Transcript of 36th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Katherine Lippard, Wednesday, March 4, 1998 at 4:00 pm.

Ms. Lippard: Hello, Doctor Balis.
Dr. Balis: Hello, Katherine. How was your week?
Ms. Lippard: Oh boy, where do I begin? As you can see, I still have the cane. But I think I'll dump it at the end of this week; the dizzy spells are few and far between now. I've started driving again. Jeff has been picking up a lot of the slack around the office while I've been slow on my mental feet, and I've realized something--I'm still doing a lot of the stuff I used to do when I was in his position. I'm supposed to be the idea person now, the big thinker, the one who jets off to Dallas or Redmond or New York and makes the big deals. Instead, I've been tying myself to the office, doing the little bookkeeping shit I should have sloughed off on my assistant weeks ago. And I'm still managing the office, which Frank never did. Plus, Jeff mentioned he was glad to have a little more responsibility, more challenge. So I'm giving it to him. I'm going to become more the executive, less the manager.
Dr. Balis: Good for you. Do you feel comfortable in that role?
Ms. Lippard: Well, see, you've done it again. I'm not entirely sure I do. I like being in control, managing, planning, organizing. I'm not that sure of what exactly I'm supposed to be doing as a chief executive. Maybe it's just a transition period. Or maybe it's not really my role to do a lot. Maybe I just take the fall when things go wrong.
Dr. Balis: Do you really think that's the case?
Ms. Lippard: Well, a little. Anyway, I don't mind; I'm getting paid well for it. I don't know, maybe I'm just in an adjustment period.
Dr. Balis: Could be.
Ms. Lippard: But I do know I shouldn't be managing the office. I was checking up on a few projects one day last week, and this woman was there from some other department, and she kept looking at me like I was crazy. And it got me thinking: I'm not supposed to be dealing with the staff. That's why I have an assistant. It seems like I failed to learn that lesson from Frank. But I've learned it now.
Dr. Balis: Good.
Ms. Lippard: Okay, other office news. Alex came to see me at work last week. That caused quite a stir. Bold-ass gossips in that office. They were whispering at each other and casting furtive glances our way, all but pointing fingers. And they knew I could see them. To think I hired some of those people. I swear they weren't like that in the interviews.
Dr. Balis: I'm sure they weren't. Job interviews are tricky; people try to only show you what they want you to see.
Ms. Lippard: Yeah. Well, that's Jeff's problem now.
Dr. Balis: So it is.
Ms. Lippard: So Alex came to ask when I was going to see the baby. He's so excited about his new little brother, you'd think it was his son. Alex is so sweet. You should have seen how concerned he was when he saw the cane and heard about the concussion.
Dr. Balis: It sounds like he's a good friend.
Ms. Lippard: Yes, he is. So with Larraine asking to see me, and Alex so excited about little Aaron, I went to Larraine's home. Larraine nearly died from the delivery. I didn't think things like that happened any more. Anyway, I guess her near-death experience made an impression on her. This was not the same woman who went off on me right in front of her vice president. She was kind, apologetic, and full of remorse. She explained that she was afraid I was taking her son away from her, threatening her motherhood somehow. Doctor Balis, does pregnancy make a woman insane?
Dr. Balis: I wouldn't say that exactly. There is a lot of stress associated with carrying a baby, quite a weight of responsibility. Couple that with a massive influx of hormones and odd chemical changes in the body associated with supporting another life--I think some psychological effects are inevitable. Plus, there may be other stressors in Larraine's life that you know nothing about.
Ms. Lippard: Could be. Or it could be that she realizes that she has to come back to SII at some point and doesn't want to be on my bad side.
Dr. Balis: You don't think she was sincere in her apologies?
Ms. Lippard: It's hard to tell. It's not like I know her very well. I've met the raving bitch she was a few months ago and then this sweet new mother now. Two different people. And neither may be the real Larraine Rozzi. I think I'll let time be the judge.
Dr. Balis: That sounds wise.
Ms. Lippard: But she let me hold the baby.
Dr. Balis: Oh?
Ms. Lippard: Encouraged me, actually. Female bonding ritual, I suppose. But that baby is small. I mean, really tiny. It's amazing something that little can be a human being and function independently. Well, you know what I mean.
Dr. Balis: Yes. Didn't you know your niece and nephew when they were babies?
Ms. Lippard: Yeah, but they were full term. This made me think of them, though. It's about time for a visit. You know, Doctor Balis, I really like kids, but older kids who are just starting to really realize how much world there is out there and wanting to explore it. It's the adventure of discovery; I want to be part of that. Which brings me to the big news of the week.
Dr. Balis: And that is?
Ms. Lippard: Jake. God, what an asshole. Sweet, lovable, generous, kind asshole. Turns out he's the one who bought Alex's paintings.
Dr. Balis: Oh?
Ms. Lippard: Yeah. He was going to give them to me for my birthday last Monday.
Dr. Balis: Why so late?
Ms. Lippard: Because he fucked up. He thought it was March 2nd, instead of February. At least he got the day right.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lippard: So he was going to give me these three paintings for my birthday, but after hearing me talk about volunteer work and the arts and children, he decided to donate them, in my name, to this new youth arts center out near the park. Oh, don't let me forget the park, there's a story there, too.
Dr. Balis: Okay.
Ms. Lippard: Wasn't that sweet? And stupid? I can't decide if I should be pissed or thrilled.
Dr. Balis: Why would you be angry?
Ms. Lippard: It's so manipulative. He jerks poor Alex around, spinning this tale about an anonymous buyer. Then, he puts my name on a gift I didn't give. And Alex is going to think I did it out of some sense of pity or charity. Where does he get off fucking with our lives--and our relationship--like that?
Dr. Balis: Okay, I can understand all that. So why would you be thrilled?
Ms. Lippard: Well, mostly because he heard me. I've been talking about wanting to get into volunteer work with children and about my interest in theater and the arts, and he put two and two together and came up with three, as it turns out. But he was trying to do something that fit in with what I wanted and that would make me happy. He was damn clumsy about it, but he was trying. I have to give him that.
Dr. Balis: Did you ever have that discussion with him?
Ms. Lippard: Yeah...well, sort of. It kind of all came out at once. See, he presented me with this letter of appreciation from the Bay Area Youth Arts Alliance at supper Monday, for my "birthday." So of course I was mad that he screwed up my birthday so bad. And then, I was mad that he went behind my back and jerked Alex around. See, he was motivated by charity for Alex. He thought he could make Alex happy and me too, at the same time. But it had nothing to do with Alex's work; he just felt sorry for him. So then, as I'm building up this good head of steam, I decide that since we're arguing anyway, it would be a perfect time to bring up this matter of communication. I guess that wasn't the best judgment on my part. And of course, it backfired on me. It turned out that the idea to donate Alex's paintings was sparked by listening to me. But that just happened recently, as I was making serious efforts to engage him in conversation. And that was a real effort at times, too.
Dr. Balis: So it sounds like you two had a serious argument.
Ms. Lippard: Well, there wasn't much argument to it, really. He didn't have much to say. He was so proud of what he had done, how he had figured out this wonderful gesture, and then it all went to hell on him. And there I was ranting about how he never listens, and he had come up with all this by listening to me. Finally, I just sent him home. And he was like, "Uh? I thought I might spend the night." I was thinking, "Get a clue! I'm pissed. You're not getting any tonight."
Dr. Balis: Uh huh.
Ms. Lippard: But I feel kind of bad now. I know he's confused. And I guess I was kind of hard on him.
Dr. Balis: You haven't spoken since then?
Ms. Lippard: It was just two days ago. I think I'll call him tonight.
Dr. Balis: And say what?
Ms. Lippard: Apologize for blindsiding him, to start with. Then, try to have a rational conversation about it--explain exactly why I got so upset.
Dr. Balis: Do you feel your anger was justified?
Ms. Lippard: Maybe not with the intensity I showed. But I think I had a right to be upset. He was pretty clumsy about it. If he'd have stopped to think, he would have realized how insulting this will be to Alex and that I might not appreciate him putting me in an awkward position of having to explain to Alex about his paintings. His heart was in the right place, but that doesn't excuse his actions. Does it?
Dr. Balis: Does it?
Ms. Lippard: Not to me. He could have thought this through better. He's not stupid.
Dr. Balis: Have you told Alex?
Ms. Lippard: Not yet. I know I have to before he finds out for himself and gets the wrong idea. I hate to do it, though; he has such a high regard for Jake right now. He's so happy that his paintings sold. This is totally going to spoil it for him.
Dr. Balis: But you have to tell him.
Ms. Lippard: Yes, of course I do. You know, one good thing may come from this.
Dr. Balis: What's that?
Ms. Lippard: I didn't know about that arts council. I went by there yesterday. Hey, how do you like this--three days in a row without rain? So I went by there, and there they were, three original Rozzies. And the place has art classes and dance. And they're building a theater. They coordinate with local schools, and they need volunteers. I'm doing that United Way committee, but that's only two nights a month. So I think I'll look into this. And it's something Alex might get into, too.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. So do you know how you're going to approach Alex about what happened?
Ms. Lippard: Yeah. And I know how I'm going to approach Jake, too. I feel one of those long, heavy conversations coming on. The kind that go on until one-thirty in the morning and leave you totally exhausted. And I've got a meeting in the morning--marketing, engineering, Lloyd of course, some others. Something big's coming down. Maybe I'll put Jake off until tomorrow.
Dr. Balis: Don't put it off too long.
Ms. Lippard: I know, I know, it's boiling right now, and I have to strike while the iron is hot. Tomorrow, I promise.
Dr. Balis: Good. Time is almost up. Do you have anything else?
Ms. Lippard: Um, seems like I did. Shit, yeah! You were going to let me forget my park story.
Dr. Balis: Oh, so I was. I'm sorry. Please tell.
Ms. Lippard: I went to the Arts Alliance yesterday, which I told you is near the park...
Dr. Balis: Golden Gate Park?
Ms. Lippard: Yes. Then, I decided I had some time to kill and some things to think about, so I thought I'd walk around the park, totally forgetting the damn thing's three miles long. And of course, there were crows. They're with me all the time now, watching through the windows at work, calling to me from the trees outside my house. And every time one calls to me, I think of my father. Not sad thoughts, not particularly happy, either; he just sort of comes to mind. So the crows are in the park, and I see this man looking at them. And he saw me watching him, and he said the weirdest thing. He gestured to the crows and said, "Are they yours?"
Dr. Balis: That is odd.
Ms. Lippard: But he seemed pleased by the idea. Turns out he's a professor of anthropology at U.C. Berkeley. He told me that many cultures consider crows, or more properly ravens, to be messengers from the spirit world. Also, in Native American lore, the raven is a powerful totem--a spirit guide--involved in helping one find a true path, a true purpose in life.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lippard: So that's something to think about. The ravens don't bother me any more. Now, I'm wondering what they've come to tell me.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. How are you feeling about the accident lately?
Ms. Lippard: No problem. I've started driving again, and it hasn't bothered me. I do feel pretty lucky to be alive, and I'm thinking I may as well be doing something with my life, since it could come to an abrupt end at any time. But the...uh, the psychic aftermath of the wreck is not that bad anymore.
Dr. Balis: Good. But there may still be something there. We could talk about it some more if you want, next week.
Ms. Lippard: We'll see. I'll think about it tonight and see if there's any distress left.
Dr. Balis: Okay. See you next week then?
Ms. Lippard: That's my cue to go. Okay, until next time.
Dr. Balis: Good night, Katherine.
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