Monday, February 18, 2013

My therapist stood me up. That's not a joke.

A scrambled portrait of your humble blogger. No,wait, I hate that word. Your humble bloggist.

It sounds like the setup for a joke in Woody Allen movie, but it actually happened to me this week. My therapist did not show up for our weekly appointment. Actually, the office she shares with another doctor was totally locked and empty when I got there. I stood out in the cold, knocking on the door for a few minutes, but to no avail. I have no idea what happened. Maybe she's ducking me. Who knows? I could have been the patient who finally drove her out of the therapist biz. But I kid my therapist. She's actually very nice -- a thin, spiky-haired woman of about 50 with a heavy Polish accent and the wardrobe of a bohemian art teacher. At our last session, she had dyed her hair blue to match her outfit. No kidding.

Anyway, since I live alone and have very little social life, my therapy sessions are pretty much my only opportunity each week to interact with another human being in person and speak as myself. Naturally, when speaking to coworkers or relatives, I have to be on my best behavior. It's very nice, then, to have an hour a week to say whatever I want and speak freely.

Well, guess what? Since I didn't get to have a therapy session this week, I'm going to treat this blog as if it were my therapist's office and you, dear reader, are going to be my therapist for the week. I'm going to say whatever comes into my head, and you're going to nod and say things like "Mm-hmm" and "Very interesting. Please go on."

Do you think you can handle that? Good! Let's get started.

We only have an hour here, so you're going to want to keep at least one eye on the clock at all times, the way a real therapist does.

I usually start out each session by saying how my week has gone. Well, citizens, it was sort of a rough one for me even though nothing much of note actually happened. Work has slowed down to a crawl lately, which puts a damper on my bank account. And naturally, now is the time when seemingly everything I own has to be repaired or replaced. So more money is going out than coming in currently. I think/hope/imagine/pray that the situation will be better in a few months, but it does sort of get depressing to look at my recent bank statements. I really ought to have a better-paying, more stable job. Even my immediate supervisor has said so. I've basically taken a temp job and managed to make it last ten years. I should probably aim a little higher.

But here's the thing about that: I hate business. I hate business people. And worst of all, I hate business people talking about business stuff. I can't even be around those people for long. I can barely survive an elevator ride with corporate-minded folks spouting all that business gibberish.

The great thing about my job is that, for the most part, it involves very little interaction with these people... or any people. I can just put on my headphones and listen to podcasts all day while doing my work, which is great. The pay is lousy, though, and it's sort of humiliating to be in such a menial, low-level job for a decade.

Why don't I try for something better? Well, for one, I'm not the least bit ambitious, at least not in that way. I've seen the people who get promoted at my company. Many have come through my department. But they're driven by a kind of hunger I just don't have. They hear about an opening for "regional associate managing project director" or some such thing, and they go after it like a dog devouring a T-bone steak. Meanwhile, I can't schmooze. I can't network. I can't self-promote. I just can't bring myself to do any of that stuff. I shudder just thinking about it.

So if the corporate thing isn't for me, why don't I quit my job and pursue my dreams? After all, it's not like I have a family to support or anything. But here's the sad truth: I don't have a dream. There's never been anything I've wanted to do as a career. Not one, even when I was a kid and too dumb to be disillusioned. I'm just a dabbler. I dabble. I've tried all sorts of creative pursuits, including this blog, and they're sort of fun and fulfilling. But I've never stumbled across anything I would describe as a passion. I have interests but no passions. Wow. That sounds just awful, but it's the truth.

Ultimately, that's what makes it really difficult to keep going. I have no goals. There's nothing I really want. And that's the essence of life, isn't it? Wanting stuff? The same goes for relationships. I've had maybe five dates in my entire life and never anything close to a girlfriend. But it's not like I've put a whole lot of effort into that arena. I have no dating skills, and I know from my few disastrous dates that I'm not boyfriend material. I don't think I'd really want a girlfriend, and the idea of being married or having kids scares the life out of me.

So what do I do then? Work a crummy, low-paying job and live alone for a few more decades until I finally die? Yikes. That doesn't sound too appealing. That's the upshot of all this: I'm kind of out of options. I've seen and done as much as I want to do, and there's still so much time left. How am I going to fill it?

Well, well! Speaking of time, it looks like ours is just about up. This has been a great session, doc. I really got to express some stuff that's been on my mind lately. Thanks for listening. Same time next week? Super.

ADDENDUM: I feel I should add a little tag to this article for anyone who reads it and thinks it is too dark or depressing. What you have to understand is that I use my therapy sessions to vent all the negativity that builds up in me over the course of the typical week. Once I've said all this terrible stuff, I usually feel much better. As odd as this might sound, I would liken it to an exorcism. The therapist is the Max Von Sydow to my Linda Blair. This week, I'm asking you to be my Max Von Sydow. Thanks.


  1. Next great American novel?
    Creating a much more interesting version of Sudoku?

    I believe you can find plenty to fill in those days with joy. I mean, getting through a MIll Creek Pack alone offers YEARS of quote unquote entertainment!

  2. Hey, Em.

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    Funny you should mention Sudoku. I seem to be the only person I know with a passionate dislike for Sudoku. I've actually gotten into arguments about it. Maybe someday, I'll write "Sudoku: The Case Against," but I worry about retaliation from the pro-Sudoku people of the world.

    As for Mill Creek, I have at least two more sets that I promised myself I'd get through: "Drive-In Cult Classics" and a box of 100 old-timey comedies. I'd like to approach the "comedy" box set as an experiment to see which ones are still "funny" by today's standards and why. I should probably finish the "Drive-In" one first. But standing in my way is a movie called Malibu Beach which I hated so much I had to turn it off after 20 minutes. That set also contains Blue Money -- a film I've really detested when it's appeared in OTHER sets -- and there's no way I'm sitting through it again. But, still, I may have to revive that project if only to get the chance to write about Pink Angels. Damn, that's a weird film.

    The great American novel, eh? I don't know if I have it in me. I've learned from this blog (and other online pursuits) that it's extremely difficult to get people to read, watch, or listen to anything. I've practically had to beg people to read the stories I've posted here. And I can sympathize. I mean, there are more entertainment options than ever before. But speaking of that, please please listen to the 200th episode of Mail Order Zombie if you haven't already. The bit that I recorded for that one is probably the best one I've done... or it's my favorite, anyway.

    Who knows? Maybe someday, I'll find my passion and discover what it is I'm good at. I've not found it yet, but I have to keep looking.

    P.S. - Have you ever heard of 3900 Greenmount Avenue in Baltimore? It was where John Waters lived when he was making Pink Flamingos, and it served as the home of Connie and Raymond Marble in the film. Just out of curiosity, I looked up that address on Google not long ago and found out that the house had been on the market just a couple of years ago. And not only that, the mortgage payments were less than what I'm currently paying in rent. Had I know that at the time, I would have moved to Baltimore, bought the house, and done everything I could to make it look the way it does in the movie. If I could have lived in the Pink Flamingos house, I would have never asked for anything else in this life and would have been content to spend my remaining decades there. That's how little it would take to make my life worthwhile or meaningful. I missed my chance on 3900 Greenmount, but I hope to be ready the next time something like that comes around.