Alright, granted. Perhaps I was not the most cheerful in the last piece, though I did find parts exuberantly funny. Somehow, that humor had not come across well to my coworkers.
I suppose I should not have had social workers and counselors read these apparent parts of me. They have a tendency to place upon me their therapeutic training and concern, unwarranted of course, like any good friend would do.
So they had decided among themselves that I was sad, depressed even, with some sort of strange assumption of whom I was, because the last piece was nothing more than a part of me, not the whole, I had left out my obvious arrogance.
And I had thought that arrogance in the face of crippling insecurity, showing itself in the most unlikely of times, was what was truly the hilarity of my being, of my thought processes. They, unfortunately, had other ideas.
One of which made itself so painfully clear after a training Allyson completed at the state mental institution regarding, of all things, suicide. Perhaps I should not have had suicide-minded counselors read my thoughts on paper, for they especially have the tendency to read words as cries of help. And maybe I do need help, having helped others for so long, I had lost a bit of me, that bit of shear courageousness where I can face down the entire world and laugh, poking fun at it and come away unscathed.
That ballerina dance of charm and fight. Charm having now morphed into neuroticism that only I find incredibly endearing. Neurotics should never have to face an intervention.
And so I walk into work, looking down, hip hurting and hair wet. Dawn greets me with her usual banter about thug neighbors and impending doom of lawsuit after her husband had enough of said thug neighbor and broke him with a public fist fight on the lawn.
Though I would at times much rather talk about myself, the funny connections that only a neurotic would make about my car ride as a symbol of my ragged life having been working for a director who at one time may have offered the world her good intentions yet has fallen to apparent incompetence like those drivers who leave their turn signal on with no plan of getting into the other lane.
And so I meander towards the hall, walking backwards, drawing up funny euphemisms and the occasional "no way, oh my god" answering Dawn as I make my way from her reception desk to my own office.
I sit staring at my coffee cup still half full from the day before, wondering how I would be able to dispose the liquid into the kitchen sink without anyone noticing, I would not want them to think I was sloppy or anything, though I have a sneaking suspicion that they probably already do, everyone does, I am easy to read in such respects.
After me, Allyson is the next one to arrive, having dropped off her daughter with the nanny. It is funny, in the south, nannies live elsewhere. I suppose the term is a blanket for all those who watch children during the day outside of a day-care and who are not presently a teenager, whom I am assuming is still called babysitter down here.
(Oh! By the way, I live in Baton Rouge now; I hope you don't mind, I don't think I had mentioned that previous to this. My mother claims this living arrangement is temporary and that I will be back to sunny Cleveland in no time, just as long as I find a new job there, and do not find love here, which I think neither is possible, but that is just me I suppose.)
After Allyson offers her well meaning advice to Dawn, as most mothers do, she is off to her own office to drop off her things, before stopping at under my door frame with the "Elizabeth, can you come to the lobby? Dawn and I have something to say to you."
Any statement with "someone and I have something to say to you" does not bode well, ever, and I, of course, not needing to be psychic about this, though claim to be the foreseer of all that is bad news, had that sinking feeling in my stomach, as if my stomach stayed in place as I rose from my chair.
She walks me back to the lobby, where Dawn seated behind her reception desk gestures for me to sit on the couch, while Allyson takes the adjacent couch. And I knew, even before Allyson states, "This is an intervention" that something therapeutic was about to take place.
I mean really, we were seated in the lobby of a crisis center, our executive director at times inappropriately counsels new arrivals there, why should I be any different? At least what is going for me is the fact that it is still before 9am, no one sees clients before 9am, so we have some privacy.
I start to joke that my heroin use is under control and I can stop whenever I want to, and I am met with the "you are not allowed to talk" by Allyson, and the "everything other than 'yes' is noise" from Dawn who had seen the Intervention show on A&E and has proclaimed herself Dr. VonDeVon, or whatever the bald interventionist on the program's name is.
I would give anything to be back in Cleveland with a secretary who believed god was an ex-hippy in Fiji, that at least did not revolve around me and my insecurities. I like my insecurities; they are the most endearing part of me.
"After having reading the 'Elizabeth versus Myself' article" Allyson begins, I knew where she was going with this, this is the last time I rekindle anything creative and have the arrogance to show it off to coworkers, this damned inconsistent self-promoting has gotten me in trouble for the last time, so help me, for the love of God, and all those other gall clichés!
"We think you are depressed and I think I know what might help" she finishes. And so begins the intervention:
I'm fine, wasn't the article in the least little bit funny.
Allyson: No it was sad, and you need to get out of this funk.
I'm not in a funk.
Dawn: Yes you are.
No. I'm not.
Dawn: Listen here, you are not allowed to talk, as Dr VonDeVon, I am asking you to shut up.
Where is all this coming from?
Allyson: You don't do anything on the weekends-
Yes I do.
Allyson: No you don't, John doesn't drink, doesn't go out, his friends are insane.
Well that's true.
Dawn: Allyson and I have been talking and we have a solution.
Dear God in heaven…
Allyson: Shut up and just listen! I was at the training at the mental institution the other day, and I met someone that would be-
Allyson (talking over me as if I hadn't spoken): perfect-
Allyson: for you.
I'm not going out with a psychiatric patient, I learned my lesson
Allyson and Dawn pause wondering if I was telling the truth or not, I, of course, wasn't, I was essentially buying some time to think.
Allyson: It's not a patient, Jesus, it's one of the-
No. I'm not doing it. I'm not being set up
Allyson: He has your sense of humor and big blue eyes, and curly hair just like you.
Dude. Listen. I had never gone on a blind date before; I didn't have too, so this means that I am apparently at the juncture in my life where my physical nature has gotten to the point where I am one of those people that need to be set up.
Allyson: What the hell are you talking about?
I'm going to disappoint him.
Allyson: No you aren't.
Yes I am.
Allyson: Will you shut up about that, you are so not going to disappointment him.
Yes I am.
Allyson: SHUT UP
Dawn: We are not going to take no for an answer.
Well you have to, I'm not going to do it, and I don't want to see the disappointment in his eyes when he sees me. I won't be able to take it
Allyson: What? That is not even accurate - he is not going to be disappointed.
Well unless he sees me and is all like "wow, she is perfect" and being filled with immense pride shows me off to his friends and family and then his parents are all like "we never thought our son would find someone as wonderful or as beautiful as you, our family is better having you in our lives, we thank God in heaven for someone like you" or some similar soliloquy, then it's disappointment!
Dawn: Oh my God…
Allyson: Be reasonable Elizabeth-
Allyson: Stop it.
Disappointment! (I said, loud and fast and shrill with my finger pointed in the air for the "point making" effect, similar to when I point at my own nose when I talk about myself, one of those little endearing quirks that border on compulsive, much like Monk without all the crime fighting.)
Allyson: Stop it! If it doesn't work out then you have a friend, and he does a lot of barbecues so you would have things to do, and have new friends….
No. Even if this disappointment morphs into some sort of friendship, I will still know. I can't take it, I can't take the disappointment.
Dawn: What do you have to lose?
My self worth.
Allyson: Please. You will not lose your self worth, stop it. Your self esteem will be fine.
You don't know that
Allyson: Come on, are you that fragile?
Have you read my last article?
Dawn: You know when you are damaged in a previous relationship like what Jamie did to you, you need to find the strength to let it go and live your life. (Wait, I'm sorry, my mom actually said that in a different yet strangely similar conversation, my memory is fuzzy since this is a recent memory and I hadn't had time to rewrite it in my head and fill in all the empty holes with more comic relief statements. God love the hypothalamus and all its wonders.)
Here is what she really said. Dawn: I hadn't read your article, and you are acting like a child
I'm fragile, fragile (with the last fragile in a frantic type of whisper that is nothing like a real whisper, more like a guttural hoarse of a thing often used by the elderly in horror films to describe the ghost that lives within the walls of a rural hospital to the unsuspecting out-of-towner who mistakenly happens upon while his or her car runs out of fuel five miles back. My fist also beats upon my chest for each symbol of the word fragile just in case the decrepit whisper had been disregarded.)
Allyson: You are being unreasonable. You cannot go through life like this, you need to get over it and take a chance.
Dawn: You can't say no.
Fine, then how about giving me a few more weeks to lose weight.
Allyson: Will you stop it about your weight, it has nothing to do with your weight. You are not using that as an excuse. And you don't know, he might take a couple of weeks to get the date all set up, Remy needs to call him, he needs to call you, you can stall then.
Allyson: Is that an "OK?"
OK. (my eyes squint into the most angry face I could make, which is not entirely angry looking, more like I have the wrong contact prescription, but hey, I tried.)
And there I was left with it all. With my thoughts about this manifesting apocalypse ruminating in my head, which is just not the best place to be if you are a thought, especially a good thought, or even a neutral thought, since the bad thoughts own the streets there with a type of gang violence reserved for the more news worthy of prime time shows.
And so I sat most of the day with either my head on the desk, or on the keyboard, or on my lap, breathing heavy and without purpose, thinking, ruminating of what was to come.
It did come eventually - that fateful date of coffee and fried dough - and it had not gone exactly how I had imagined it to occur, but that is another story all together.
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