FTF: Shrink Wrapped

It’s French Toast Friday!

Daisy and I were dug in at one of the little tables at Starbucks, drinking ridiculously expensive coffee drinks with names so long it irritated the crap out of everyone in line behind us. They had to put up with it though.  Because they would get revenge as soon as we moved on.

We don’t need to talk.  If one is smart, one never speaks of substantial subjects at a Starbucks.  Certainly one never says anything personal about oneself, unless one is Borat.

Do people forget it’s a public place?  Happily, they do!  We rarely talk.  We go for amusement.

Daisy calls me.

“I was trying to set Racer up on the sofa in a Still Life.  He’s not being a team player.”

I ask the obvious: “Why?”  Racer is a highly intelligent cat with very little tolerance for tomfoolery, or heck, attention.

Daisy replies, “I was trying to photograph him with a beer for entertainment  purposes.”

You’d have to be REALLY bored to try to get Racer to cooperate in anything but the opening of his wet food can.

“You know what this means?” I say.

“That I need a new cat?” Daisy replies.  She yells away from the phone, “…I’ve been considering an UPGRADE”.

“Starbucks.” I say.

Clearly she’s run out of movies, doesn’t feel like driving,  there is nothing good on TV, and people everywhere are being annoying.  Nothing has the potential for hilarious drama like an hour in Starbucks saying absolutely nothing.

“I don’t feel like…” Daisy starts.

“I’m driving.” I say.  I can be there in 5 minutes.

“I’m buying” she says.

Oh good.  Starbucks is packed.  We find a table smack in the middle of a ‘grouping’ and wedge our purses and our order onto the ridiculously small elbow platform that passes as a cafe table.  A few promising words drift our way.

…my psychiatrist….. knocked up….. fourth chakra…SO mad….you think HE can handle a basketball?

Uh oh, sports: there’s one to tune out.  We look at each other.  I know we’re both thinking “my psychiatrist” and “knocked up” have the best listening potential.  We both zero in when the “my psychiatrist” women start speaking again.

My Psychiatrist table:

“So when are you going?”

“Tomorrow.  God I hate going.  I have to think up new lies.  Which means I have to remember the old ones.”

(Shocked pause)

“You mean you lie to your psychiatrist…TOO?”

Daisy and I look at each other.  Jackpot! We try not to snort fancy coffee drinks out our noses as the My Psychiatrist table erupts into laughter.  I know we are both thinking: that could be US.

“Well yeah. (thoughtful pause) I have to say something diversionary.”

“No way.  I thought I was the only one who lied to their psychiatrist.  You have no idea.  This makes my day!”

“Way.  I carry a book as a backup, in case I can’t think of anything.  Mine loves books.  I tell him what I’m reading.  He can’t stand it if I accidentally cover the title.  You make stuff up too?”

“Well, I feel like I have to?” (pause) ” Otherwise it gets so…personal.”

Daisy efficiently whips a pen out of her purse as if to make a list.  She writes on a paper napkin, and turns it towards me. 

D: I’m with her.  I would lie. She hands me the pen.

J: Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? I swing the napkin and pen back to Daisy.  We look like we’re playing hangman.

D: (Raises eyebrows.  Writes.)  What’s the purpose?  To tell some stranger intimate details and have nothing on HIM for blackmail?”

Before I can respond, the My Psychiatrist table starts up again.

(Laughter)  “…I know it’s weird to say it’s too personal, but I don’t really want to tell some guy I see for an hour once every three months  anything real.  It’s way too intimate for the nature of our relationship.”

This is said with good deal of irony:  clearly these women have a great sense of humor.

(Sigh) “So what AM I going to tell him tomorrow?”

“Does he have a sand tray?  Mine has sand trays.  Can you go stick stuff in it?  It makes mine think I’ve finally opened up…he goes into some bizarre state of therapeutic ecstasy and I’m off the hook.”  (pause)  “Of course, it does have a down side.  He thinks I’m a lunatic.”

“No!  I had one with sand trays once.  Aren’t they stupid? What am I, FIVE?”

“Exactly.” (sips coffee) “Plus…what if he has cats?”

Daisy draws a sand tray on the napkin.  Puts a bridge on it.  Flips the napkin around.  I draw a cliff, upping the ante. Flip the napkin back.  She studies it for a moment.  Adds a bottle of sleeping pills, complete with little Zzzzz’s on the label.  Hey.  We’re playing psychiatrist hang man!

“What about making up a dream?  You can pretty much put anything you want in there.  It’s kind of a verbal sand tray.”

(Considered pause)  “It would make him feel useful.  But why should I pay him to feel useful?  I’d rather torture him.”

They both burst out laughing.

Daisy and I look at each other, we’re both DYING to look at the women: what, were we all separated at birth?  We want to meet them!  We want say we have psychiatrists too, so we can join the conversation and talk about how we also lie to our (imaginary) psychiatrists.

I’m sold.  I’d totally lie through my teeth to a shrink.  Woman #2 is right: spilling your guts for one hour every three months?  It’s waaaaay too personal.  I’d pay that kind of money for an hour of harmless fun though,  and making someone feel useful in the world.

I write on the napkin: “What if you told your psychiatrist you had an imaginary psychiatrist?”

Daisy flips over the napkin and writes furiously.  Pauses, re-reads, and pushes the napkin at me.

D: Doctor, I’ve been thinking about buying a baby cow, dressing it up like a little girl, and getting one of those old fashioned baby carriages?

J: Why do you think you feel the need to infantisize a cow?

D: Well I was at this BBQ on Memorial Day?  And there were these poor hay bales with cow heads on them?  And they couldn’t move!  People were throwing ropes around their necks…the poor things couldn’t move because they didn’t have any legs.  It was terrible!  What if they choked?

J: (Aside to self:  FANTASTIC! I think we have a solution to the money we lost out of the Roth!  Wait till I tell the Mrs. about THIS one.) Ahem.  Go on.  What do you think would happen….if the hay bales (cough cough)…choked?

We spent the next hour making up stories to tell our psychiatrists.   We had each other laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe. We were kind, and didn’t do this in front of our new friends.  We waited until they got up and left.

Woman #1, (rising from seat) in serious voice:  “I’ll report back.  Let you know what I came up with.”

Woman #2, (shouldering handbag), “Great!  I’ll see if I can think up some sort of realistic ones, maybe we can trade off?  Then it won’t be so exhausting.”

To the women at the My Psychiatrist table, THANK YOU, you made our day, and call us, we want to go to coffee!

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