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For the second time in two weeks, Marlene is late for her 5:00 session. This time I've closed the blinds myself so she won't have to waste any part of her dwindling hour doing it. "I won't have dusk staring at me,"she always says.
At 5:17, she dashes in, breathless, and rushes to the windows. Confusion plays upon her flushed face. A question mark hovers four inches above her blondness, slightly blowing stray strands from her coif like dandelion spores.
"Sorry I'm late,"she says, panting. "It's because of K! It's all K's fault! Goddamned K!-
to be continued
During his sixth session, Ben tells me he doesn't understand why women never come back after their first visit to his apartment.
"I just don't get it,"he says. "The place is always clean. You'll never see socks on the floor or underwear hanging from doorknobs. I offer drinks in respectable glasses and snacks quite a few steps up the food chain from a bowl of nuts. I even have nice towels in the bathroom. And I'm always a gentleman.-
When I suggest it may be his "artwork-, Ben's face darkens.
"What are you saying?"he asks.
to be continued
Frank and his wife are expecting their first child in May. So now his twice-weekly sessions, rather than revolving around a series of bland neuroses occasionally peppered with the revelation of something I want to deem "borderline-, center on baby names.
"Mandy wants to name her Emily, Rose, or Sarah,"he said last Tuesday. "Those are OK names, I guess ... for an old lady." The week before, the names were different but the sentiment the same.
On Thursday, he lifted his can of Sprite in a one-sided toast and said, almost breathless, "Her name will be Mister.-
to be continued
We're on a "sunset cruise"that couldn't be less romantic if it tried, and I'm drinking champagne to force romance and encourage festivity. Glasses 1 and 2 are ineffective. Glasses 3 through whatever do the trick.
Five hours later, I awaken. He's watching "Pulp Fiction-. I feel bad for not taking advantage of my drunkenness, so when the movie's over, I divert him from sleep.
Next day, he commends my energy. "I thought you were out for the night ... but you got your second wind!-
I blacked out and have no memory of the first round. How romantic. How festive.
Joyce tells me that in email, Alan, her "whatever he is ... boyfriend? I don't fucking know"capitalizes "hotel"even when referring to a generic place. "He capitalizes Ãƒâ€šÃ¢â‚¬Ëœinternet', too.-
"But he never capitalizes my name!"she says. "What do you think that means?-
Alan places more importance on inanimate objects than on you,
I want to say.
Have him tailed to see if he's secretly fucking the Hyatt or having clandestine lunches with the worldwide web.
But I can't. I am supposed to be the sane one here. After all, I am her therapist. So I nod and "hmmm"appropriately.
Today I learned that someone I used to blow is getting married. This news blows.
It's not that I want to marry him (anymore). It's not that I'm into him (anymore). Indeed, the last time I blew him, over two years ago, I told him there'd be no next time. And meant it.
So now, his dick is off limits. Or should be. But still, now, I'd blow him. And just before The Moment of Truth, I'd pull his dick out of my mouth, stand up, and say, in retreat, "You could've married ME, motherfucker. But you blew it.-
continued from 1 March
This is typical Marlene, so I don't give her outburst a second thought. One of her "issues"is her refusal to take blame for any wrongdoing. Another is her insistence that everyone's out to get her.
I don't take too kindly to her pointing the finger at"K-, since, to date, she's pointed it at all the other letters preceding it.
"You do realize that K, like A through J before it, is just a letter of the alphabet,"I say.
"Of course,"she says, sneering. "What are you ... crazy? I know that. What's your point?-
continued from 2 March
"Have you ever considered that some people - especially women with whom you wish to have romantic encounters - might not appreciate your Deathbed series?-
"That's preposterous! That series is some of my finest work!"he says, his brow furrowed. He almost ejects himself from the chair.
"I'm not saying it isn't,"I say. "But the average person isn't going to Ãƒâ€šÃ¢â‚¬Ëœget' why someone would cut out large swatches from his relatives's deathbed sheets, then hang them, unwashed, in elaborate frames in his foyer.-
"Well, then, I'll just have to start dating above-average women, won't I!"he says.
Tara's been doing it so long she has perfected it. There's an art to it, really. An art to appearing asleep when you're awake. And not just awake but maddeningly so. The sort of awake that comes from a hyper-awareness which makes you think you can see every pore in other people's skin and the atoms that make up each crystal of sugar clinging to your coffee cup's rim. Today, the day she tells Richard she's leaving him, she's so in tune that she swears she can feel each hair on her head methodically pushing its way through her scalp.
Two colleagues and I are lunching at Rue 57. While waiting for the server to bring drinks, we discuss everything except work. Fortunately none of us has said, "I'm losing patience with my patients,"but I can tell Samperstein wants to, and I can tell Castelli can tell.
Castelli raises his eyebrow at me. Samperstein stops mid-sentence.
"What's with the eyebrow?"he says. "I didn't even say it.-
"But you were thinking about it,"Castelli says.
"OK, so I won't say it, then,"Samperstein says. "But this means I get to ask the waitress, Ãƒâ€šÃ¢â‚¬ËœIs the calamari grilled or Freud?'-
None of us is seeing patients after 3:00, so meet at Rain for lunch. It's the first time we've gotten together in months, and the first time any of us has been out of the office before 6:00 since who knows when.
Our noodles arrive. My cell-phone rings. After listening to my hysterical patient for 30 seconds, I lose my appetite.
I curse the doctor-patient privilege. I don't want to spoil anyone else's appetite, but man, this one's a doozy! How am I supposed to eat when Shelley just told me she finally ate her own shit?
to be continued
continued from 11 March
My friends can hear Shelley whoopin' it up even though the phone is pressed to my ear. They roll their eyes and shoot me twisted smiles.
"Guess you can't say what that's all about,"June says after I'm off.
"Trust me, you don't want to know,"I say.
This is what Shelley shared: "I'm through with Derrick's shit. I got no time for MINE! You think that by eatin' my own, I'm sayin', Ãƒâ€šÃ¢â‚¬ËœHey, it's time for me to deal with MY shit'?-
I want to tell her to eat shit and die. Alas, I can't.
Congratulations on finding the macro setting on your cameras. Until you posted your photos on your photoblogs, I never knew how beautiful a keyboard, a blade of grass, a flower, a hairbrush, a link in a chain, an anonymous old woman's hands on the bus, or a spoon could be.
Kudos, too, on achieving such brilliant blurriness. I confess that at first I thought the effect was fantastically annoying, but now I see (blurrily, LOL!) that you WANT your photos to look bad.
P.S. LOVE the "self-portrait"that's a shot of just your toes.
Regan flies into my office, a jangle of keys, crushed Coke can, and bicycle chain. She wears the usual dirty white soccer shoes with scuffed cleats that, in the eight months she's been my patient, she hasn't explained and which she hides beneath the edge of the rug when I do so much as glance at them. My office is six miles from any sort of recreational facility, and Regan, carless, lives a mile away.
She smiles and drops her jaw to reveal the usual: a penny, a nickel, a dime, a quarter, and a Kennedy half-dollar.
to be continued
continued from 14 March
"You gonna give up your Susan B. yet?"Regan says through her coin-filled mouth, nodding her head toward the polished coin that I keep in a sealed clear plastic box near my telephone.
"Only if you take off the cleats,"I say. "You know that.-
She shuts her mouth, stares at me without blinking, and swallows hard. She spits the half-dollar onto my desk and opens her mouth wide to show nothing else is there.
Big deal. Last week, only the dime remained.
For the rest of the hour she flips through a Pottery Barn catalogue.
Belinda's walking down the street with pep in her step! Every rejoicing roll of her flap-happy foot on the sunny sidewalk produces a crystal-clear "pong"of xylophonic music that's, OK, maybe only inside her head, but still, she can sing it aloud to share it with the whole wide world! Her blue eyes turn to the sky as if to say, "Hello! We were made from you!-
But why's she so peppy happy?
Ãƒâ€šÃ¢â‚¬ËœCause she's a dimwit!
She just called Customer Service at Old Navy and learned out she has $46 dollars available on her card! Hello, new board shorts!
Mark hated the girl seated across from him on the subway. She and her jeans of perfect fit and teeth of perfect whiteness. High-heeled shoes, backs unscuffed, heels intact. Logo handbag "just so-. Not a blond hair out of place, except for one lock she'd arranged to fall across her glass-smooth forehead. Hate!
Until he saw her fingernails. Perfect length, yes, extending only as far as her fingertips. But when she stood just before her stop and wrapped her hand around the pole, he saw the red polish on two of its fingers was chipped.
Now? Mark was in love.
Some days I'm in a horribly good mood. So good that my smile makes Julia Roberts's trademark grin look like a sourpuss frown on the face of a crotchety old crone who just learned that Duane Reade is out of epsom salt. The smile takes up residence on my face all day and has an easy time staying.
Then I question my happiness. Why am I so damned happy? Where did this come from? What happened that made this possible? Most times I ignore my questions, though, and continue smiling. I don't want to be suspicious of my own happiness.
"You know, Doc, here's how I see it: Once you've had your fingers and tongue up a guy's ass, he should kinda be to talk about this stuff pretty freely, right?-
I know what Rona means, but I want her to go on anyway, so I feign ignorance.
"Last time I saw him, I did this stuff. And I was totally cool with it. I liked it. And him? He loved it! So why's he gotta go and act all SHY now?-
I don't have an answer. After all, I've been wondering the same thing about my own special fella!
His thoughts of me are disrupting his days and nights, he says. I'm flattered, but I don't tell him. I merely ask if he means that the thoughts are distractions.
No, he says. More than distractions. He can't stop thinking about my various talents. The things I do to his body are driving him out of his mind.
I want to tell him I love knowing that while his body presents itself in front of a judge, he's thinking about the last time he presented it to me. But I don't. I pretend his admission doesn't distract me at all.
I don't hate kids. I really don't. Just because I don't want any of my own doesn't mean I don't like Ãƒâ€šÃ¢â‚¬Ëœem. Most kids aren't too bad, in fact. However, kids - specifically, toddlers -- have to stop doing the following things, if they're ever going to endear themselves to me as a group and make me think they're completely adorable instead of just intermittently and selectively so:
* Chase pigeons, seagulls, and/or squirrels
* Fake cry
* Play with their bellybuttons
* Ask "adorable"questions that would have Bill Cosby make googly pudding pop faces
* Smoke cigarettes in restaurants
* Outdance me in dance marathons
When I was 12, I dreamed I made out with Fonzie - not Henry Winkler -- in a dressing room. Fonzie in his trademark leather jacket, me in my typical poodle skirt, tight "pinup girl"button-front sweater, neckerchief, and saddle shoes. Me on his lap. Kissing's all we did, which was more than I'd ever done with a real life boy. I woke up wanting more than kisses, though ... and loving Fonzie.
These days I dream I'm doing much more with guys with faces I've literally dreamed up. And when I wake up, I love them more than I ever loved Fonzie!
"I cannot get undressed in front of my dog,"Carla says. She pauses, takes a dainty sip from the bottle of Evian perched on her lap, and wipes her mouth with the back of her hand. "The way he sits at the foot my bed when I get ready for work ... it's unnerving. I lay my clothes out like a flattened version of myself. He looks up at the real me, then at the clothes, and back at me, as if to say, Ãƒâ€šÃ¢â‚¬ËœC'mon, bitch, strip already. Let me see what you've got.' Frankly, I find his approach quite rude.-
Things I did today that I could've lived without:
* Peeling/biting off my already-chipped nail polish
* Asking the obviously pregnant woman on the elevator if she was pregnant and acting like I thought it was neato
* Ordering the vegetables sauteed instead of steamed and eating them even after I realized on the first bite that they were prepared in butter
* Sending a certain someone email saying I was thinking about him
* Telling Johnny Depp I couldn't meet him for drinks (I was unmanicured and felt as big as the pregnant woman I met on the elevator thanks to all the butter)
Claire Shore was born a few weeks ago, but already she has the best dad ever. He's going to be the dad on whom all the girls in her class have a crush. He'll drive them to and from soccer games and school dances, and they'll all crowd into the back seat and whisper about how "cute" he is. They'll fight over who'll sit in front, pretending they don't want to, but the one who "loses" will be secretly thrilled even though she knows she'll have to endure the taunts of being called "Mrs. Shore"the next day in school.
I'm at lunch with this guy - a pretty good-looking blond - and he's telling me about all these women at the gym whom he thinks are hot. I don't think he uses the word "hot-, but it's implied, so he may as well say it.
It turned out, though, that one of the women he had his eye on had varicose veins on her legs, so that meant she was "out-.
I want to say to him, "Oh, OK. So do you think nobody's noticed that one of your top teeth, on the side, is either very tiny or entirely missing?-
Doris, my oldest patient, says that "way back when-, she would insert an entire roll of quarters inside her "cootch"before going out with her future husband, Clyde.
"I think I hooked him the day he forgot his wallet. I was able to pay for our coffee and pie at the diner with a few of the coins I'd secretly stashed. I'd wanted to impress him later that night by acting as his personal coin dispenser, but I think I impressed him more by offering to pick up the tab!-
I insist that she pay for her sessions by check.
Dear C (at least I think that's your first initial):
I know this is coming years after the fact, but still, I think you should know. That thing you did the one night I stayed overnight at your place? The one where you jizzed all over my torso and then waited for the "stuff"to start to dry up into little balls? And then slid up my body, lapping at the dried-up little jizz jangles and saying, "Mmmm-? That? That was really disgusting. If that was your way of making sure I never forgot you, it sure worked. Slob.
Hello! Are you still waiting for me to continue the entry that I started on 3 March?
Wait. What's that? You don't remember that far back? Oh, OK. I see. Right.
Well, aren't you compelled to go back to 3 March right now, this very instant, before you read one more word in this entry?
Sure you are! You know you are.
Well, go, then. I'll wait.
(Dum dee doo. Doo dee dum ...)
Hello again! What's that you say? NO. I'm not. I'm not going to continue that entry. You'll never find out why they named their daughter "Mister-.
I'm waiting to cross Riverside Drive. A car carrying two youngish guys approaches from my right. The driver looks left to ensure a safe right onto the Drive, sees me, makes the "Oooooh!"face, says "Woooww!-, and smiles big-time. It just so happens that during this three-second space in time, I'm bringing my water bottle to my mouth and am about to suck on the "sport cap-. Just as he says "Woooww!-, I stare directly into his eyes and lightly lick the cap. I swear he almost swerves. And I know he wishes he hadn't had to make that turn.
Peppy Lickerstick can't stand her name. She doesn't care that she comes from a long line of fine, upstanding Lickersticks, and that with a name like Peppy, she'll never be confused with anyone else. Or that she's one of only a few Lickersticks left and that there's nobody to carry on the name. She hates it, and that's all there is to it. So when she meets Chapper Snickersnock, she marries him immediately even though she's not entirely sure she's in love! Anything to be rid of the horrible "Lickerstick-! She's still "Peppy-, though, but that she can live with.
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