Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 09/25/98

Saturday, September 19, 1998

Sunday, September 20, 1998

Monday, September 21, 1998

Tuesday, September 22, 1998

9 am. Telephone Call from Madeline Trent. Madeline called to cancel her appointment. I'm concerned because she's scheduled to testify on behalf of her attacker on Friday, and I don't think she's adequately prepared. She seems to feel that she might not be called at all, and her attorney seems as if she's also putting her head in the sand. I'm afraid that if Madeline is called, she'll not stand up well under the pressure.

5 pm. Conversation with Lenore Marconi respecting Herbert Michel. I would have liked to talk to Lenore about the physical abuse she may be suffering at home. But I was torn between trying to help Lenore, who obviously needs my help, and satisfying my ethical obligations to Herbert, who after all is really my patient. I took an uneasy middle path which satisfied no one. Lenore is working two jobs, keeping the money she makes at the second one secret from Herb. She has a very low sense of self esteem and feels that she settled for Herb--the cook from Denny's--because she wasn't going to be able to form a relationship with someone better. Now she's pregnant. She doesn't want the child but doesn't want an abortion either. She's considering giving the child up for adoption. She said that Herb is nasty to her all the time--he acts like he hates having her at home, but he won't let her leave either. For all her self awareness, the truth is that I believe she's depressingly mired in her present circumstances and is likely to do little to help herself.

Wednesday, September 23, 1998

5 pm. Sixty-Second Session with Alex Rozzi. Alex told me that he has officially broken up with Luke. During the last few sessions, I could tell that Alex's feelings about Luke had grown cold and I felt it was just a matter of time. I didn't believe that Luke was dropping Alex, as Alex believed. Rather, I think Alex just lost interest. And with his new romance with Ted, the Benny look-alike, it was easy for Alex to move on. As he described the break-up, he seemed flat and unemotional, even though there was plenty of drama in the actual concluding moments. I have to remind myself that Alex is only 17. If he was 25, I would find his lack of commitment more serious. But at 17, Alex's behavior in a relationship is quite typical. Even though Alex's sexual history goes back to a very young age, he never learned relationship skills. Those skills are what most 17 year olds are learning with their first relationships. Alex is learning them, too, although he's had a lot more experience with sexual relationships than emotional ones. I encouraged him to look at his relationship with Luke from Luke's point of view. In Alex's other relationships, circumstances always gave his partner the power. Now the power balance in Alex's relationships are more fluid and need to be defined anew in each relationship. There was a fire at Ralph's. Ralph fell asleep after taking Vicodin and left a pan on the stove. Coincidentally and fortunately, Luke arrived at that moment, and acted to save Ralph. When Alex later came upon the scene with Ted, he found Luke and the firemen already there, with Ralph in an ambulence. Luke saw Ted and accurately inferred that Alex had not been sexually monogamous. Alex had a dream that strongly affected him--he interpreted the dream to mean that he was saving himself from himself. I think it most likely that the dream should be interpreted as a manifestation of the anxiety he felt as a consequence of both the fire and breaking up with Luke. Alex said that he's back in school--his last year of high school--and that he's not getting enough sleep. Ralph has a new nurse which should take some of the pressure off of Alex, at least in his role as caregiver.

Thursday, September 24, 1998

4 pm. Ninety-Third Session with Anna Green. Kathy is still missing, and no one has any idea where she's gone. Anna has lost quite a bit of weight and seems to be getting sick with increasing frequency. I'm worried and I told her so. She just shrugged off my concerns. Anna told me about her new work in the Futurist department at SII. Apparently, there is a very laissez faire attitude towards sex in her new department--the notion is that a high intellect somehow trumps old fashioned notions of conventional morality. They are taking a voyeuristic field trip to a motel in Oakland where the custom, when engaging in sexual activity in one of the rooms, is to leave the blinds up for the entertainment of the other guests. And Anna was apparently well briefed on the story of Sylvia Bows which is now common knowledge, apparently. She gave me quite an accurate rundown on the bare facts, including a little positive review on Sylvia's sexual prowess. Actually, most of what Anna told me about the Futurist Department revolved around a recreation that they share--spreading false rumors on the Internet for fun. Apparently, Lloyd is actively involved and encourages this. So they've made up a plausible yet fictional story which has Hillary Clinton seeking a form of perverse revenge against her husband because of his repeated infidelities and lies to her. Their story is that after Bill told Hillary that he hadn't done anything improper with either Paula Jones or Monica Lewinsky, Hillary forced Bill deeper into the morass by vigorously encouraging him to repeat his denials to the American people and in his deposition testimony, even though she knew he would be commiting perjury. Anna went into great detail about how Hillary controlled Bill's legal team and could decide not to settle with Paula Jones, etc. I couldn't see how any of this had anything to do with Anna herself, but she was captivated by the story and wouldn't be detered from telling it. Near the end of the session, Anna disturbed me by volunteering information about her new relationship with Martin. Although they're not currently having sex, he's living with her in an intimate way and it seems likely that they'll soon renew their relationship. He's cleverly avoiding pressing the issue, but I'm fairly confident that Anna's reservations about getting back together with Martin will soon be breached. Obviously, I'm not thrilled by that prospect.

Friday, September 25, 1998

10 am. Thirty-Third Session with Sharon Lough. Sharon actively tormented the one girl in class who she seemed to be developing a rapport with the previous week. She's the one that Sharon calls "Li'l Dyke." It turns out that the woman is a talented violinist, and Sharon, who acknowledged to me her talent, viciously criticized her playing and her androgynous looks. Sharon's theory is that she'll make much more of an impact--and a closer friend--if she's assaultive in her verbal conduct rather than flattering. Sharon's legendary tolerance also came into play with her ESL students. Our discussion on that topic led to a discussion of Sharon's childhood as an immigrant from Japan--a subject that I haven't heard much about. Sharon told me that her father wasn't home much, and that her mother came from rural Japan--she was not a particularly well-educated woman although she tried hard to learn English once she came to the U.S. Sharon arrived here when quite young and she learned English by watching Sesame Street. Sharon feels completely assimilated and believes that her mother is not. But Sharon doesn't feel a lot of sympathy for the students in her ESL class, regardless of any superficial similarity in their circumstances. She sees them as the products of a bilingual educational system that failed them and believes that they are failures because of an emphasis on cultural isolationism that allows people to live in ethnic neighborhoods and never assimilate or even learn English.

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