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Friday, December 14, 2012


"Well, do you have any time off?" said the therapist to his nail-bitten patient, who looked crumpled and harried in the thinly-padded black Ikea chair before him.

"Um, yes.  I suppose-- I think I do.  I do," muttered the $50 co-pay in corduroys.

"Then take it," replied the therapist, who isn't always so direct.

"Oh," the patient replied, tracing the top of his worn and scratched travel coffee tumbler, "okay".


Monday, the nanny came, and I left.  I was bewildered and stupid, like I was feeling up a girl for the first time and her bra was a combination of barbed wire and a Rubik's Cube.  I wandered out of my house and got behind the wheel of the CR-V.  I turned around and looked in the back and saw only two gigantic, empty car seats.

No babies.  I don't have to drive cautiously.  So I threw the column shifter down three notches and floored it.  As it's a CR-V and it drives like an old mail truck, not much happened, but it was still exciting to me.  I got its oil changed.  My old Israeli mechanic made fun of me.  I didn't care, because it was my week off.  Also, I was there for an hour-and-a-half, while he stopped changing my oil to answer the phone (six times) and to make coffee and to bullshit with random people dropping off keys and cars and was generally absent-minded, or maybe just ambivalent.  He also took time out to scream at some dissatisfied customer whose car was returned to him two days earlier, and died again.


Then there were some Hebrew epithets that I vaguely remembered my father shouting at slow-moving motorists when I was a boy.

After the oil change, I went to some hipster trendy emo annoying cafe to meet a friend of mine for coffee.  She's a flutist and she has a tattoo (I mean, I only know of one) and earrings made of petrified Alaskan something tusk.  Wolf ribs.  I don't know.  I have no business being friends with somebody this cool, but life's funny that way sometimes.  The flat-chested, nose-ringed crunchy Vermont-wannabee barista got me coffee in my worn and scratched coffee tumbler and it cost me $2.00.  My flutist friend got a for-here mug with endless refills and it cost her $3.00.  She insists she got the better deal.  I said you should be rewarded for bringing your own mug.  We talked about our various and sundry neuroses.  She can't go into a mainstream, big-chain supermarket with its floor-to-ceiling shelves and fluorescent lights without having a panic attack.  I hate myself.  So, it was like that.  She gets her packages delivered to the cafe.  I had half a bagel.  She took the other half home.  I thought that was funny-- it's something that someone who lived through the Depression would do.


The library was my next stop.  Time to renew my card.  It expired four years ago.

"There's a six dollar and fifty-cent fine, too," the librarian said, "would you like to pay that now?"

Of course, I thought to myself, then I'll gleefully slit my wrists with my newly-renewed library card.  I smiled at her.  My smile is solely meant to creep people out.

Off to the computers downstairs to search for a job.  Soul-deadening-- worse than making a sandwich for tomorrow's lunch-- sifting through the meaningless job descriptions the 4-6 years of experience necessary, the ambiguous non-profit titles that mean absolutely nothing: program manager, program specialist, program assistant, associate program specialist, program coordinator-- they all mean the same thing: you sit on your ass in some rented office, answer phones, write emails and newsletter articles, copy shit and blog and silently wish you and everybody you know would die emphatically and expeditiously.

I applied for three jobs Monday.  God, I hope I get it.  How many boys, how many girls.

Tuesday and Wednesday I was with the babies.  I really like being a father, but I don't really know what it means yet.  I have twins, and they have me.  That's about all I know.  And I make dumb voices and faces a lot, and it seems to do the trick.  They like the nanny better than me, though.  I always knew they would, even before we had a nanny.  Or kids.

Thursday I had the day to myself again, and it was largely a repeat of Monday, only without coffee-with-incongruous friend.  I got my eyes examined.  Got lenses installed into an amazing pair of antique glasses that I got in a dramatically-sniped eBay auction.  No, they're not Warby fucking Parker, they're REAL.  And I love them.  My prescription changed, and I'm still adjusting.  It feels like I'm looking at the world through an astronaut's helmet.

At therapy yesterday, I thought my therapist would congratulate me for taking his advice to skip this week of work, but he didn't, and I was pissed.  It was really hard for me to do, I had to challenge feelings of guilt and obsessiveness and love of routine and a feeling that I don't deserve to do anything nice for myself.  Instead, we talked about me going on anti-depressants because I made the mistake of saying "I don't enjoy anything" and "I don't really want to do anything-- I don't want to stay home, I don't want to call people and I don't want to go out and I don't want to go to work".

Whoops.  Guess that must have sounded off an alarm bell or two in his well-coiffed head.  Thing is: I've always been this way, and I don't know who I'd be if I wasn't, and maybe meds will make me feel better and maybe I don't wanna feel better.  Maybe I'm a big baby.


I don't know what I want to do for a job, and I don't know what I want to do when I'm not at my job.  And isn't my life terrible and hard!?  Aren't I just having such a rough time of it!?  Don't you just want run up and give me a big squelch and tell me it's all gonna be okay?  Give my hair a tussle?

Validate me.

Vindicate me.

Valorize me.

Save me.

The fact of the matter is that, a week away from an inpatient crisis psychiatric hospital is no small thing, whether you're taking the babies for a walk or getting new eyeglass lenses in an old frame. I think too much about things-- did you know that?   But it's Friday now and I return to work tomorrow morning for it to all begin again and anew.  I'm already fretting about who's been admitted, who's been discharged, what groups I'm supposed to run, how will it all ever be okay again and how did my babies get to be one year old?


I guess I should have written about that instead of this.  There's that judging mind that I can't seem to turn off.


"You know, a lot of people say that medication helps with that," the therapist said to the $50 co-pay.  He stared at him and crossed his legs tightly.

"Do they?"

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