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Monday, April 14, 2003

Therapy in measures

It has something to do with making the light more subtle. If I can find a way to mute or otherwise maim the overhead lights, it soothes the exposed nerve endings. I'm functioning by lamplight at table level. It's casting my shadow on the wall. Jorma is singing and picking. Thanks, Jorma. Embryonic Journey or casual blue picking, either will do.

I remember a time when it took much more to put me in a good place. Sometimes it was impossible.

In the days before Internet chatrooms as we now know them, I became infatuated with a young woman named Lina Vitkauskas. Her name was Latvian, but she was a Chicago suburb fireball. I only knew her through her writing on a Prodigy message board, a few pictures and screenplays she sent me, and a few phone calls stolen at moments when my then-girlfriend wouldn't be around.

One of the phone calls came at an inopportune moment. Mom and Dad had just sat down to watch my uncle's gall bladder surgery video. Then-girlfriend, Amy, had just shown up at the house. Lina (that's Lynn-ah) called as Dad was pressing play. Rather than question why my parents wanted to watch my uncle's insides or fear Amy might discover who I was talking to, I hid in my parents' closet and took the call.

It's a long story, but it ended with Amy screaming about my uncle's guts. The relationship pretty much went the way of the gall bladder after that. Amy had caught me with another girl a few months before and I was on thin ice. I was a sucker for spitfire girls. Amy, a firecracker in her own right, had now discovered two side relationships with other girls of her ilk. She eventually tried to run over me with a car (that is only slightly an exaggeration) and took to seeing other men. Fair enough, but it didn't treat me well. I spent several months in a state of mental disrepair that often left me sobbing in an elementary school playground.

Later in life I found booze. That also is a long story (and one that still lacks a good epilogue) but it soothed the transition between college women. With the exception of peeing in houses under construction and waking up with near-strangers, it was a pretty good transitonal tool, but not nearly as personally constructive as I would've liked.

Life has changed a lot in the last six or seven years. I've avoided elementary schools. I've come to terms with past personal physical abuses. And I found a solution to relationship transitions. I think your country calls it marriage.

Of course, once one gives up on women, there is a whole host of other maladies to send you looking for a good playground or bar. Or better yet... a playground with a bar. It's not the serious stuff. It's the daily superficial stuff.

In the last few minutes I've switched over to Leo Kottke. I just looked down and Scoop, the resident therapy mutt, was drinking out of my water glass. We've reached the point in the year when the home's digital thermostat reading has climbed four degrees above the minimum heat setting. In a few weeks, Mt. Willis will require air conditioning. I'm making note to relish the remaining days of fresh air.

I stepped outside a few minutes ago when I went downstairs to refresh my water supply. Clear sky. Stars. A cool breeze. While I admired the sky, I figured out why I bothered to it down and write here tonight.

There used to be several days a week to sit around, drink a few beers, stare at the sky, listen to or play a little music, and share old meaningless stories. We rambled about women. We talked in circles about the merits (or lack thereof) of anarchy. Sometimes we even confessed secrets.

We just don't do that enough anymore. We talk a lot about work, the future, money, or life as we know it. We drink beer, we listen to music, and we talk in circles. But we stray away from engaging in that good therapy that keeps us all sane.

I have no reason to believe anyone really feels like reading something I wrote over two glasses of water and a few bars of Dave Brubeck music (I switched again). But I think there are probably a few people out there that remember those long nights of unspoken therapy.

So, now when I think I should be heading to bed, I probably won't. I've slipped into a therapy mode that feels pretty good. I killed one of the two lamps. I turned the music down a tad so others can sleep. And I'm sitting back feeling at least a little contented to know that I can vicariously live out a little bit of the best kid of therapy.

And I'll sit back and hope there might again be a day when we can all do this together...on a back porch, on a long drive to nowhere, or on a mountain that we'll name whatever we like.


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