Transcript of 21st Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Sharon Lough, Friday, June 12, 1998 at 10:00 am.

Dr. Balis: My God, Sharon! What happened? Were you in an accident?
Ms. Lough: I've had a bad week. It seems I either picked fights or provoked people wherever I went this week.
Dr. Balis: So what happened to your hand and your other foot?
Ms. Lough: I ran into this guy I used to know. I used to go out with him. Well actually, I used to fuck him. It was sort of a prolonged one-night stand that went on for several months.
Dr. Balis: Please continue.
Ms. Lough: I was standing at the end of the bar at Starbucks, waiting for my drink. And this guy I knew, Josh, came up to me and said, "Hey, don't I know you?" He was leaning up against the bar, and I was backed up against the wall. He had this smug smirk on his face that made me furious. Josh was a real asshole. When we were seeing each other, he used to make dates and stand me up and then call me on the phone and hang up just to see if I was waiting for his call. I remember once, when I went to his place, he spent nearly an hour on the phone with some other woman and just ignored me until I started to walk out. And the worst of it was that I was really nuts about him. He's the physical type that I find attractive. And we had really great sex. No matter how many times he insulted me, I kept crawling back.
Dr. Balis: I see. So what happened ?
Ms. Lough: He asked me, "What happened to your leg?" and touched my arm lightly. For some reason that set me off; I felt this flash of rage. When the barrista--or the snotty clerk or whatever you call them--put my drink on the counter, I threw it right in his face. It was scalding hot coffee. He screamed in pain, which made me laugh. I didn't know he could reach those high notes! It was too bad I didn't order a Grande. I figured he wouldn't hit a cripple, so I taunted him, cooing, "Aw, did that hurt?" He pushed me hard, and I lost my balance and landed on the floor. He got on top of me, grabbed me by my throat, and screamed, "You fucking bitch!" I thought he was going to kill me. I couldn't breathe for what seemed like several minutes. I fumbled around in my bag for pepper spray--I always carry it. When I finally found it and managed to get my finger on the nozzle, I sprayed him in the face. I inhaled some of the spray, too; it is really horrible stuff! He got the worst of it, though. He was really screaming then! But he still wouldn't let go of my throat. I had to spray him a couple of times before he loosened his grip and I could crawl away.
Dr. Balis: Didn't someone call the police?
Ms. Lough: Some security guards came and dragged him away. When I tried to stand up, I felt this shooting pain in my left foot. My head was throbbing, too.
Dr. Balis: Did you go to a hospital?
Ms. Lough: Yeah, but it took awhile. Starbucks must recruit employees from one of those special schools for kids with Down's syndrome. They have such boneheads behind the counter. They just stood there with blank looks on their faces, until I screamed for a fucking ambulance.
Dr. Balis: I see. What happened then?
Ms. Lough: I went to the emergency room. It turned out I had a sprained ankle--I must have twisted it when I fell. I also have a fractured wrist and a mild concussion. I'm not even sure how that happened. I guess I was lucky I didn't hurt my back or break my head open.
Dr. Balis: You've been through quite an ordeal. Did you talk to the police?
Ms. Lough: I told an officer at the hospital what happened, but I didn't file assault charges or anything like that. And Josh hasn't filed any against me, at least not yet. I guess he knows it wouldn't stand up in court--he's a lot bigger than me. What would he say? He had to defend himself against this little crippled woman half his size? Judging by the reaction of the people in Starbucks, most of them thought he was attacking me. We were off in a corner, and the place was dimly lit, so I don't think they saw the whole thing. After the incident, several people asked if I was okay. And do you know what's so disturbing about this?
Dr. Balis: What?
Ms. Lough: I actually enjoyed hurting Josh. When I play the scene back in my head, it gives me great satisfaction, especially hearing that falsetto shrieking of his. I felt this surge of power. It was really exhilarating, like getting high. If I could get away with it, I'd do it again.
Dr. Balis: Would you say that you attacked him maliciously?
Ms. Lough: I wouldn't say it was premeditated, but it wasn't in self-defense either. It happened in a flash. I didn't even have a chance to suppress it. When he touched my arm, all the anger I had swallowed, all the memories of how he used and abused me came back, all at once. Now I know what it means to be temporarily insane. I couldn't stop myself, even if I wanted to. But I wouldn't mind doing it again. I've had all kinds of sadistic fantasies ever since that day. I'd like to slip him roofies, and when he passes out, cut off his dick and sew it to his head.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. Did you and Josh have a bad breakup?
Ms. Lough: After he had stood me up for the millionth time, I told him to go fuck himself. I was so stupid. I was so smitten with him that I believed all his excuses. Josh always knew exactly what to say, too. He was really good at manipulation, especially at manipulating women. It just makes me sick knowing I slept with that egotistical piece of shit.
Dr. Balis: How are you feeling now?
Ms. Lough: Do you mean physically? I'm in pain, my whole body aches. I'm going to go on disability. There's no way I can go back to work like this. I mean, Jesus, look at me. I'm a basket case.
Dr. Balis: How are you emotionally?
Ms. Lough: I'm still fuming at Josh. I'm pissed off at everyone, at humanity in general. I knew my newfound idealism would wear off. People are so stupid; they're all vile, disgusting creatures. I can't stand to even leave the house. Do you know people don't even get out of the way when they see a wheelchair coming? They just stare with these blank expressions and don't even budge. When I say, "Excuse me, excuse me," they act like they're deaf, in addition to blind and stupid. It's not until I yell, "Get out of the fucking way! I'm coming through!" that they finally move.
Dr. Balis: Disabled people often complain that they feel invisible.
Ms. Lough: The next day, the all-knowing Godzilla struck again. When I didn't return to work, Godzilla came to visit me at home. How does she know where I live?
Dr. Balis: Maybe you mentioned it to her?
Ms. Lough: No, I didn't tell her. When we went to see her namesake on the big screen last week, we met outside the theater. How the hell does she know where I live? Does she follow me around or something?
Dr. Balis: She might have been able to get the information from personnel files, assuming she has access.
Ms. Lough: That's what's so weird. My personnel file wouldn't include my home address. When I moved in with Rob, I never gave HR my new address. Only Charlotte and Rob know where I live.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Lough: I was surprised when she came to my front door. She came with a get well card and yet another box of chocolates. I had to invite her in even though I didn't want to.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: So I tried playing hostess. I made her a cup of tea. She kept asking all these questions like: "Who else lives there?" and "Is he my boyfriend?" I knew she was on a fact-finding mission. She even tried to recruit me for the AIDS Walk.
Dr. Balis: The AIDS Walk? I think that this year you have a special dispensation
Ms. Lough: Godzilla said that she was going in a wheelchair with someone pushing her. And she said she could find someone to push me, too. She can't walk the entire course because of her so-called disability--the Chronic-Lazy-Butt-Disorder or whatever you call it. What a steaming crock! She's not disabled, at least not like I am. She doesn't have any broken bones, and she can walk just fine. She claims that she tires easily due to her many ailments. The real reason she needs a wheelchair is to help tote all her excess blubber.
Dr. Balis: I gather you don't want to participate in the AIDS Walk.
Ms. Lough: I participated a few years ago. I was appalled. It was a real commercial venture, not a nonprofit fund-raising event. They were selling all this overpriced junk with the "San Francisco AIDS Walk" logo: t-shirts, key chains, coffee mugs, dildos, you name it. I read in the Bay Area Reporter--a weekly gay paper--that the San Francisco AIDS Foundation is a corrupt, bloated organization that mistreats its clients.
Dr. Balis: I remember reading some criticism of them in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Ms. Lough: I've always been suspicious of big charities, especially after Bill Aramony's scandal with the United Way. It seems the bigger the charity, the more corrupt it is. The term "nonprofit" really has no meaning. The SF AIDS Foundation is full of fat cats--all those vice presidents and managers. It sickens me to think that most of the money raised for AIDS patients really goes to administrative costs. The people who run these charities make money off of the terminally ill. And I mean lots of money. I read that Jerry Lewis gets a few million every year for crying and sniveling at the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon. They use sick people as cash cows. Can you think of anything more repugnant?
Dr. Balis: I didn't think that Jerry Lewis got paid, but I'm not sure. You do appear to have very strong feelings about this issue.
Ms. Lough: Well, I came in with an open mind and had it closed for me. When I told Godzilla about this, she said I had all my facts wrong and we started arguing. She kept saying what a "good job" the foundation was doing and that it was a "good cause." I said I'd rather give my money to a homeless person with AIDS. At least then I'd know that the person getting it was needy and not some corporate cretin in a pinstriped suit.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: After about twenty minutes of bickering, I finally told her I didn't give a shit about AIDS patients or gay people. Most of them are drug addicts, fags, and prostitutes and they've got it coming to them. I told her they could eat their children, for all I cared. Godzilla left in a huff. I was relieved. I won't have to see her anymore, at least not for awhile.
Dr. Balis: Why did you get so angry?
Ms. Lough: I'm getting angry now just thinking about it. I hate it when people get so sanctimonious and self-righteous about a politically correct cause. Godzilla made it seem like an AIDS charity could do no wrong. When I politely told her I wasn't interested, she kept nagging and nagging. When I told her why I objected, she wouldn't even hear my point of view. She wouldn't even take a look at the "Accountability Now" or "ACT UP!" web sites. She's just as narrow-minded as those right wing religious conservatives. I can't stand these New Age, earth-hugging, politically correct fascists who think their brand of morality is beyond reproach. It's like those half-wits who promote bilingual education...
Dr. Balis: That's a subject for another session, I'm afraid. We're almost out of time.
Ms. Lough: Oh. I guess I've been ranting during my entire session. Maybe I missed my calling. I should host a radio talk show.
Dr. Balis: You are always free to vent here. But let me say that while you are free to express your opinions, making comments like "they can eat their children" will alienate people instead of winning them over to your cause. Sometimes, it's better to just let things go and agree to disagree.
Ms. Lough: Point taken. But sometimes, it's fun to argue, especially with someone who's wrong.
Dr. Balis: Point taken. Have a good week, Sharon. Get better.
Ms. Lough: Bye.
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Button to Dr. Balis' Notes Doctor Balis' Notes on this Session

Button to Sharon Lough's Transcripts Transcripts of Sharon Lough's Communications
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