Transcript of 40th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Sharon Lough, Friday, December 11, 1998 at 10:00 am.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Sharon. I see the cast came off.
Ms. Lough: Yeah, I went to the doctor last Wednesday. It feels weird walking without it. I'm all wobbly, like I'm drunk or something.
Dr. Balis: That feeling will wear off in time. Your muscles have probably atrophied, and it will take a while to regain strength in your legs. How is your foot?
Ms. Lough: It hurts if I walk on it too much, but other than that, it's okay.
Dr. Balis: I'm glad you're feeling better.
Ms. Lough: Actually, I think I'm coming down with the flu.
Dr. Balis: Your hair looks good, by the way.
Ms. Lough: Oh, thanks. I went to a hair salon. I couldn't afford it, and it was really expensive, but I did it anyway. I used the money I was saving for a car repair and had my hair straightened out. I'm totally broke now. I was going to take a class at the local community college, but I can't afford it. I decided it was more important to have monochromatic hair than an operational vehicle or an education.
Dr. Balis: It's good to establish priorities.
Ms. Lough: It's weird having short hair. It doesn't hang in my face anymore, and I can't hide behind it.
Dr. Balis: I think it looks nice this way. How is Rob doing?
Ms. Lough: Rob's taken a turn for the worse.
Dr. Balis: What happened?
Ms. Lough: He had severe stomach pains a few nights ago. He called Charlotte, and she took him to the emergency room.
Dr. Balis: Charlotte?
Ms. Lough: Yeah, my car needs a lot of work, and he didn't want to pay for a cab or an ambulance, so he called his lovely and charming ex-sow to provide taxi service.
Dr. Balis: I sense you're unhappy about this.
Ms. Lough: Very perceptive, Doctor. I guess I don't have the right to get angry. I'm not his spouse, so I don't have any rights.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. Did they find out what was wrong?
Ms. Lough: No, all the doctors are stumped. Rob is the mystery patient. They've been running tests, but they don't know why Rob is in so much pain.
Dr. Balis: Last week, you said Rob was diagnosed with the Peptic Ulcer disease.
Ms. Lough: Yeah, but now they think it's something else. Rob says this is a different kind of pain. He really is miserable. He walks doubled-over, and he wheezes and moans constantly. He never makes noises like that when we're fucking.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: He's been getting some great painkillers, though. Rob got a Demerol shot in the ER and a prescription for Percodan when they released him.
Dr. Balis: Don't even think about it, Sharon.
Ms. Lough: Yeah, I know. I'm getting loopy on the cold medication instead. I can't smoke marijuana with this cold--it tears up my throat.
Dr. Balis: What kind of cold medication are you taking?
Ms. Lough: Hmm, it's some generic brand of NyQuil, I think.
Dr. Balis: How much of that are you taking?
Ms. Lough: I don't know. A lot, I guess. I lose track after the first few swigs of the day.
Dr. Balis: You need to be careful about the dosage of over-the-counter cold remedies. Some of them contain alcohol, not to mention a number of other substances that can be habit-forming.
Ms. Lough: Yeah, I know. That's the best part of being sick.
Dr. Balis: Sharon...
Ms. Lough: There are other benefits, too. Like weight loss, for instance. My pants actually fit now.
Dr. Balis: Proper nutrition is very important when your immune system is weakened. You need to eat regular meals. You should also increase your intake of fluids, such as water and fruit juices.
Ms. Lough: But I like that lightheaded feeling I get when I chug half a bottle of Ny-Quil or Robitussin and don't eat all day.
Dr. Balis: When did you last eat?
Ms. Lough: I don't know. Time is so amorphous, it swirls and morphs like the colored globs in a lava lamp...
Dr. Balis: Sharon, please.
Ms. Lough: You know what else is great about being sick?
Dr. Balis: What.
Ms. Lough: Snot and phlegm. I've been very productive lately. It gives me a great sense of accomplishment when I can generate a lot of mucous. When I look into a tissue after I've blown my nose and see green globules, clinging together in a viscous syrup--like the globs in a lava lamp--I feel like I've done something worthwhile.
Dr. Balis: Let's discuss your feelings towards Rob's dependence on Charlotte.
Ms. Lough: Oh, do I have to talk about this?
Dr. Balis: The fact that you're being evasive indicates you're avoiding an important issue. It's best to confront things head-on, Sharon.
Ms. Lough: Wouldn't you rather hear more lava lamp analogies?
Dr. Balis: No. Has Rob returned home from the hospital?
Ms. Lough: Yeah, they released him the next day. Charlotte drove him home and left me a nasty note about my poor housekeeping habits. What a fucking bitch! She even wanted to move in for a week to look after Rob.
Dr. Balis: She did?
Ms. Lough: Rob said no, of course. Even in his weakened state, he knows what hell that would be.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: I'm really pissed at him. All you men are users. You just take and take, like a bunch of bloodsucking leeches. Once you drain someone dry, you move on.
Dr. Balis: Do you feel used by Rob?
Ms. Lough: He only kept me around so he could have someone to do his laundry and go out to dinner with. During a crisis, the first person he thinks of is Charlotte. He didn't even consider how that would affect me.
Dr. Balis: Have you discussed your feelings with Rob?
Ms. Lough: He doesn't want to hear it. Whenever I bring it up, he starts whining that he feels bad. I'm such a moron.
Dr. Balis: What makes you say that?
Ms. Lough: I'm stupid for thinking that he felt something for me. Ironic, isn't it? I went into this thing thinking it was only for practical purposes, and then I...
Dr. Balis: And then what?
Ms. Lough: Well, he grew on me.
Dr. Balis: Do you love Rob?
Ms. Lough: Ugh. Don't use the "L-word."
Dr. Balis: What word would you use?
Ms. Lough: I don't hate his guts or anything. Actually now, I kind of do. What I mean is that we got along okay. We're both socially inept curmudgeons befuddled by the intricacies of life. We've become like animals, taking pleasure from overeating, sleeping, bad sex, and good bowel movements.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: The ever loquacious Doctor Balis responds to my in-depth analysis with a monosyllabic grunt. How about saying "hmm-mmm," or "uhh," or even "ugga-mugga" once in a while, just for variety's sake?
Dr. Balis: In your previous relationships...
Ms. Lough: Do you ever listen to a word I say? I don't have relationships. I just find people to fuck. And I don't even enjoy that half the time.
Dr. Balis: Do you want a relationship?
Ms. Lough: Oh, I don't know. Maybe. It seems so labor-intensive. And I'm not a very good liar.
Dr. Balis: It's true, relationships are a lot of work. But you don't necessarily have to be an adept liar to have a lasting partnership.
Ms. Lough: Oh, but you do. Especially if you're a woman: "No, honey, your penis is actually above average in size, according to statistics. That's a very nice bookshelf you've built. You're not fat at all, I think it's cute the way your stomach hangs halfway down your thigh."
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Lough: I lack the requisite relationship skills. I'm doomed to be a ho.
Dr. Balis: Sharon, relationship skills can be learned...
Ms. Lough: Old whores are sad, aren't they? The ones you see on Capp Street are the worst. Some of them are old enough to be my mother. I wonder if I'll end up like that...
Dr. Balis: Sharon...
Ms. Lough: No, I'll probably end up as a senile spinster who talks to herself and carries dozens of shopping bags full of junk wherever she goes. I can see myself with granny glasses, wearing one of those funny hats.
Dr. Balis: As I was saying, relationships require communication skills which can be taught.
Ms. Lough: You can lead a whore to culture, but you can't make her think.
Dr. Balis: Sharon, please.
Ms. Lough: I'm not willing to work at it.
Dr. Balis: You're not?
Ms. Lough: What are you going to do, force me to take some bullshit workshop taught by that bitch that does the infomercials--you know the one with the collagen lips and a precancerous suntan? She always wears a pink suit...
Dr. Balis: Workshops can be useful...
Ms. Lough: I'd rather put a bullet through my head.
Dr. Balis: Learning relationship skills can benefit you in many areas of your life. I think you would greatly benefit from learning how to communicate more effectively.
Ms. Lough: What self-help, pop-psychology book did you just read? You're spewing jargon just like that hag on the infomercial. Barbara DeAngelis! That's her name. Do you know she was married to Doug Henning? I guess being married to a B-list celebrity makes you an expert on relationships.
Dr. Balis: Sharon, you yourself said that you find it difficult to approach people. Wouldn't you like to overcome that?
Ms. Lough: No. I don't like people very much. People suck. Animals are much more appealing.
Dr. Balis: If you could give it a try, it's not as difficult as you think.
Ms. Lough: It's hopeless. I can't even get through a sentence without saying "uh." You're never going to make an orator out of me.
Dr. Balis: Sharon, you say you aren't willing to work on your issues, and you're completely pessimistic about your future. But you come here every week...
Ms. Lough: I don't have anyone else to talk to. Besides, I need fuel for my masturbatory fantasies.
Dr. Balis: Sharon...
Ms. Lough: You don't think about me that way, do you? Even my lust is unrequited.
Dr. Balis: Sharon, please...
Ms. Lough: Is it because of my weight? Would you fuck me if I had a better body? There's this woman at work with a really great ass. You'd probably fuck me if I had an ass like that.
Dr. Balis: Sharon!
Ms. Lough: No, it's probably my lack of personality and social skills and all that shit.
Dr. Balis: If you're unhappy with that part of yourself, you can change. New behaviors can be learned...
Ms. Lough: Like deep-throating?
Dr. Balis: What?
Ms. Lough: Tell me, does it really feel different if a woman deep throats? Or is it mostly a visual thing? Guys just want to see their penis disappear into a woman's mouth. Because I'm not very good at that. I mean I can take it in all the way, but not for very long. I've read books about it, but nothing works--I have a sensitive gag reflex. It must be all those years of being bulimic...
Dr. Balis: We're almost out of time.
Ms. Lough: Maybe if I had regular practice...
Dr. Balis: That's enough, Sharon.
Ms. Lough: Another rejection. I'm deeply wounded.
Dr. Balis: Sharon, I'm going away on vacation.
Ms. Lough: For Christmas?
Dr. Balis: I'll also be gone for the month of January.
Ms. Lough: You'll be gone six weeks? That really sucks, you know.
Dr. Balis: My father had a stroke. I'd like to spend some time with my family.
Ms. Lough: Doctor Balis, the dutiful son.
Dr. Balis: There will be a doctor filling in for me, Doctor Whitestone. If you need to meet with someone, give her a call.
Ms. Lough: Maybe she can give me some deep throating tips.
Dr. Balis: Sharon...
Ms. Lough: So are you two humping or what?
Dr. Balis: She's a colleague of mine.
Ms. Lough: So you guys don't fuck? Is she butt-ugly? I don't want to see no ugly-ass shrink. Homely people are depressing. That's why I avoid mirrors.
Dr. Balis: She's a very qualified therapist.
Ms. Lough: Does she have big tits?
Dr. Balis: As a matter of fact, she does. Goodbye, Sharon. I'll see you in February.
Ms. Lough: Okay. Have a safe trip.
Dr. Balis: Thank you, Sharon. Take care and Marry Christmas and Happy New...
Ms. Lough: Sure.
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