“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!
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