Welcome to my daily Meltdown, my countdown to the release of MELT! I’m sharing insider aspects of MELT good 😉
Today I address my fascination with shrinks.
Dorothy’s parents are both psychologists. I have always had a obsession with psychology. I love the idea of therapy, but it seems to go in an endless cycle. When does one become “cured?”
I thought it would be ironic if Dorothy’s parents were shrinks, and yet then became close-minded to the biy dating their daughter – judging him on appearance rather than wondering what was going on beneath. I think this touches a real problem in society Even people trained to help miss signs, and they let their personal interests interfere with their rationale. Perhaps there is no real rationale. Isn’t that a scary thought?
Here’s an excerpt, told in Dorothy’s voice, about when Joey meets her parents:
“I don’t know what to say to these two clinicians who until about a month ago were the parents I could say anything to.
Until Joey came over.
It started with his hands. Mom got weird immediately, when she shook his hand. That’s when her voice took on that soft, sing-song tone, like she uses on her patients. It was like she was trying to shrink Joey out, but even worse, because she wasn’t doing it to help him. No, she was gathering history like he was in a study. You know, one of those hopeless cases therapists deconstruct, picking them apart so they can help others avoid the same fate.
Then Dad came home, and he barely spoke to Joey. He just watched him.
It reminded me of the reptile room at the zoo. Like Joey was this creature, this lizard behind glass, and Dad was observing him from the other side.
There we were in the living room, separated by the black Art Deco coffee table topped with this week’s flower arrangement, lilacs. Their heady, too-sweet scent was everywhere. Mom sang questions and Dad observed from the stiff, mocha-colored leather couch while Joey sat sunken into the burgundy, overstuffed sofa across from them, hands tucked under the seat of his jeans, Nikes shuffling on the Persian rug. I sat next to Joey—cross-legged—getting more and more incensed by the change in my formerly liberal parents. Apparently an open mind closes real fast when your sixteen-year-old daughter’s involved.
In her soothing voice Mom asked how old he was (seventeen), did he plan to go to college (he did not), then what did he plan on doing with his life (he was studying auto mechanics at Boces). She asked what his father did (police officer), oh, my, how did he feel about his dad having such a dangerous job (he didn’t feel anything about it, it was just a job), what did his mother do (homemaker), where did they live (on the other side of town), did he have brothers and sisters (two brothers, sixteen and nine). And, of course, she asked what had happened to his hands (he sucked in some air at this one, let it out, and then said he’s had some trouble with people egging him into fights). He answered Mom’s questions and took in Dad’s scrutinizing stare without complaint while I seethed. What was next? Maybe Mom would request blood and urine samples. Finally I said Joey and I were going to hang out in my room, and you would’ve thought I’d said we were going to go screw or something the way they balked. For a second I thought they were going to say no—well, at least Mom, as Dad had apparently forgotten how to speak—and if that happened, that would’ve been it ….
But that didn’t happen, so I can’t say what I would’ve done or said.
Mom and Dad looked at each other, like they were having a wordless discussion, and then Mom sang-songed that it was fine. She said she’d call me for dinner. Then she asked if Joey would be staying, but her voice changed. The way she asked that, like the words were phlegm in her throat that she had to hack out, of course he declined the invitation.
So much for the sing-song.”
Bye for now.
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