Transcript of 38th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Katherine Lippard, Wednesday, March 18, 1998 at 4:00 pm.

Ms. Lippard: Hello, Doctor Balis.
Dr. Balis: Hello, Katherine. How are you this week?
Ms. Lippard: Not bad, not bad. How about yourself?
Dr. Balis: I'm okay. You seem to be in a good mood.
Ms. Lippard: I am. Listen, do you play the market at all?
Dr. Balis: I have some mutual funds. Why?
Ms. Lippard: I was just wondered if you kept up with the financial news at all. You know, Reuters Internet, the Wall Street Journal.
Dr. Balis: Just what I hear on the evening news. What are you getting at?
Ms. Lippard: Well, if you're interested, maybe I'll bring you some clippings. So, on to other things.
Dr. Balis: Katherine...
Ms. Lippard: I've been talking to Jake.
Dr. Balis: Oh?
Ms. Lippard: Yeah. Things are settling down. I understand that he was trying to be nice to Alex and to me. He may have been manipulative, but he didn't mean to be. I mean, he wasn't malevolent. And he did listen to me, after all. He was trying to do things right, to make me happy, and I lit into him like a rabid dog. I feel guilty about it. He really didn't deserve that.
Dr. Balis: He didn't?
Ms. Lippard: No. I really let him have it. Anyway, I apologized. Poor guy--he thought he was doing all this wonderful stuff, and it just backfired on him. He was trying to be romantic, like in the beginning. I shouldn't have yelled at him, I should have just explained how he hurt me and probably Alex. So I apologized, and we talked. We talked about thinking these things through before acting, and about being direct instead of going to all these elaborate lengths to surprise me, and about our relationship, and how I've been feeling lately that the magic is slipping away.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. How did that go?
Ms. Lippard: Well, the first discussion was trying. We went round and round, trying not to get angry or defensive, rehashing the same things. But since then, it's been getting better. I'm starting to appreciate that he's trying to please me, and he's starting to understand that I can't be bought like that. I'm gaining respect for his efforts, and he's gaining respect for my independence.
Dr. Balis: That sounds like progress.
Ms. Lippard: It is.
Dr. Balis: Are you pleased with it?
Ms. Lippard: Well, yes and no. It's nice that he's trying so hard and all. But on the other hand, why does it have to be such an effort? He works hard to be the man I want, and I work hard to appreciate it. Should it be so much work?
Dr. Balis: It's a common myth that good relationships just happen, like magic. Some effort has to be put into making any relationship last.
Ms. Lippard: Okay, I can see that. We're different people, we didn't exactly grow up together, so we have to make some allowances for that. That takes some effort, some give and take, some understanding, and some looking the other way. Sure.
Dr. Balis: And?
Ms. Lippard: And I still don't know if it's worth it. A good relationship with a good man will be worth the effort. But is this it? I mean, god, if he has to work so hard to hear what I'm saying, if he has to struggle to find ways to express himself, I don't think I can respect that. If I was getting a lot of satisfaction from this, it would be worth the effort--a good return on a reasonable investment. But this feels more like a money pit, like constantly struggling to make a house livable, and never getting to just relax and enjoy the view from the parlor.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lippard: So I'll give it a little more time. He really does seem to love me, and I think I love him still. It does still feel really great to wake up with him there beside me.
Dr. Balis: So you've resumed sexual relations?
Ms. Lippard: Not really. He's spent a couple of nights. The first time, it was just because we were up until two tiredly hashing things out. Then last weekend, we cuddled and held all night. We haven't had sex since the argument. I'm not punishing him--I don't want to use sex as a weapon or a prize, that would make me feel like a prostitute. But I just don't feel right about it until things get settled.
Dr. Balis: Okay. I'm glad to hear you're not withholding sex as punishment.
Ms. Lippard: Yeah, I hate that. Sex should be given, or not, based on how you feel. If you use it to punish or reward behavior, that's tantamount to just selling it. That's sick. I can't respect any woman who does that. And from what I hear, there's a lot of them.
Dr. Balis: Indeed. I'm still not clear--are you still considering leaving Jake?
Ms. Lippard: I've thought about it. But I don't want to do it because I'm mad. I want to get through this little crisis first and use it as more information to make an informed decision. If I dump him in the middle of this, I'll always wonder if it could have worked out. If I do it...well, in cold blood, so to speak, I can be sure I made a rational decision.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. I can't say I approve of your metaphor, but I understand your reasoning.
Ms. Lippard: Hey, how do you like that? I'm not worried about being abandoned by a man this time. I'm the one considering doing the abandoning. It's kind of a refreshing turn of events.
Dr. Balis: I guess you could say that.
Ms. Lippard: And I just did. Next topic.
Dr. Balis: Okay.
Ms. Lippard: Alex told me he confronted Jake about the paintings. Jake never mentioned it. I brought that up, too. He explained that he didn't want to open that can of worms while all the rest of this was stewing. But he agreed that I was right to tell Alex and that he should have just bought the paintings outright and told him what he was doing with them. Maybe then, Alex would have believed that he wasn't doing it out of charity. And he wasn't, really. He was doing it to please me.
Dr. Balis: And how are things between you and Alex now?
Ms. Lippard: Fine. And Alex is ready to forgive Jake, as soon as Jake will see him. Jake's been ducking him, trying not to let things get stirred up any more. But I've let him know that's not helping. And I made an excuse to Alex about it, but I'm not comfortable with that, either.
Dr. Balis: Yes, I can imagine.
Ms. Lippard: Okay. Enough of this, this is tiring. Page three, as the man says. I'm going to work at the Arts Alliance.
Dr. Balis: Good. I know you're excited about that.
Ms. Lippard: Yes, I am. The director's name is Josh Massey. He was an art teacher at one of the high schools until he got the same feeling I have about doing something for unlucky kids. That's what he calls them, not "underprivileged" but "unlucky." I like that. I also like something else he said that jibes right with what I was talking about last time. He said, "I'm just helping to shovel off some of the shit society has dumped on these kids, so they can get out from under it. After that, they're on their own." It's not about supporting them, it's just about helping out a little. His idea is to use art to boost their self-esteem, so they can see they have value and something to contribute to society. He's conducting classes himself, and he's got a couple of music teachers donating their time, and local movie and TV people to help with the theater. The theater, that's where I'm going to work. Alex is working on that right now, too. I'm going to ask Phil if he wants to get involved. I bet he will.
Dr. Balis: I like the sound of this.
Ms. Lippard: Come on down, I think we can fit you in somewhere. Josh is coordinating with San Francisco public schools, and United Way, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters. And he's trying to get something going with the juvenile courts. He's running mostly off a federal grant right now, but I'm going to help him apply to the United Way for money. I'll have to learn something about private fund raising. I might become their financial expert.
Dr. Balis: You may as well make use of your expertise.
Ms. Lippard: Yeah. So I feel pretty good about this.
Dr. Balis: I'm pleased that you've found a way to put your talents to work for your personal satisfaction. Congratulations.
Ms. Lippard: Thanks. I'm on my way over there tonight. One more thing before I go, I've been working on the dreams.
Dr. Balis: Oh, yes. How is that going?
Ms. Lippard: I've used your suggestions, and I've gotten a couple of things. It's mostly about Jake.
Dr. Balis: Well, that has been on your mind recently.
Ms. Lippard: Yeah, but that's not what the ravens have brought me. So I looked up Andrew.
Dr. Balis: Andrew?
Ms. Lippard: Andrew Cullem, the anthropology professor I met in the park.
Dr. Balis: Oh, yes. Why?
Ms. Lippard: I thought he might know some magic. He's going to help me on a dream quest.
Dr. Balis: What do you mean?
Ms. Lippard: He's looking into how some cultures encourage dreaming for a purpose. And he'll come up with a ritual or a potion, or maybe both, to help me realize what the ravens are telling me.
Dr. Balis: Katherine, this doesn't sound like you. You're planning on taking some "potion" to extract meanings from your dreams?
Ms. Lippard: Oh, I know it's all hokum. I took an anthropology class in college; I know that curses work only because people think they work. You'd call it the placebo effect. But just because the remedy is bogus, doesn't mean the cure is not real. All I'm looking for is some kind of focus, something to focus my mind on what I'm missing. If it takes a ritual to do that, fine. I'll take what I can get. I'll combine it with what you've taught me and see where it leads.
Dr. Balis: But I'd like to...
Ms. Lippard: Besides, I made a new friend. Andrew is fascinating, if a bit...well, professorial. He has a different take on the world and society. And he's educated. I don't have to watch my vocabulary around him. And he always understands what I'm saying the first time.
Dr. Balis: Well, that's a good thing. But about this potion...
Ms. Lippard: Yes. Well, I have to be going. See you next week. Wish me luck with my dream quest.
Dr. Balis: Katherine...
Ms. Lippard: I'm not stupid, Doctor. I'll be careful. And I have your number, too.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lippard: Thanks. Bye, now.
Dr. Balis: Okay. Good night, Katherine.
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