Thursday, October 7, 2010


group therapy. a nice change of pace. in the most confidential way, I can tell you that we sit in the room, less than ten of us, and talk about things mundane and things not so mundane. I feel humbled when I leave the room, and I feel like I want to say so many things to the people inside the room that I don't say. like, e-, you're not even remotely fat, tell your boyfriend to fuck himself, let's get coffee some time, even though I don't drink coffee, because you seem pretty cool, in an i could be friends with you outside of group therapy type of way. it's weird though, group therapy etiquette. inside the confines of the room, in the space of eighty short minutes, we can share our deepest neurotic tendencies. outside of this room and the eighty minutes, we must forge a weird strangerdom for the sake of respecting each others' privacy. in the waiting room I have to pretend i'm not picturing the boy flipping through the sports illustrated magazine being asked for sex advice by his mom who is cheating on his dad, i'm not envisioning the girl with the green backpack ten years ago being told boys will be boys and at the same time feeling a deep need to tell her I heard the same thing once. even immediately after therapy, it's weird interacting with these people. once the threshold of the therapy room door is crossed, I don't even know how to go about holding the door for these people, I don't even know how to encounter them in the bathroom. refusing to acknowledge that we know each other is a lie, and casually acknowledging that we know each other only feels like a half-truth.

the particular day that i'm writing about was really nice from the get-go, even though I forgot to ask if anyone found the soft red and new gloves I left behind the week before. i swiveled from left to right in the teal swivel chair, and when n- said h-, can you start us off with something from your week?? I found myself talking about going home, about not having a home to go home to. I’d tried it the week before, and I’d have to do it this summer for the first time in three summers, and I was worried about this, I said. then I burst into tears for the first time in many months and said I was embarrassed because I don’t really ever cry. after that everyone acted really nice to me but I wasn’t really that sad anymore, in fact I felt pretty good, but I had to kind of act sad because I’d spontaneously cried and given the impression that I’d had a bad week. this is one thing about group therapy I dislike: sometimes if your week is just all around good, you have to unearth things that you normally don’t get hung up on just to start the group off on an introspective note. m- went on to talk about a text message that a boy she liked never replied to, and e- said her boyfriend came through her window drunk last night and vomited on her at two am, and then she had to give him a sponge bath and wash her sheets. i feel persistent hostility towards her anonymous boyfriend. we all agreed she could do better, but only after we laughed at the absurdity of the situation and then apologized for doing so. m- said she thinks she doesn’t have enough problems to be in the group, and she feels like she talks about trivial things in comparison with the rest of us. I often look at m’s bone structure and think she’s beautiful. we talk about how we’re not competing or ranking our issues, and then f- asks us why we like to come to group therapy, what do we get out of it, and how do we want people to respond to us? everyone is silent for a while and then e- says: “sometimes it’s nice if people just respond with silence, instead of trying to console you or relate the conversation back to themselves. sometimes silence is nice.” a time when I should have been silent: p- and I were laying on a mattress on the floor, his hamster making dying noises behind us, his eyes bloodshot to hell, when he mentioned his dad to me for the first time. memory: his dad had wanted to see how much tylenol a cat could consume before dying, so he administered a gradual dose, observing the signs of gradual death in p’s cat until p's cat became drowsy with death and died of an overdose.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


at work this morning mike the 'token half-retard' was teased by tyrone about the fact that he’s never had a girlfriend (i've been told he's in his thirties), although he comes in all the time and tells us about biker babes he’s dating. no one believes him for some reason. but one day he came in and said his biker babe girlfriend's dad told him he couldn't see his daughter anymore, and this plot thickening seemed oddly creative and maybe true after all. we asked him why her dad didn't approve of the relationship, and he said, "i don't know. i think it's because i'm canadian." we told him that his biker babe girlfriend was a loser and so was her dad.
but back to the story. he protested that he’s had girlfriends, and tyrone said blow up dolls don’t count as girlfriends. tyrone is missing his two front teeth. he grabbed R- and another lady as examples of “what a real woman looks like.” I was not one of the examples, and it was infinitely better that way. I laughed. that tyrone, I thought. he’s full of shit. then I skipped my second class to make stirfry. I found a perfectly good hat on the ground. most of the hats I own have been found on the ground. it is abnormally warm out.

i did go to my first class: smooth sailing. my French pronunciation is getting better. I took the tunnel between herter and Bartlett, and upon entering Bartlett I bypassed the boiler room, or some other room where maintenance work is done, apparently, because there was a paper on the door that just said this:


that put a slight damper on things. I pictured poor Jim Schafer venturing into the bowels of Bartlett to do some shitty maintenance job and being met with this cold (and yet oddly poetic) note. mostly I pictured jim schafer needing more clarity.

I went downtown to get some toothpaste and pick up a prescription. I waited in the small designated wait area while there was some issue with my insurance. homeless bill murray was sitting two seats next to me, and he was eating peanuts and throwing the shells into the seat between us. he was drinking orange juice too. when he finished his orange juice he got up, walked over to the drinks and got a new one. he didn’t pay for it. I was wondering how cvs permitted him to do this, but then he got up, cleaned off the peanut shell chair, and went over to the pharmacy counter to pick up the entire stock of travel sized tissue packets that a young girl wearing a umass sweatshirt had knocked onto the floor when she swung her coach bag onto the small red counter. i specify that it was a coach bag because this makes the accident and its inconvenience to homeless bill murray infinitely more deplorable. the pharmacy technician thanked him by name, and I realized that homeless bill murray was an undercover cvs employee, paid under the table with peanuts and orange juice. when he had collected all the tissue packets, he rose from the floor with some difficulty, only to have the box slip from his grip. the tissues were all over the floor again. I was going to help him pick them up but I read a pamphlet on type two diabetes instead. in retrospect, it was not the right thing to do. there was a photograph of a woman and a man on a dock on the cover, their legs dangling in the water. they were holding lemonades and smiling, and their party barge, which they were free to enjoy since their diabetes was under control, was parked next to them. then I read a pamphlet called “teens & couch medicine abuse.” there was an adolescent girl on the cover with long, straight, dark hair, and heavy black eyeliner. she looked like she just didn’t care. she was robo-tripping. inside the pamphlet I learned how to detect whether my teen is abusing cough syrup recreationally. symptoms of excessive robotripping include apathy and decreased performance in school. i felt cheated. i was apathetic about school and i wasn't robotripping. homeless bill murray picked up the tissues, with success this time, and then returned to his seat to resume shucking peanut shells. my insurance issue was unresolved, and I was told to come back tomorrow. on my way out, I passed by a stack of one subject notebooks on a shelf. a yellow tag hanging from the shelf read: ONE SUBJECT NOTEBOOKS 4.49 WOW!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


hey there
i'm doing well. i had a kidney transplant in june. i'm just living with my mom in carver and looking for a part time job, waiting to go back to school for my last semester in january. kinda bored. really bored. just watched fargo on netflix. matt thought frances mcdormand was a babe. he was right. I would like to play more basketball but am intimidated by the kids who hang out by the hoops, the court. how the heck have you been? are you still living in marshfield? I’m just waiting for thanksgiving, really. tonight my mom said “I have a surprise for dinner,” and the surprise was that she bought lobster. this is terrible timing because I’ve been sentimental about some things lately, including the rights and feelings of lobsters, which may have been triggered by reading david foster wallace’s ‘consider the lobster’ essay. but tonight i was also sentimental about being nice to my mom because i really surprised myself by saying 'fuck you' to her today because she smoked in the house, so i obliged and ate some of the lobster, was sorry i couldn't be more enthusiastic for her like she'd expected because she never has the means to get anyone anything. the lobster meat in the claws was really underwhelming in quantity, very flimsy. my mom said she must have bought retarded lobsters. this seems really unfair, to blame the lobsters, so I gave my mom the tail meat and rinsed the butter dish and felt my eyes water at the sink. yeah, I don’t know what my problem is. man, it’s been a long time. you used to have a chalkboard wall behind your bed, and my number was on it. your dad had a huge moustache. in the ninth grade you told all our friends that my boobs were uneven; you made a song about it in the hallway at school and then B and i wrote a nasty poem about you and put it on my old website and you cried. mountains have been visiting me in my dreams lately, big misty ones. sample from notebook:

dreamt about driving up and through enormous mountains. my cats were lined up at the base.

second dream this week about huge mountains in strange unfamiliar places, absolutely breathtaking scenery. mist and sunlight through trees. L is there and I’m yelling to him to get in the basement, the shockwave is coming because he pressed the red button, and I heard the telltale explosion in a distant Swedish village at the base of the mountain. he won’t come to the basement and in the small rectangular basement window I see the trees submit to the shockwave, bowing suddenly and recovering slowly. a small shockwave, though, because L is okay and we find ourselves trying to reassemble/revive S’s mother, who is a pile of strangely arranged toothpicks in the fridge. the feeling is that she was a whole person/mother in the fridge, but when she froze to death she became the toothpick structure. i'm trying to tell L i admire his curiosity but i can't say it for some reason.

third dream. I’m excited to be going up this mountain. I’m going on vacation with A. other people are waiting to get to the other side, too. some kind of vacation exodus. I’m nervous because once we’re on the other side, there’s nothing there. no stores, no hospitals, just mountain. there’s one house I’m looking at, to the side of me. it’s a small house and there’s something colorful about it, something I remember liking intensely. the way to get up the mountain is in a steel cage held by three strings. you’re raised up in it. the mountain is like a sky scraper suddenly. suddenly I don’t want to do this, it doesn’t seem safe. A is saying he’s not scared at all and he trusts the steel cage held by three strings. we also have the option to climb up the side of the mountain with ropes. this dream feels like an easy candidate for dream dictionary interpretations.

-end notebook sample- today I took an informal inventory of my mom’s medication and ate the dark chocolate at her bedside. the water was shut off today, well work or something. I found some papers by the bed, a big stack of them, from bible study. fill in the blanks (italicized). weirdest shit:

"We were put on this earth to enjoy Jesus’ love, and to manage all his other creations."

I hope you’ve been doing well all these years. what have you been up to? take care.