they're just excuses for students to not do their work.  I'm not really that interested in going over that particular idea right now, but I will just say that I think that the issue is a complex one, and I feel that there certainly are people with legitimate difficulties and with the proper support, they can do well so long as they are willing to put in the effort.

What I'm more interested in right now is whether I happen to have some myself.  My wife, who works with students with developmental disabilities, sometimes says that I show signs of them.  I have a hard time just sitting still, and I often find myself playing with something as I sit and listen to somebody or watch TV.  Of course, this is hardly something that has a serious impact on my life, but it's there.

Another thing that makes me think that perhaps my brain just doesn't quite work right is my issue with math.  More specifically, I can't do it in my head.  I was usually pretty good in math classes, and so long as it was written down, I could handle it.  However, I really have to pause and think hard when presented with even a relatively simple math problem - no, not like 5+7, but more like 57+126.  Also, I remember working the cash register at an Internet cafe, and every charge was dividable by 25 cents.  I remember one time a guy gave me $6.25 when he had a $1.25 charge.  (It probably wasn't that exactly, but it was something like that.)  I told him to hold on a second, as I had to figure out the change.  (The register didn't do the math for us.)  Now, if he would have just shut the hell up for a second, it probably would have only taken me a few seconds.  However, the problem is that I need to visualize it in my head, and I wanted to make sure that I was correct.  The guy wasn't very understanding and started berating me.  "Come on!  Five bucks!"  I insisted on breaking out the calculator just to be sure, and he walked away thinking that I was the dumbest person on Earth.  (This is why I endeavor not to lose my patience simply because a student doesn't understand something.)

Luckily, I no longer work a register.  The only other time this has ever come up is when in Vegas and my friends wanted to play craps.  They explained it to me, and I just didn't get it.  Well, I got it for a second, but I felt like I was trying to map the entire galaxy in my head while the game was going on, so I quickly gave up on it.  I've tried explaining it to people before, to which they respond, "It's easy.  All you have to do is (insert scratchy white noise sound here)."  Now, in a chicken/egg scenario, I must admit that I'm not really interested in gambling in the first place.  So, is it that I can't learn craps because I just don't care to learn it?  Or do I not care to learn it because I simply cannot learn it?  Who knows?  Who cares?  It costs money.

One other thing I absolutely cannot do is talk to somebody when I'm doing something that requires any concentration whatsoever.  In fact, it genuinely angers me when somebody insists on prattling on when it's obvious that I'm trying to figure it out.  My brain is stuck on my Internet cafe days, so the example that's popping up into my head is the first time I ever had to use the espresso machine.  This customer just kept babbling on to me, and even worse, asking me questions incessantly about trivial bullcrap.  If he had just shut up for a second, I would have been able to figure it out no problem, even though I had only had it demonstrated to me one time.  (And I should point out that I don't drink any kind of coffee-related beverage, so it was totally foreign to me.)  He even kept babbling on when I goofed and the espresso sprayed all over the place, burning my arm.  (Not too seriously, but still...can you just not shut up?  Man, just thinking about that guy makes me want to hunt him down and kidney-punch him!)

Lately, I've been having some problems when it comes to making decisions, and I wonder if this is all related.  If I get to a restaurant and there are lots of things on the menu (think of your average sushi restaurant with its billion roll combinations) I feel overwhelmed by the choices.  I feel as though I need to pour through the menu several times before I can make up my mind.  After all, what if I order something and then realize that there was something even better that I should have ordered?  Somehow I doubt this sort of obsession is healthy, and I'm going to make a concentrated effort to just order the first thing that sounds really good.  That's going to be tough for me.

None of these things affect me enough for me to get tested for any kind of disability.  I've managed to make it to 38 without any serious problems, minus a grouchy guy at the register or two.  Still, I gotta wonder why my brain no work so good.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

it doesn't seem like you have problems with the problems themselves but might be more of an indecision problem. as you explained with the craps = galaxy example. you knew the answer but have a hard time settling on one. so you scroll through a sushi menue not because you aren't hungry but because you can't decide what you want. you second guess yourself rather then making a decision you know is right because you might make the wrong one. not that you will make the wrong one, but you "think" you might, thus instead of giving him the change you knew he should get, you had to take the time to think the situation through because you "might" give him the wrong change. Intensifying a simple exchange which got worse as he got more impatient.