Shangri La

Shangri La

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sometimes a cigar is just a cabin in Vermont

LSW here again. Soon after the Vermonster came home with pictures of the property on his cell phone, I found myself sitting in the shrink’s office.

I’ve been seeing McFreud for a few years now. I offer this information freely and casually as if I was including him in a list of people I might also employ: a housekeeper, a nanny, a personal trainer, a pool boy, a chef. But the truth of the matter is, I bandy this information about as a way to head people off at the pass. “I’m not screwed up or crazy,” I want to say. “I just trust the instincts and advice my shrink offers.” That’s certainly true. Plus it’s nice to have 45 solid minutes where I get to sit in a comfy bouncy chair, stare out the window and not be interrupted by the phone or the boy or the cat.

So a few months ago, this was the conversation I had with McFreud.

“This is all I hear,” I say to him. “Talk, talk, talk,” I say, as I mimic chattering beaks with my hands squaking all around my head. “Land. Cabin. Septic. I just don’t process any of it.”

He looks at me with his poker face.

“I don’t know,” I say, my usual response when things get all quiet. “I don’t know.”

He bounces in his chair. I bounce in mine. (No proverbial couch here.) Finally he speaks.

“See, he’s up here on a high,” says McFreud, holding his hand above his head. “He’s feeling euphoric. Meanwhile, you’re down here,” he says, moving his hand below his knee. “You feel like you need to play the role of the anchor, but he views you as the ball-and-chain.”

Bingo. As usual, he’s hit the nail on the head, making my $15 co-pay worth every penny. But his job isn’t to judge or give advice. His job is to help me find my own way through this.
“You’re absolutely right,” I say. I leave his office with my assignment: to tell the Vermonster (and worse yet, prove to him) that I’m not a stick in the Green Mountain mud. If there’s one thing I fear, it’s turning into a bitter, old kill joy, stick-in-the-mud, ball-and-chain. So things needed to change. And that, my friends, is how I came to the point in my life where I dedicated myself to learning the difference between a conventional septic system and the more expensive—but probably necessary-- mound system. This is where the fun begins ...

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