My son-in-law Mr. Sasha is back from Afghanistan. When Miss Sasha picked up Mr. Sasha at the airport this afternoon, my entire family was able to exhale for the first time in six months. For me, it was like hyperventilating in reverse. Now I can get on with other things like packing on a few pounds and taunting dumb people on the internet, though now that I think about it that could just be a Tuesday.
Wednesday, my cousin Nancy told a story that, like all her stories, should be an episode in her own HBO series.
Tata: Are you seeing a therapist?
Nancy: I just started seeing a new one I really like, but she lives in this town where one of those dead teenager movies would take place. Have you ever heard of Roosevelt?
Tata: No. Where is it?
Nancy: That’s the thing: it’s right off 130 and no one knows where it is. It’s creepy and like time stopped. I drove out to her house and there was a flock of crows sitting on the roof. So I’m sitting in my car, looking up the spirit animal significance of crows.
Tata: What? No, don’t do that! You like her?
Nancy: I was seeing this awful man. I went to him because he had a therapy dog. All of my doctors are women so I thought I’d give this guy – I don’t know. But then I didn’t like the dog. I thought he looked dirty and he didn’t like me either. But I love dogs. The doctor had all these issues and I couldn’t talk about certain things with him.
Tata: You couldn’t talk with your therapist?
Nancy: He kept telling me I would benefit from going to Landmark Forum.
Tata: Get out!
Pete: What’s that?
Pete: What’s EST?
Tata: It’s a cult.
Nancy: You remember my friend Meredith I just went on vacation with? She’s a therapist and she said that is soooo unethical. He should not be doing that.
Tata: So now you’re seeing a bad man with a dirty dog. It’s like going to the train station.
Nancy: I didn’t like the guy. I don’t like men doctors and his dog was – I don’t know. I pictured myself lying on the couch, stroking the dog and talking about my issues, but this was nothing like that. I don’t even think he was a therapy dog. Do you know what I mean? We sort of avoided each other. And of course I couldn’t talk to the therapist. He was kind of a round guy with a Santa beard and he wanted me to join a cult. I didn’t like him at all.
Tata: What – ? So why were you going there?
Nancy: I kind of got used to Rusty the dog. I didn’t really like him, but I got used to him. Week after week, I sort of thought I was making progress and then I went on vacation and when I got back there was a framed picture of Rusty on the desk and the therapist didn’t want to talk about it.
Tata [trying desperately to breathe]
Nancy: So I never went back.
This week, we are calling the kitten Finocchio. It’s Italian for fennel and one of Italian words I knew before I learned the English.