First I need to tell you that when I say I am mad, irritated or otherwise perturbed with Igor, my psychoanalyst, it is often code for me telling you that he has brought unconscious material up to consciousness that I would have been very happy to have locked away in the back in the part of my mind that I can’t reach without his assistance. With that said, last week I was mad, irritated and annoyed with Igor.
The session started out well, I think, and after we got through some stuff of not much consequence he asked me if we had been looking at any houses. My first impulse was to tell him to do something which some might consider a highly pleasurable act that involves another and may or may not involve cigarettes afterwards. I resisted my impulse and instead told him about how we had seen house one and two and why neither of them were right and how I had really not liked our realtor and how we needed to find another one and how hard it is. Then, in an ode to Sybil, my personality changed and I turned into a whiny teenager. “But, I don’t want to look for a house. I don’t want to live here. Have I mentioned to you how much I hate L.A.?” He laughed. I assure you that if you heard the way I said it you would have laughed both at and with me. I wouldn’t blame you and I don’t blame him.
I then shared with him my plan. My plan de jour, as you may know, is to find 365 things to like about L.A. and that once I get to a tipping point of liking things about L.A. it is my belief that we will get kicked out of here. So, I am trying to speed up the process and find a lot of things to like as quick as I can. My scheme was too much for him to grasp. He began his response with “Let me get this straight” and then he spoke as slowly and clearly as he can with his Omar Sharif accent “You are saying that if you like it here you will be kicked out?”
“Yep, and I think it will work.” I, for a delusional moment, thought I had convinced him of the merits of my magical thinking.
“It won’t work because you are not really liking things here.”
“No,” I interrupted, “I really do like the Getty.”
“The Getty is not enough,” he said unironically, “What you are trying to do is rush through the life and death cycle that exists in everything. You are looking for things to like, not to be in life and or to live it but, rather, so your grief will end and you can get to a place where you will never know loss again.”
“Uh-huh” I grunted at him like an adolescent with her arms crossed just moments away from rolling my eyes and hitting him with a wounding ‘whatever’.
“We liked Chicago. Maybe I liked it too much. I said everyday how much I liked it. I said it out loud. Maybe if I hadn’t done that we wouldn’t have been kicked out.”
“No, you didn’t make it happen. It just happened that your belief system and your outer circumstances happened to meet up,” Igor explained.
I ignored his answer, “It was like I was punished for liking it. I was punished for being happy somewhere. “
“By whom?”he asked.
“By a deity that I don’t believe in”, I offered weakly.
Igor said nothing. I didn’t give him time.”It’s not fair” I said continuing my adolescent whine that turned ‘fair’ into a four syllable word. “You don’t get kicked out.” I accused him, not expecting he would defend himself “You want to be here and you are here and you aren’t being kicked out. You get to be where you want.”
Igor laughed, “That’s not true. I am kicked out all the time. Just this morning the roads were blocked and I couldn’t get to my office. I get kicked out all the time. The difference between you and me is that I don’t believe that there is someplace that exists that will be free of that and you do.” Again I was wanting to recommend that he do something that the birds and bees and even educated fleas do. I also wanted to explain to him that his being late for work was not the same thing as having your husband’s work bring you back to the one place you never wanted to return to.
“You believe,” he said, “that if you like something it will be taken from you and that is the real issue, not the house buying in L.A. You will have this issue wherever you go and now you are here so lets deal with it here.”
My petulance continued, only I sounded even younger and more whiny, “I don’t want to. I don’t want to buy a house. If we have a house I will be trapped.”
“You think a house is like this.” Igor grabbed a tissue and put it over his hand. He pulled the tissue tight around his hand until he couldn’t move it. I could feel myself constrict and my breath tighten as I looked at my two-ply makeshift metaphor of a home.
He continued, “This is like your mother. If you connect with her you have no space and you feel stuck and you can’t move and you can’t breath. Mother equals home, hence home equals trapped.”
He was right.
I tried to hide any hint of affect on my face that I agreed with him so I could stick with my story. “Can’t it be that I just hate L.A.? People do hate places. It is done. Can’t it just be about that?”
I was in a total snit and I was mad and I was feeling stuck….really stuck. I was filled with an “I’ll show you”attitude that I hadn’t had felt so strongly since the dark days when I was dating Danny, donning Dittos, eating Dorritos and discovering that if I waited until my mother passed out I could sneak out my bedroom window. I wanted to leave Igor’s office and go straight to the airport and buy a ticket and go somewhere and call him at our appointment time next week and tell him that I am not there and that I don’t have to be and that I left and that I got out and that I would never-ever-ever come back again ever, only I didn’t.
It is a week later and I am still here and we have another realtor and we looked at another house that we don’t want and we found another house that we might have liked if it hadn’t been sold out from under us. The funny thing is that I don’t want to tell Igor any of this. I don’t want to give him the satisfaction of knowing that we looked. What I want to do is tell him that I don’t want him to ask me about houses anymore. Even if I managed it and even if he agreed, the damn Kleenex would be there sitting between us and silently reminding me.