Standing On A Chair

Telling it like I see it…

Rants from the Chair: On What Happens When You Marry Your Shrink – Part 3: The Marathon

We arrived late at the house that sat at the bottom of a hill in Glendale.  Everyone was in the pool, with Andrew perched on his butt at the end of the high diving board, a martini in one hand and a cigarette in the other.  He waved to us and then continued to survey the group in the pool from his lofty position.  He leaned down to talk to a young black woman who looked up at him from under his dangling feet, crossed at the ankles.  He took great gulps from his long-stemmed glass, and flicked his cigarette ashes into the wind.

Marcus and I flashed friendly smiles as people left the pool and filed past us, looking us up and down, a few nodding and others just plain ignoring us.  The young black girl I’d seen talking with Andrew stopped and stared.  “Time to start cooking dinner,” she told us with haughty authority, as if she’s been to about a hundred of these marathon weekends, and knows the agenda, by God!

While Marcus went out to the car to get our sleeping bags, food and personal stuff, I sort of stood off to the side.  Too many people were in the small kitchen, all still in wet bathing suits.  In an oddly ordered chaos, I watched as they threw things together into frying pans, slid chickens into the oven for roasting, mixed salads, prepared casseroles and poured drinks. 

While we ate nobody said a word.  All you could hear were loud slurping and chomping noises, stainless steel clinking against ceramic plates, and an occasional appreciative “mmmmm.”  When everyone was stuffed, they leaned back in their chairs, lit cigarettes, belched and picked their teeth.

“No one is to stifle anything,” ordered Andrew.  “Farts, burps, sneezes.  Release, purge, let everything go.” 

With that, as if on cue, came a symphony of loud bodily emissions, followed by raucous laughter. Even Andrew laughed, and finally I began to relax.  So did Marcus.  We smiled at each other as if to say whew, these people are actually human so we might survive this after all.

“Tonight we socialize,” continued Andrew.  “Tomorrow morning before the sun comes up, we will get to work.  Hard work.  You are encouraged to say exactly what is on your minds, let politeness and convention cease to exist.”

Marcus and I exchanged looks again.  Maybe we were a bit premature in thinking this whole thing would be do-able.

It was now time for each of us to say something about ourselves to the group, still sitting around the large rectangular table littered with the remnants of a huge dinner.  A bottle of Courvoisier was passed from person to person and we all poured hefty amounts into our liqueur glasses.

“I’m Dr. Cornelius Johns,” said the middle-aged black man, who grinned in such a way you were sure it wasn’t about anything funny.  “I’ve been Andrew’s patient for eight years, and I’m no less pissed off about all the fucking phoniness running rampant in our fucked up society.”

“I’m Lee Greenberg,” said a white male of indistinguishable age, with a head full of snarled, black curls that poked out in all directions.  His thick beard covered most of his face.  “I am a grad student at UCLA.  I’ve been seeing Andrew for about a year now.  Uh…I have a problem with people.  I kind of hate them.”

“Stan Silver here, and this is my wife Wilma,” said the slender, thirty-something man with a bald head.  “Well, I mean my ex-wife Wilma. I am a dentist  in Century City, and Wilma, uh…”

The pretty brunette sitting next to Stan said, “I’m Wilma.  Stan and I have been Andrew’s patients for about three years.”  She looked anxiously toward Stan, and said, “Andrew has taken us through our marriage and our divorce.  Neither one of us wants to give up therapy, so we hope we can do this marathon without killing each other.”

“I’m (sniffle) Deborah,” said the butch lesbian in between sobs.  “I can’t (gasp) seem to stop crying I’m so horribly depressed all the time. Andrew has been helping me for four years,” she wailed.  Andrew, who sat next to her, placed a reassuring hand on her arm.

“Well I am Effie, and I want to know who the fuck stoke my Valium!” said the previously mentioned young and authoritative black woman. 

“Nobody stole your Valium, Effie,” said Andrew.  I took it out of your purse and hid it from you because I don’t want you taking it during the marathon.”

“My name is Charley,” said the pretty blond boy who looked to be about eighteen.  “I’m having a problem with my gender.  I’m a girl trapped in a man’s body.  Andrew is helping me decide what to do…”

“For the love of God, he’s going to have his dick cut off!” shouted Dr. Cornelius Johns.  Then he looked directly at Marcus and me and said, “I want to know something about the two of you, the Southern California Golden Couple.”

“Fucking Mr. and Mrs. Privilege,” spat Effie.

“Privilege my ass!” I heard myself say.  “I’m a middle class girl.”

“Well try coming from East Los Angeles!”

And this was our night to be social?

Marcus and I were starting to see what we were in for.

Stay Tuned for Part 4: The Marathon continued…


July 12, 2011 - Posted by | Psychotherapy | ,

1 Comment »

  1. You’re a better person than I am, Jill, I would have got the hell out of there after dinner! Of course this is coming from the person that married a lawyer because he convinced me I needed someone to take care of me, which is a whole other story.

    Comment by Linda Wines Stokes | July 12, 2011 | Reply

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