Transcript of 14th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Christina Herald, Thursday, June 26, 1997 at 12:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: How are you doing, Chris?
Ms. Herald: All right, I suppose. A little confused, a little frustrated, but other than that life is pretty well laid back right now. Again I've hit a lull in the crisis schedule. I have nothing to do, no people to manage. I'm a little down, to tell you the truth.
Dr. Balis: Why, because your life is relatively calm just now? Your much happier in a crisis than when it's calm.
Ms. Herald: Call it the family curse. I'm only happy when it rains, and all that. You ever listen to Garbage?
Dr. Balis: Not really my style of music, but I think I know the song you're talking about.
Ms. Herald: Yup, that about sums it all up.
Dr. Balis: You're not that bad.
Ms. Herald: I know. I'm cute, and that makes it all better.
Dr. Balis: Very funny. So what's on your mind today?
Ms. Herald: I'm kind of floating. Debating the merits of taking a trip somewhere.
Dr. Balis: Yeah? Where did you want to go?
Ms. Herald: I don't know. Maybe Ireland, Scotland, British Isles kind of thing. Run through the moors screaming "Heathcliff!!!!"
Dr. Balis: Interesting mental image.
Ms. Herald: I thought you'd like it.
Dr. Balis: Why do you pick the United Kingdom?
Ms. Herald: Huh?
Dr. Balis: I mean, what is it that is drawing you to that part of the world?
Ms. Herald: Because I have a sexual fetish for the accents. Don't look at me like that, I'm only kidding. I think I'd like to go there because you see all these pictures of green countryside, and big wide fields, rocky cliffs, ruins of ancient castles, sheep...
Dr. Balis: Sheep?
Ms. Herald: Just generally pastoral and peaceful. If I have to breathe smog much longer, I'm going to choke.
Dr. Balis: I still don't see what sheep have to do with it.
Ms. Herald: Forget the sheep, okay? The point is I need a vacation!
Dr. Balis: But why would you want to spend it with sheep?
Ms. Herald: Oh, you are a funny man, aren't you? Ever think of going down to open mike night at the Punchline? The sheep are only there to look at, Doc. Don't sweat the sheep.
Dr. Balis: There, see? I gave you something to get keyed up about. Do you feel better?
Ms. Herald: Yeah, I guess I do. You know me too well, Doc. One day I will find a way to even the score, just you wait.
Dr. Balis: Sure.
Ms. Herald: Whether or not you're my shrink, you're going to get smacked in a minute.
Dr. Balis: Like it? It's my newest form of therapy.
Ms. Herald: Based on the Smartass Principle, no doubt. Anyway, all kidding aside, I really think that I am going stir crazy.
Dr. Balis: Is it just restlessness?
Ms. Herald: I'd be more inclined to call it a general feeling of disgust. I can scarcely stand to look at anyone right now. Jonny, Dad, Malcolm, even Bessa are beginning to wear on my nerves. It's weird, like I feel trapped in a room that's too warm all the time. Stifling. I almost wish I was moving to a new city with a new job, because then I would at least have the feeling that there's something new and exciting going on. I just feel lethargic, like I can't be bothered to put the energy into anything. If I went to England, I could stay with Mom. She'd love it--it would give her a chance to play the doting parent for a week or two. I would have to put up with Thaddeus the twink, but other than that, it might be fun. I heard that they restored the Globe Theatre and are putting on Shakespeare productions in it. Talk about a thrill! I'd get to worship at the altar of the literary god himself and see things as they were meant to be seen. Plus, with Mom and Thaddeus Twinkie-Butt both working in the theatre, I could probably get tickets easy and cheap. Well, relatively speaking.
Dr. Balis: It seems to me a plan is forming.
Ms. Herald: It might just be at that. Oh, hey look! See?
Dr. Balis: Is that a real tattoo?
Ms. Herald: Yup it is. Very real. And I don't mind telling you that it hurt like a bitch.
Dr. Balis: I'll bet. You didn't have that last Thursday, did you?
Ms. Herald: Nope. I actually only got it yesterday. You think it's trashy?
Dr. Balis: Not too terrible. If you had gotten a Harley-Davidson logo or something with the word "Mother" on it, I might find that a bit tacky. The Celtic knotwork is actually pretty classy.
Ms. Herald: Yeah, I thought so too. I figured if I was going to do it, I might as well get something that wouldn't embarrass me too much in thirty years.
Dr. Balis: In thirty years everyone your age right now is going to have tattoos and holes in strange places anyway, so it doesn't matter too much.
Ms. Herald: My age, my ass. I can't be too much younger than you.
Dr. Balis: I'd say more than ten years, easily. I'd have to read your file again to know exactly.
Ms. Herald: I'm twenty-three, if that helps.
Dr. Balis: Okay, more than ten years. Definitely more.
Ms. Herald: How much more?
Dr. Balis: I'm thirty-seven. Anyway, tell me about this. I'm intrigued.
Ms. Herald: Okay. Well, I was out doing some errands, nothing terribly unusual. I'm standing in the checkout line at the grocery store and I start talking to this guy. Looks like your stereotypical tattoo artist. Long ponytail, bandanna, all the ink up and down his arms, but my age, maybe a little older. I start asking him questions, you know how curious I can be. He gave me his card as he was leaving, said if I was interested to stop by and he'd show me his portfolio. I was thinking, "Yeah, right, it's the tattoo artist's version of etchings." But then I got one of my wild impulse things going on, and I decided that I would make Jonny and Greg come with me to the place. In we go, and I was pleasantly surprised. Instead of being grimy and dirty and stuff, it looked like a goddamned dentist's office. Very clean, the autoclave chugging away merrily in the corner, all that good stuff. I found out that Greg has a tattoo as well, and he was telling me about where it hurts the most on the body, stuff like that. So out comes Lance, that's the guy's name. I thought it was a good omen. He starts showing me his artwork, and some of it was really unbelievable. Before I knew it, I had picked out the what and the where I wanted it, and was in the chair. Greg watched him like a hawk, making sure the needles were new and everything was sanitary and clean. Jonny just held my hand and looked a trifle green. It didn't hurt too badly. I was actually really pleased with how it came out.
Dr. Balis: It is nicer than most I've seen.
Ms. Herald: Cool, I'll take you down there and we'll get you a big one that says Born to Psychoanalyze, or something like that.
Dr. Balis: I think I'll pass, thank you.
Ms. Herald: The only real problem is that if I ever find a man fool enough to marry me, a backless wedding gown is out.
Dr. Balis: Why? Your future husband will probably know it's there already.
Ms. Herald: Do you think I want my grandmother to have a heart attack? She had a hard enough time with Malcolm's tattoos! And I don't even want to think about Mom's reaction. She doesn't care if I have one, so long as it's not seen in polite company.
Dr. Balis: In some cultures, it's considered a rite of passage.
Ms. Herald: Yeah, well not in the culture of one mother named Lily Elisabeth Strauss Herald soon to be whatever Thaddeus' last name is, I always forget that. So I wear a non-backless wedding dress. Or get married in jeans on top of a volcano somewhere, which I always thought I would prefer anyway.
Dr. Balis: Somehow I can see that.
Ms. Herald: See, you appreciate the idea! I mentioned it to Malcolm and he kind of wrinkled his nose. Seems he wants the big gaudy circus with the Catholic priests and the whole nine yards. Ew, ew, ew.
Dr. Balis: Did anyone ever tell you that you are constantly full of surprises?
Ms. Herald: I feel it is my sworn duty to keep the rest of the world on it's toes. But I'll bet your patient schedule would be damned boring without me around, wouldn't it?
Dr. Balis: I don't know about boring, but a good bit of the laughter would be gone, that much is certain.
Ms. Herald: I'll accept that as a yes. Hey, Doctor?
Dr. Balis: Yes?
Ms. Herald: Do you have any idea where Eliza has been? I haven't been able to get ahold of her.
Dr. Balis: Um...
Ms. Herald: Breathe, Doc. Remember to breathe. That's a good Herr Doktor.
Dr. Balis: I thought you didn't know that I treated her.
Ms. Herald: Oh, I knew. I just didn't think anything of it. It's not like a personal affront that you didn't tell me or anything, because I know you really couldn't. But I'm getting worried about the chick, and I can't really get anything out of her stepfather on the phone. So I was hoping you'd have some idea.
Dr. Balis: Chris, you must know that I can't say anything, really.
Ms. Herald: I know. I didn't even really want to mention it because I didn't want to give you a complex or anything. But I'm that worried about her. It's not like her to go for so long without calling.
Dr. Balis: I understand, Chris, and your concern is touching. I can say that she hasn't been injured or something--you don't need to worry about her having been hit by a car or something. Here's an idea. Why don't you send a card or something nice to her in care of her parents? They'll get it to her, I'm sure.
Ms. Herald: Good idea. Now that I have the advice, forget I said anything. I didn't mean to put you on the spot like that, and I'm sorry. It won't happen again, by unspoken agreement. I know it must put you in a tough position.
Dr. Balis: It's all right. You were motivated by genuine concern, so I really can't be angry at you. Not that I would be anyway. know what I mean.
Ms. Herald: Yeah, I know. But still, you're a nice guy and everything. I don't want to see you get in ethics trouble.
Dr. Balis: I don't think it will come to that.
Ms. Herald: Hey, we spent so much time trading smartass comments at the beginning that the time just flew. Speaking of which, I was sort of wondering...
Dr. Balis: Yes?
Ms. Herald: Do you ever think that I'm wasting your time? I mean honestly, I'm sure you have patients with bigger, more worrisome problems than me. And here I walk in, flipping off at the mouth telling you the trivial little details of my life...
Dr. Balis: Stop. I do not think you're wasting my time, Chris, and more importantly, I don't think I'm wasting yours. I think our sessions are helping you. I don't think you've mentioned a panic attack in a long while. I think that our sessions are helping you to understand yourself and your priorities better than you could by self reflection. And that's a pretty good reason to continue therapy.
Ms. Herald: Yeah, but...
Dr. Balis: No buts. I am not going to let you walk out of this office until you promise that you'll walk back in next week. All right?
Ms. Herald: Oh, okay. Since you insist. I'll come back and regale you with more silly stories any old time you like.
Dr. Balis: Same bat time, same bat channel.
Ms. Herald: You've got it, Doc. See you next time.
Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

Button to Dr. Balis' Notes Doctor Balis' Notes on this Session
Button to Christina Herald's Diary & Log Journal, June 20 to June 25, 1997

Button to Christina Herald's Transcripts Transcripts of Christina Herald's Communications
Button to Christina Herald's Patient File Christina Herald's Patient File

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