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Friday, December 31, 2010

My New Year's Eve Tarantula

I looked at the ten or so patients strewn about the activities room. Different ages and shapes. Gowns. Sweats. Unkempt, though dignified. They each took three sheets of paper, as I had mutteringly directed. They each had a bunch of colored pencils-- I couldn't find the box of regular ones, and I was rushed-- feeling rushed. They looked at me expectantly. Again, it was time for me to run a group, and, again, I was unprepared.

This is how I roll.

Actually, I was slightly more prepared for this particular group than I usually am. See, while lying in bed the night before at approximately 3:40, unable to sleep, a spark came to me. I'd say it came to me in a dream, but you've got to be fucking asleep for things to come to you in a dream. So, it came to me in a dream-like state. It was so like a dream.

"Okay, so," I said, fudging for an enticing beginning, "New Year's is coming, and, if you think we're all going to sit around here and write out some bullshit resolutions that nobody in this room intends to keep, well, you're wrong." I was just about to say, "you're crazy," but you try not to say that sort of thing when you work in a mental hospital.

Instead of resolutions I had them write, on the top of their first page: "In 2011..." and then, underneath that, they wrote, "I hope".

After leaving some space, they wrote, "I will".

Then it was, "I want".

After that, we moved to, "I need".

We ended with, "I fear".

"Fear sounds negative," I said, "and we try our best to keep it light in here, but I'd be kidding you if I said that I didn't believe facing our fears was a good thing, a strong thing to do. Necessary, and frightening. Now, write."

And they did. In total peace and quiet. No disruptions. No outbursts. No chimpanzee imitations or sexually inappropriate remarks, no "Can we have the radio on?" or "Fuck this noise, yo." It's all about the mix of people you get in the room, and there's no way to control who sails into your group. You just roll with what you've got, cross your fingers, and hope that the fists don't fly.

Sometimes, when I'm running an art group or a creative writing group, I'll pitch in and sketch out something myself, but just as often, I don't. I sit, and sip my coffee, and walk around the room to make sure nobody's writing a psychotic, borderline missive to another patient, or to a staff member, I try to see if somebody's drawing me getting eyehole-fucked by a gigantic, radioactive tarantula.

You know, 'cuz it's all about me. And my gigantic, radioactive eyehole-fucking tarantula.

Well, since I didn't participate in this particular exercise with my patients, I guess it's my turn now. See you next year.

In 2011...


...that I will get better at my job. I am beginning to fall a little in love with it. My keys. My I. D. badge. My patients. My coworkers. The paperwork. The banter. The chairs in the chartroom. Seriously, I said the paperwork. The fruit in the cafeteria. The parking lot. The familiarity. Did I mention the patients? I never thought I would care so much about these people. And, because I do, I want to get better at what I do. I want to take continuing education classes and go to seminars-- not that anybody ever got better at their job by going to a seminar or taking a con. ed. class, but still-- I guess what I want is to just keep doing what I'm doing, so that I can do it better.


...continue blogging (jump for joy now, please).

...see my nephew more. a better husband.

...take more photographs. Jesus-- where has the last year of my life gone? better at maintaining the few friendships that I have.

...pee sitting down more often. It's just easier for everybody.

I WANT be a father. Oh, how I want that. How I want.

I NEED iron my fucking shirts more often. Oh, wait-- this was supposed to be about material possessions I need. Right. Um... I don't know.... more wrinkle-free shirts?


Oh, God. Every. Fucking. Thing. Especially that motherfucking tarantula in my eyehole.

Happy New Year, my loves.

1 comment:

  1. Happy New Year Mr Apron!
    I hope you and the Missus get what you want in the New Year!


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