a required taste for the pretentious as all get out





great, so now i'm fucking rain man
December 15, 2005, 9:57 am

The first thing she does is sit quietly as I profusely apologize for being late...about four times. I was lost, I explain, which really was not a big deal.

The second thing she does is make me fill in a form while she asks me some questions; the questions, and their answers, make me cry more. I just do my best to blurt out a sentence between my tears.

The third thing she does is hand me a list and tells me to check off everything that applies to me. The list looks like this:

Current Past
______ ____ Fear of household cleansers
_____ _____ Fear of hurting other people
_____ _____ Forbidden sexual thoughts
_____ _____ Fear of disappointing others
_____ ______ Strong morality issues (what is right and wrong)
_____ _____ Fear of driving


You get the idea. There are about 150 of these statements; those are the ones that I remember right now.

She scans the sheet and asks me, "Do you tend to hoarde anything?"

"Hoarde things?"

"Newspapers, paper, wrappers, receipts you don't need, etc.?"

"Um, no, not really." My mind flashes to the six boxes of ungraded papers in my office from ninth 2002. They graduated last year. "Um, I don't think so, I mean, I have a lot of scrapbooking stuff." My hand reaches to my purse, where I fumble for my lip balm. It's on a table, and it falls, spilling out its contents.

There are no less than nine pens in my purse.

"Do you like pens?"

"Oh, yes! I mean, you never know when you'll need one! I like variety, I don't like to always use the same colors; I mean, I have to use certain kinds or they don't feel right..." I blabber on, as she writes on a yellow legal pad.

"Has anyone in your family had problems with anxiety?"

I take a deep breath, and I tell her about Grandma. How, everyday, at 7:15am, Grandma called our house and demanded everyone's schedule for the day. She warned us about the weather and what Marty Bass was wearing in Channel 13. She would show up at our house after school on some days; on others, she would start calling until we got home, and then every 15 minutes until Mom got home. If Mom stopped off at the grocery store, Grandma would cry, convinced she was killed in a freak car accident. Grandma also brought us treats, fruit snacks and breakfast bars and candy, even when we were graduating from high school. She cared.

I explain all these things, and the woman looks at me.

"Jessica, do you know that certain diseases or disorders are genetic? Take O.C.D. for example; it's not your fault if you have it, just like you couldn't choose the color of your eyes."

I am about to make a crack about colored contacts, but she clasps her hands.

"You definitely have O.C.D. Do you know much about it?"

"I know I definitely didn't inherit the neat part of it! I mean, you should see my desk at work, or my bedroom..."

She calmly explains the reason why when I get home from work, I panic about the exact number of minutes I have left until the next school day starts. She explains why I think I'm dying when I clean the bathroom, and or why it happens when I smell bleach. She explains that why, when I'm driving, I check my rear-view mirror nineteen, twenty, twenty-five times a minute because I'm afraid a cop is behind me, or my dad if I was smoking a cigarette.

"Let me guess," she says, "when you were in school, and the teacher disciplined another child, you felt guilty, even though you had done nothing wrong."

"Yes," I whisper.

"Let me take another guess: even though I'm telling you that this disorder is not your fault, you are nodding, but you still don't believe me."

"Yes," I nod.

"Jessica, this isn't your fault. I'm going to help you."

"Thank you. Oh, I'm sorry."

"We're going to have to work on the apologizing, too."

Damn, she's good.

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