The Brooklyn BrainLady

teaching & learning, in a fancy dress

In my post The Force is Strong in This One, I explained there are two sides to my AD/HD superpowers. Both sides were on full display in the past 24 hours:  I lost my keys, then I used The Force to retrieve them. Let’s set the scene:

Beautifully sunny day. Busy sidewalk in Downtown Brooklyn. Ventilation shaft in sidewalk covered by 5’x5’ metal grate. Beth’s keys at the bottom of shaft, about 20-30 feet underground. The key to my safe is down there, and I have no spare.

Having no interest in spending the time and money involved in getting professionals to help me solve this problem, I took matters into my own hands:

How to Retrieve Keys from a Deep Hole

Part One

  1. Rummage through home collecting magnets, string, various adhesives and sets of keys.
  2. Make a dummy set of keys that approximately match the weight and materials of actual keys.
  3. Test magnets in home until one is strong enough to lift the keys. Attach string.
  4. Stand on table and attempt to catch keys on magnet from above. Repeat. Stay on table and indulge cat in new game.
  5. Realize magnet will not fit through openings in grate. Text science teacher friends. Ask to borrow smaller strong magnets.
  6. Go to bed.

Problem-Solving Time: 30 minutes


Game Face

Part Two

  1. Get dressed. Look extra professional. When doing something crazy, you should present as sane.
  2. Bike to former employer. Pick up fabulous selection of magnets from enthusiastic former colleagues who offer words of encouragement.
  3. Put on game face. [see right]
  4. Rope friend into meeting you on random street corner at lunch, preferably one who thinks “this is more fun than geocaching.”
  5. Stare into hole. Locate magenta carabiner on keys. Get excited that this might work.
  6. Attach magnet to twine with voodoo adhesive you bought to make Christmas cards. Listen to friend who suggests reinforcement with tape.
  7. Lay on ground. Take deep breaths because you are afraid of heights. Pretend you’re playing the crane game at the arcade.
  8. Lower magnet through grate slowly. Assess trajectory. Repeat until greatest potential accuracy is reached.
  9. Lower, lower, lower. Allow patient friend to field questions like, “What are you girls up to?” and “Isn’t this like the episode of Peppa Pig when her father loses his keys?” and “What kind of magnet is that?” (C’MON.)
  10. Make contact with keys. Squeal. Tell each other to calm down and focus.
  11. Jiggle to ensure maximum surface area contact.
  12. Slowly begin to raise keys. Mutter, “Holy s—. This is working.”
  13. Get keys almost to grate. Have small moment of panic. Devise on-the-fly strategy for getting keys through the grate without dropping them again.
  14. Use extra magnets to hold keys in place while you coach each other with statements like, “OKAY. You grab the carabiner. I’ve got the rings.”
  15. Pull keys and magnet through grate.
  17. Jump up and down, hug, scream, “Oh my God! We did it!!!” while a stranger claps and regret not filming the moment.

Total Problem-Solving Time: 15 minutes

I kid you not. Fifteen minutes, folks. Who says people with AD/HD are bad at planning?


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