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When It Falls Down, Put It Back Up


A violent rainstorm sent a flood of water cascading down the narrow mountain road. A portion of the wall at the steep ramp to Via Piellero collapsed. It didn’t take these guys long to gather up the fallen tuffa stones and stack them up again, good as new.

* * *

“I’m going to see Dr. Bob in an hour,” Vittoria said.
“You saw him yesterday, didn’t you?”
“Yes. But he said I need to see him again.”
“He told me I’m the type of person who always gets her way, but it’s not happening here.”
“‘Just wait,’ I told him. ‘You’ll see who wins in the end.’”
“This is starting to sound rather strange.”
“‘We need to work on a few other subjects,’ he said, which is why he wants me to come today. Also he said when I’m back home I should continue to see him, and that I shouldn’t worry about the fee because he’s going to waive it.”
“He wants to pick my brain. To him I’m an interesting subject, especially about how I was raised in Italy. Guess what I told him?”
“I have no idea.”
“You can pick my brain, Doc, when you buy the book James is writing about me.”
“He said, ‘James? Who is James? You’ve never mentioned him before!’ I said, ‘James is the man who writes down everything I do and say. Only HE can pick my brain.’ Dr. Bob’s face got red. He looked at me like, what the hell will come out of her mouth next?”
“That’s why he wants me to go back today. I guess I’ve got him very curious.”
“Pretty soon he’ll be paying YOU to come to his therapy.”
“I believe so. He said I needed someone like him who won’t let me push him around, which I’m used to doing. Also that I need a few more sessions before going home and talking to my father.”
“What did you say to that?”
“I told him, I’m going home tomorrow.”
“He said, ‘Vittoria! You’re not ready yet.’ I said, ‘Oh yeah? Watch me.’”
“I can’t believe this.”
“Dr. Bob got red in his face again. I told him, ‘You see, you don’t control me, buddy. I do what I want, you don’t tell me what YOU want.’”
“This doesn’t sound like therapy to me.”
“I know. He’s so pushy. He got me confused, so I put up my defenses.”
“He told me, ‘Admit it—you’ve finally met your match.’ I asked him, ‘What the hell do you mean?’ He said, ‘I’m the one who can stand up to you and not let you get away with everything.’ So I said, ‘Thank you for trying to get me to do what you want. But as you can see I’m doing it my way. I will not see you tomorrow because I will be back home.’”
“This is utterly unbelievable.”
“Hey!” she said. “I’m wondering. Do you think all this was just Dr. Bob’s way to get me to go home?”
I groaned.
“This is interesting,” she said. “Was going home tomorrow my idea? Or his?”

I thought for a moment.
Then I said, “That’s beside the point.”
“No it isn’t.”
“When you mentioned me his face turned red, didn’t it? That’s a dead giveaway. He’s emotionally involved with you. And that isn’t therapy.”
“Dr. Bob said he would call me when I got home to make sure I was doing fine. I told him there was no need to.”
“Give me this guy’s last name, address and phone number. I’ll file a complaint with the ethics board of the APA.”
“What’s APA?”
“Amerian Headshrinkers Association.”
“Why do I always get myself into these things?”
“My advice to you is to go home when you feel comfortable, and have a long talk with your dad about the adoption. And for Christ’s sake forget about this so-called therapist.”
“And if he calls, tell him that it sounds like stalking, and you will call the cops. No, better yet, tell him that your husband has mob connections.”
She laughed. “Okay, I’ll do that.”
“Yes, silly.”
After a two-beat pause, I got a thought.
“Say, are you by any chance making all this stuff up?”
“No!” she said. “I’m just telling you what’s happening to me right now.”
“With you I never know WHAT to think.”
“And you love it,” she said sweetly. “Don’t you?”

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If you love something, set it free, If it comes back, it is really yours. If it doesn't, it never was, (Italian style).

The stuff about the therapist is right on...

Re: Indian Philosophy

There are therapists who really help folks. The trick is to find one. On my parabola I get the Dave Letterman show. Recently Dave's been repeatedly mocking & trashing a chap named Dr. Phil, allegedly the ex-husband of Oprah Winfrey, who appeared on the cover of Newsweek and apparently has his own "therapeutic" TV show. Dave likes to run clips of Dr. Phil's "wisdom." One that I especially like: "Sometimes it's hard to see your face when you don't have a mirror."

Hmmmmm. That's WAY profound.

I'm pretty sure they were never married. However, he was/is (?) on her show pretty regular and just finally got his own show. I personally don't like him -- but I do adore Oprah. ;)

Re: Indian Philosophy

Maybe he never saw a lake or pond surface without the wind rippling it, carried a bucket of water he could glance down in, saw a polished metal surface, a clean piece of china or glass, or just plain lacked any imagination...

One of my friends at school is a psychology major, and this business with Vittoria's therapist made me think of something she said. I'm paraphrasing now, but it was something like, "If anyone actually looked past the social idea that psychology people have all the answers, we'd be out of business in a moment. Most of the practicing therapists I've been introduced to have just as many issues of their own as the people who pay to talk to them."

I've been meaning for some time to say hello. I started reading your journal on the recommendation of a friend, and I'm glad I did. I envy and stand in awe (in a good way, I mean) of your talent as both a writer and a photographer!

Hello, mysticpenguin, and many thanks for your kind & generous comments. I dated a Ph.D. psychologist who had a private practice on Philadelphia's Main Line. She was telling me about one of her patients, and I asked her what her treatment plan was. She looked puzzled. I asked her what she and her patient had agreed was the goal of the therapy, what was the outcome the patient wanted to see. This annoyed the hell out of her. There wasn't any plan--other than the patient continuing to see her three times a week, as he had been for the past three and a half years, at $150 per 50-minute session. When I did the math I understood what the whole thing was all about.

Sounds like a pretty good racket to get into... LOL!

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