A Session With Dr. Che

      “P” – Anonymous Patient
      “D” – Therapist, Doctor C. Li Che

P: Sorry I’m a bit late…accident on the connector today.

D: Heard. I literally play bumper cars on that commute.

P: I hope not.

D: No worries, I started my clock on time. What brings you back today?

P: Umm…our appointment? We set it for today the last time I was in.

D: Yeah, no. Of course. Making your appointment…adulting: more than I can say for a lot of folks. And how are you doing?

P: [pauses]  I’m not so sure.

D: Fair enough. Maybe we can take a deep dive and find out what’s going on at the granular level.

P: I’ve been struggling occasionally since…the episode. But at least my community service hours are done.

D: It is what it is.

P: What is?

D: The struggle.

P: But I want it not to be what it has been.

D: Or embrace the new normal, P. Tell me, have you lashed out in anger at any other parades lately, slinging hard candy back at defenseless youth?

P: I’m not sure I like hearing it that precisely, D, but no. There haven’t been any parades since then.

D: Right. Supply chain issues.

P: Huh? It’s simply not parade season. They aren’t that frequent anyway.

D: Which reduces the carbon footprint, so kudos to your little town for cutting back!

P: [pause] Sure, I’ll tell the Two Forks mayor his environmental commitment is duly noted. Right after the lumberjack festival. [pause] But as I said, no parade episodes lately, because no parades.

D: At the end of the day, it’s always parade season, P. Twenty-four/seven.

P: I’m not sure what you mean by that.

D: All the time. You know, twenty-four hours in a day, seven days in—

P: —in a week, yeah I get that. What do you mean “it’s always parade season”?

D: Oh, that: well, people need to come together and celebrate something, now more than ever. So they go to games, birthday parties, rallies, and so on. A parade is just one type of parade.

P: You mean “one type of celebration.”

D: Now, P…telling people what they meant is one way to put yourself on mute.

P: Sorry, it was just a grammatical thing. So, are you asking if I’ve been to other events with cheering people present?

D: Yes. NOW we’re having a conversation.

P: Uh, okay. I thought we already were…Yes, I’ve been to a football game and a church potluck, although the potluck, however celebratory, lacked the loud cheering aspect.

D: And how did that make you feel?

P: What, that it wasn’t a hyped-up potluck?

D: You seem to be bothered by that.

P: Not at all, I was just clarifying that it was a celebration but not in the same way as a para—never mind…. Besides, why would that bother me when it was the hype and cheering that triggered me at the River Festival thing? Potlucks are just fine with me.

D: So, you didn’t throw food?

P: Ha, no I didn’t. But then again, it wasn’t being thrown at me.

D: RIGHT on. Just clarifying in light of that kindergarten episode you told me about, with the apples. Poor little Jennie! So, to your point, the potluck was a positive experience and the football game not so much?

P: I didn’t say that, D, but as it turns out, the football game wasn’t so great, no.

D: Right, which you “didn’t say,” P, by avoiding it earlier.

P: Only because you questioned the potluck scene first.

D: You can divert, or we can talk about what happened at the game.

P: Right. Well, the Timberwolves were smacking us down early in the game, and just a handful of their fans were there, but they were so annoying. I was trying to have fun, you know, support my team. Jen brought padded bleacher chairs, a thermos of coffee, some snacks. Just an enjoyable night out, supporting the local kids. But the ‘Wolves got an early score off a kickoff fumble and those parents started taunting us from the visiting bleachers. Then a ref made what was probably a bad call against them, and so they started accusing us of “home cooking” and all. Anyway, I got really irritated by their fist-pumping and whooping.

D: Had you been drinking?

P: Uh, no. I could’ve used a flask I suppose but it was a high school game. Besides, they check the coolers, bags, pockets, etc. at the ticket booth.

D: Bleacher chair back pocket. Think outside the box, P.

P: [puzzled silence]

D: That’s how you get hooch in. Zip a non-metal flask into that pocket on the bleacher chair. Then just carry those chairs benignly like a briefcase while they check all your other stuff. That’s my game flask hack.

P: I’m getting somewhat different advice than I anticipated today.

D: I know, right? So, P, you were frustrated because you couldn’t have a drink at the game….

P: Huh? No! Well, I suppose now that you mention it…wait, you brought up alcohol and even offered your sneaky tip!

D: My hack.

P: Sure, yeah, that. But D, drinking hadn’t crossed my mind at the time. The opposing fans were simply diminishing my experience. Shouldn’t we talk about what I did or didn’t do about it?

D: I’m down with that. Did you initiate any altercation?

P: Well, no, not with them. They hadn’t thrown anything at me, so that wasn’t my instinctive response. Although I did see one of those T-shirt launchers over by the student section and thought that it would be fun to peg one of them in the head harmlessly with a little rolled-up championship tee from last year.

D: That’s an improvement—not so much malicious, more on the whimsical side. Good pivot. Way to up your bandwidth. But you suggested that something happened “not with them.” Go on….

P: Yeah, so, while I was feeling irritated by them, our team’s cheerleaders starting chucking those little nerf souvenir footballs out into the crowd….

D: Uh oh: a throwing-at-you event.

P: Yes, with enthusiastic smiles.

D: Your combination trigger.

P: Yes, and I caught one. [pauses] And couldn’t help it…

D: …You hurled it forcefully at a tender unarmed teen?

P: Again with the verbiage, D. Yeah, I tried, aiming for the lead cheerleader’s little happy face. But I aimed poorly and a male student who happened to be looking my way caught it. He gave me a thumbs up—thought I was being generous.

D: Crisis averted! But it’s time.

P: Yeah, I know, D, I need to deal with my internal response to happy throwing and its root causes and all, regardless of whether there’s an external conseque—

D: No, I mean our time’s up. Shall we schedule for next month, same time, first Tuesday?

P: I suppose so.

D: That being said, done!

Copyright © 2022 Richard Berndt – All Rights Reserved.

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