Transcript of 12th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. Kester Langford, Tuesday, December 16, 1997 at 1:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Good afternoon, Kester.
Mr. Langford: Good afternoon, Doc.
Dr. Balis: How have you been?
Mr. Langford: I guess you must be referring to my canceling one session and not showing up for another, right?
Dr. Balis: I've been concerned...
Mr. Langford: I guess being really interested in your patients is part of your job. I appreciate it, really I do. That's why I'm sorry I had to flake out on you a couple of times. I actually thought that I had called and canceled that one time...between the holidays and all that's happening in my life, it's been hard to really focus on talking about what I'm going through because I'm so busy living it.
Dr. Balis: What have you been doing?
Mr. Langford: I've been overwhelmed with all of the life changes that my friends are going through. It seems like all at once, they've now decided that I'm the best one with whom to share their innermost longings and financial dreams and aspirations. I really don't know where to start today. What should I talk about, Doc?
Dr. Balis: What seems to be the most important thing to you personally right now?
Mr. Langford: That's part of the problem--deciding what my priorities are and knowing how I should deal with my friends, family, and lovers. Before I get to the melodrama between my brother, Me, and me, I want to tell you about this idea that my friend Joe called me about. Joe called me out of the blue, and we talked about the environment. He had gone to a seminar called "The Environment & You," and he was totally hyped on doing something in the Haight. He discovered that the local public schools are very inefficient at recycling. He wanted to know if I was interested in going into the recycling business with him. I explained to him that, although I agreed with the importance of living as ecologically as possible, it wasn't a high priority in my life. He was not happy with my response and went off on me. He told me to stop using acrylic paint--it was bad for the environment. That I should use only organic and recyclable inks and paints. About ten minutes after he hung up on me, he called back and in a very serious tone of voice told me to buy a truck and collect cans. And then he hung up again. I haven't heard from him in about a week, and I'm beginning to get worried. I called the halfway house where he lives, but the line's been busy. Joe's a Vietnam Vet, and his post traumatic stress syndrome flares up on him when he neglects to take his meds. How did I get off on this tangent?
Dr. Balis: What is important to you about your friend Joe and what he had to say?
Mr. Langford: Joe always makes me question my own values and take an immediate look at how I may be part of the problem instead of the solution. I have always held the view that if I'm doing something that is truly good for me, it would be good for others. That has been true to a point. But when he starts in on the inks and paints I use, I feel like I'm a hypocrite and that hurts a lot. I don't want to feel like a phony. Personal expression means everything to me, and the thought that my marks could have had a negative impact on the environment has an enormous impact on me. Fortunately, I've been able to solve that problem to my satisfaction just recently.
Dr. Balis: How?
Mr. Langford: I contacted the small business administration and the chamber of commerce and discovered that there are quite a few businesses that are based on using only recyclable materials. I contacted a printing company in Oakland, and I now have a steady supply of recyclable inks.
Dr. Balis: So are you proud of yourself for replacing your old materials with ones that have been recycled?
Mr. Langford: Sometimes the magic works. I'm feeling pretty good about what I've been able to do, but I can't wait to tell Joe about it.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Mr. Langford: I believe that for me, the idea of ecology and recycling represents a way of life that I agree with and want to promote in my life as much as possible. One of the reasons I like my job is that it is linked to my living arrangements by its very location, and I believe that I benefit the environment by not having to get into a vehicle to get to work. I have to admit that I didn't think about that when I took the job, but nonetheless, it does fit. Doesn't it?
Dr. Balis: It does fit.
Mr. Langford: I got several phone calls from my friend Eric. He has been working as a telemarketer for a company that sells bonds. He's working on getting his Series 7 Stock Broker's license, but he didn't call me about that. He went to a seminar called "Financial Clinic" last weekend at the Fairmont, and he was buzzing about stocks and making money in the stock market. It was really intense. He had me so crazy that I was ready to give him all my money just to get rid of him.
Dr. Balis: What made it so intense?
Mr. Langford: First of all, he was so gung-ho that even asking the same question over and over gave him pleasure and an excuse to explain these stock market strategies he learned. The one strategy I remember him telling me was rather intriguing. It involved buying 1000 shares of a stock at around $10 a share, and then selling someone the right--but not the obligation--to buy the shares from you at $12.50 for a premium of $1,000. So you get to keep the $1,000 no matter what. You don't have to buy a thousand shares, but it's easier to think in round numbers. It sounded too good to be true. So I called up a stock broker, and he confirmed that it was a legal stock market strategy for generating cash flow. My friends are really something, aren't they, Doc?
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Mr. Langford: Speaking about interesting friends, on the same day I received an outrageous letter from Evelyn, I had a very disturbing experience with Me.
Dr. Balis: What happened?
Mr. Langford: Evelyn, as you know, was getting married and told me how happy she was in her previous letter. But this next letter was full of anger and betrayal. She found out that the guy that she was going to marry was already married. She was so pissed that she got into a physical fight with him and knocked him through a plate glass window in the hotel where her wedding was supposed to take place the following day. They both ended up in jail for the night and are now arranging restitution. She said that she's lucky that she didn't lose her visitor's status and get booted out of the country. She's still working and doesn't expect to return to the States for at least two more years.
Dr. Balis: How does that make you feel?
Mr. Langford: I think that I have mixed feelings. Even though I found Me, I was a little jealous about Evelyn getting married. And so I'm somewhat relieved. On the other hand, I'm very sad because she's a good friend. And I don't like the fact that she's hurting right now and there's nothing I can do about it. I wrote her a thoughtful, caring letter. That's not very much, but it's all I can do for her right now. I really do love her. And on top of everything, I asked Me about coming with me to Paris, and she told me that I was getting too serious and she needed some space. I was shocked, but for some reason it didn't take much for me to recover. It didn't really bother me that much. We really have something special together, and I think that this is just a temporary glitch in our relationship. She's a lot younger than I am. I thought she would jump at the chance of coming with me--she's always talking about wanting to travel. I really don't understand women. I don't think anyone does...not even women.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Mr. Langford: I really want to talk about my brother now.
Dr. Balis: All right, whenever you're ready.
Mr. Langford: I don't think that I'm ever going to be ready to talk about Chester. That's just the way I feel. I called him collect--just like he asked me to--and he talked just as he used to talk to me, instead of his new enlightened way of communicating. When I started the conversation, I was ready to arrange to visit him...the only thing that's for sure these days is that things keep changing. He jumped back and forth in the conversation--friendly and open to our new emerging relationship and then gruff and critical of everything I told him I do. He finally said that he is going to have to push our rendezvous up a month or so--until after the holidays. I could barely speak into the phone, but I made the effort. I told him that when he was ready, he should call me. That was the end of the conversation.
Dr. Balis: How do you feel about this?
Mr. Langford: I'm really feeling sad and hurt. And I'm as angry as hell. Everything seems to be falling apart. Even my group show has been postponed. Now, on top of the holiday blues--that are pandemic in their own right--I've got no one to share Christmas or New Year's Eve with me. Everything was going so well, and then the bottom fell out. Maybe I'll go to Green Gulch and spend the holidays in Zen Meditation with my friend who studies there regularly.
Dr. Balis: You seem to be doing well even with all the disappointments in your life right now.
Mr. Langford: I appreciate the vote of confidence. With all that's been happening, I'm surprised that I'm handling everything so well. Maybe our therapy sessions are helping in ways that are hard to predict. Thank you.
Dr. Balis: You're very welcome. But the truth is that you're the one doing all the work.
Mr. Langford: It does feel like that sometimes.
Dr. Balis: Our time is up. Is there something you'd like to tell me before we end for today?
Mr. Langford: No. I think I've said quite enough.
Dr. Balis: Let's see, in two weeks, it'll be the 30th of December. I'm only taking crisis patients between Christmas and the New Year. How about the week after, that's Tuesday the sixth. Will I see you in three weeks, Kester?
Mr. Langford: Yes, I'll make every effort to be here. See you then.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye, Kester. And Merry Christmas.
Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

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

Button to Kester Langford's Transcripts Transcripts of Kester Langford's Communications
Button to Kester Langford's Patient File Kester Langford's Patient File

TCT Bottom Bar Links to Top of Page Pipsqueak Productions © 1997. All Rights Reserved.