Transcript of 35th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. Thomas Darden, Monday, November 16, 1998 at 12:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Hi, Tom. Come in.
Mr. Darden: Thanks.
Dr. Balis: How was your last two weeks?
Mr. Darden: Surprisingly, not too bad.
Dr. Balis: Oh?
Mr. Darden: Don't look so disappointed, Charles.
Dr. Balis: No, no. I'm quite pleased to hear it. You haven't described a week on a positive note in quite some time.
Mr. Darden: Yeah, it has been a while.
Dr. Balis: So tell me, what has occurred to make things so upbeat for you lately?
Mr. Darden: I'm getting out of the god-damned Helpdesk, for one thing. I had applied for a position that's been posted for a while, and I interviewed for it shortly after our last session. I'm somewhat shocked, but I actually got the job.
Dr. Balis: That's wonderful news, Tom. Congratulations. In which department will you be working?
Mr. Darden: The Technical Writing department. I'll start next week. Since this new millennium bug program called SIIMole was created, there's been a high demand to develop a lot of documentation for it, and SII is apparently understaffed in that division. So I'm using the company's desperation as my ticket out of the Helpdesk.
Dr. Balis: I'm sure your hiring had nothing to do with anyone's desperation, Tom. You're quite modest about both your talent and your personal achievements.
Mr. Darden: Yeah, yeah, butter me up as much as you want, Charles, it makes my co-payments to you easier to part with.
Dr. Balis: Well, in any case, I'm glad you've found a position more suited to your education. How do you think this will affect your feelings for Rachel? I know there's a lot of frustration on your part because you're attracted to her and she works with you in the same department.
Mr. Darden: I knew you were going to ask me about this. The fact is, Charles, I haven't really been giving her much thought lately. And even when I do leave the Helpdesk, Rachel is still an SII employee. And as far as I'm concerned, work relationships should be avoided at all costs. Do I think things between us will change when I start my new job? No. If anything, we'll drift apart from each other. That's the sad part. I developed some close friendships with these people, and now I'm going to be placed among people I neither know nor wish to be friends with.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. Why would you say that?
Mr. Darden: The whole Information Technology department at SII is brimming with conceit and egocentrism. Even though the Helpdesk is technically part of I.T., we've always been regarded by the rest of the department as a sort of rogue group of people, not worthy of being treated with the same respect that others are afforded. We are all mouthy, edgy, vulgar, and boisterous in our own little section. Every other segment of I.T. is comparatively quiet, over-disciplined, and unfriendly. I once walked through a room full of programmers and was amazed at how subdued the whole atmosphere was. Everyone was ignoring one another. The cubicles marked off everyone's perceived field of vision. If you weren't inside someone's cube, you didn't exist to that person. Very strange environment, even to me. I consider myself anti-social, but some of the I.T. employees make me look like a social butterfly. It must come with the territory. People who are around computers all day just seem to want to plug into their console and tune out everything around them. It's really rather Orwellian to observe.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. That's not my impression of that department. If anything, I would have said that programmers incorporate play into their jobs more than any other group at SII. Perhaps you are mistaking "busy" with "anti-social?"
Mr. Darden: Now you're starting to talk like the other I.T. people do. They say that we at the Helpdesk have more colorful personalities because we can afford to, because we don't spend our time doing much of anything else. Well, that's not true. The Helpdesk is the rear-end of the Information Technology department. We take more abuse, hear more complaints, and solve more problems than any other group does. If it weren't for our taking the brunt of the phone calls, and the troubleshooting, and the solving of all the issues that we do, the rest of the divisions of I.T. would have a lot more work on their hands.
Dr. Balis: Sounds like you feel very unappreciated.
Mr. Darden: To say the least. Which is why I can't wait to get out of there. Once I start my duties in the Technical Writing department, I'll be exposed to the programming group in a much more intimate fashion. And I already know that I like some of the people there.
Dr. Balis: I thought you said they were all egocentric?
Mr. Darden: Not all of them; Kelly isn't like that, for example.
Dr. Balis: Oh, yes. The deaf...
Mr. Darden: So what if she's deaf? Why did you feel the need to point that out?
Dr. Balis: I wasn't pointing it out, Tom, it was merely...
Mr. Darden: Whatever. She's more woman than most I've met in my life.
Dr. Balis: I think I'm beginning to see why you've abandoned your interest in Rachel.
Mr. Darden: I haven't abandoned anyone. But the more I think about it, the more I like being around Kelly and talking with her. Maybe it's just because I have to talk to her one-on-one quite regularly, while the other programmers have the luxury of contacting us via telephone. I feel more comfortable around her now than I did in the beginning. I'll admit that her handicap intimidated me at first. But now, I don't really recognize she has one. I sometimes think about asking her out, though right now, I'm sort of dating someone else...
Dr. Balis: Oh?
Mr. Darden: Okay, I guess dating isn't the best term to use. It's more like fucking. Sharon and I have been meeting pretty regularly now. At least once a week.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Mr. Darden: I take it that wasn't an approving "hmm?"
Dr. Balis: I'm not here to judge you on your relationships.
Mr. Darden: Then I'm afraid you're not much use to me as a therapist.
Dr. Balis: I hope you are mindful of the emotional repercussions you are bound to experience by engaging in any involvement with your ex-girlfriend, sexual or otherwise.
Mr. Darden: I am. I think I am. But getting together with Sharon at least for one night a week has really put me in better spirits lately. It's good to hold someone in my arms at night from time to time, especially following a really good lay.
Dr. Balis: That may be so, but it wouldn't be wise to expect anything more from Sharon than what you have with her right now.
Mr. Darden: I know. I'm trying not to. But when I'm cuddled up with her, though, I can't help but think back to the time I had deeper feelings for her. It reminds me of how we used to see each other. Maybe that's a bad thing in the long run, but for now, it feels pretty damn satisfying.
Dr. Balis: Are you practicing safe sex?
Mr. Darden: Sometimes, when I actually have a condom handy.
Dr. Balis: Occasional protection is pretty worthless, don't you think?
Mr. Darden: I'm aware of that, Charles. But I know Sharon. I think she's pretty particular about who she sleeps with nowadays.
Dr. Balis: That may be so, but VD and AIDS don't harbor a class bias against any one group of people. Anyone can contract a disease, rich or poor, dirty or clean.
Mr. Darden: You're starting to sound like a god-damn public service announcement, Charles. I half expect Magic Johnson and Barney to waltz in here at anytime.
Dr. Balis: Just please, try to be careful, Tom.
Mr. Darden: Whatever you say, Charles. At least I'm finally getting some on a regular basis. My dick is a happy dick--a happy dick indeed.
Dr. Balis: Yes, well, it's clear that your mood has changed considerably since our last session.
Mr. Darden: Like I've said, it's been a good two weeks. What are you doing for Thanksgiving?
Dr. Balis: I don't have any specific plans. How about you?
Mr. Darden: I'll be at Sharon's. We'll probably spend most of the day thinking up new ways to use a turkey baster.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Mr. Darden: Come on, Charles, at least crack a smile, for Christ's sake. You really need to talk to somebody about your moodiness.
Dr. Balis: Are you still taking Zoloft?
Mr. Darden: Yeah, every day. Seems to be helping out a bit, don't you think?
Dr. Balis: All lewd comments aside, yes, it does appear that way.
Mr. Darden: Well, take one sexually repressed, anti-social young man and give him a room and a woman for a few hours, and you'll be amazed at how his outlook on things will change. But I suppose the chemicals you've put in me are doing the trick, too.
Dr. Balis: Very well, let's stop for today. Next time, I'd like to focus back on some of your earlier experiences, particularly your years with your step-father.
Mr. Darden: Oh, shit. You had to say the "S" word, didn't you? What are you trying to do, put me in a bad mood again so you can milk more money out of me?
Dr. Balis: Would it be okay to discuss him next time?
Mr. Darden: We'll see, Charles. It depends on what mood I'm in. Quite frankly, I'm feeling very good lately. In fact, I'm not so sure how much longer I want to continue coming to see you.
Dr. Balis: I believe we have more to discuss, but of course it's up to you.
Mr. Darden: All right. I'll see you in a couple weeks then.
Dr. Balis: Good. See you then, Tom. Have a happy Thanksgiving.
Mr. Darden: You, too.
Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

Button to Dr. Balis' Notes Doctor Balis' Notes on this Session

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