East Coast

Well, now that I’ve been in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia for a week, I figure I should update the blog with my experiences so far.

Strangely, the most productive I’ve been to date was a set of two eight-hour stints in a quiet side room at my father’s office in Sussex. Today, however, I am in a bustling food court in the Halifax Shopping Center. Oh my…

So the big question with this whole ‘work from anywhere’ project is whether or not I can be productive even when the office is a massive set of distractions. Admittedly, today is a strong test.

It’s interesting, really – as someone who has spent their entire life struggling to overcome attention deficit disorder, the idea of trying to get work done in an environment full of shiny distractions seems like a plan destined to fail. Still, I’m pretty sure that with a bit of self-discipline, combined with careful self-medication with coffee and prescription ADD drugs, that I might just be able to pull this off.

On the prescription drugs tip – just as a back story, as a young child I was lucky enough to have a mother who was an elementary school vice principal, studying for her masters in education. She attended a lot of educator conferences, and at one in particular the speaker spent a half-hour describing an interaction between a mother and her son – it went a bit like this:

“…so the mother and son went to visit the grandparents. Now, the son is hyperactive and can’t seem to sit still for more than a few seconds, and is constantly distracted by new ‘projects’, which drives his grandfather absolutely nuts. The kid knows this, and knows that every time they interact he makes the grandfather angry, so he’s trying to be on his best behavior.

“So they’re at the grandparents place for a few hours, and there hasn’t been a peep from the kid. It’s been snowing, and when the mother goes to leave, there’s the kid, and he’s shoveled pretty much the entire front walk. He’s beaming, he’s done a good job, and even the grandfather gruffly says he’s done well. The mother and son pack up and go home.

“About an hour after they get home, there’s a phonecall – it’s the grandmother. She says that the grandfather isn’t angry, but that he’d just like to know where the son left the screwdriver.

“The story expands a little bit from there. Apparently the son wanted to surprise the grandfather with something nice, so he went to shovel the walk. The door to the shed with the shovel was padlocked however, and if he’d asked for the key he’d spoil the surprise, so he tracked down a screwdriver, taken the hinges off the shed door, put them aside, gotten the shovel, and done the walk. In the process, the screwdriver was set down somewhere. They never did find the screwdriver.”

Well, after this story, apparently my mother stood up in the seminar and shouted THATS! MY! SON!

Anyway, I was about eight or nine at the time, and they shunted me around to various child psychologists and ADHD specialists (which were very rare, they had only just ‘discovered’ it), and finally I was diagnosed and prescribed Ritalin. Suddenly I was able to focus and my grades went from mid-60’s to mid-90’s!

Say what you will, but I know for a fact that I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for my mother being conscientious and willing to try an experiment. I count Ritalin/Dexedrine as being critical in my education, and I would likely be either in a trailer park or in jail if I hadn’t had that extra benefit.

The downside of ritalin/dexedrine is that they’re amphetamines, and for every up there is an equal and opposite down. The “crash” makes it difficult to focus, makes me crabby, and takes away most of my will to do anything but sit on the couch. Worse, if I take it too many days in a row, I start to lose the ability to feel emotions – I turn slowly but surely into a robot. This is the really insidious part – I see so many kids being prescribed dosages of Ritalin that must be just slamming their brains. I knew an eleven-year-old who was prescribed fully four times my dosage! Admittedly he was really, really, really hyperactive, but still…

Man. Did you know that Halifax mall cops wear bulletproof vests? Honestly, who thinks that’s a good idea? When was the last time there was a shooting at the Halifax Shopping Center? Google says never.

Anyway – it would seem that instead of actual “work”, I’m doing blog posts. Today I have to research alternative DNS hosting – I’m partial to EasyDNS, but the Evil Masters seem to want to go with UltraDNS. I don’t think they realize that UltraDNS has per-query billing, which will mean huge bills with our round-robin “load balancing” system.