Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 2/07/97

Saturday, February 1, 1997

Sunday, February 2, 1997

Monday, February 3, 1997

10 am. Telephone Conversation with George Landau. I had a brief conversation with George. George is ill with recurrent nausea so he canceled our session and missed work today. George said that Taylor will react badly to his absence even though George was scheduled for some training course rather than performing his normal duties. We rescheduled our appointment for this Thursday.

Tuesday, February 4, 1997

4 pm. Twenty-Eighth Session with Sylvia Bows. Sylvia is twenty-nine weeks pregnant now with the eldest twin--twenty-six with the youngest. We didn't talk about her health or pregnancy this time. It was all business--SII business. Sylvia has been cut off from the SII network, even after all the fanfare about setting her up with a command post at home. And, apparently, Tom has been logging on to Sylvia's personal e-mail account and deleting messages that he thought were somehow inappropriate--from a motive borne either of jealousy or, more likely, because he knows that something is up at work. Sylvia thinks that she is being fired. She called her own office and engaged her replacement, Nils Landors, in a fake interview by claiming that she was a reporter with Wired Magazine. Apparently her stratagem was successful, because she says that she and Nils chatted about how Ms. Bows gave it all up for motherhood. I got a sense that something like this was up when I talked to Hal. Sylvia is really angry about being dumped, and is threatening litigation and some nasty publicity. She was a newspaper reporter once and can probably wield the media with some effectiveness. Given their close professional relationship, I would have expected Lloyd to have at least talked to Sylvia prior to allowing Landors to shoot off his mouth to the press. I tried to urge Sylvia to focus on the task at hand rather than boiling over the injury done to her by SII, at least until the twins are born. Sylvia is too upset to follow this advice right now, although perhaps she will moderate her anger somewhat. She is sending Rene into SII to spy for her within her old department.

Wednesday, February 5, 1997

Another fax from the Anonymous Faxer was waiting in my fax machine this morning. I reset my outgoing fax message to read So now his confirmation sheet for this fax should show my e-mail address. I hope that he'll send me something--I'd like to make this conversation go both ways, instead of just being a passive receiver. The image today is quite tame although difficult to interpret--we see the well-dressed legs of a man and a woman standing facing each other while, at their feet, is a group of four tiny Victorian children and an older woman, a mother or governess. The large figures are dressed in suits probably from the 40s or 50s. The group of children almost look like porcelain replicas. Due to the styles of children's clothes, it is hard to tell what sex the children are. Two of them are clearly little girls, but the other two could be either male or female. The two groups--the giant legs and the children--are oblivious to each other in the image. They clearly are not interacting. Is this a commentary on the relation of the Anonymous Faxer's parents to him as a child? Was he sexless within a large family of siblings, cared for by a governess while his parents were as remote and unapproachable as giants? Perhaps this image is a commentary on female role models at different times in the past. Or perhaps it is on the relation between the sexes at different ages--the interaction of the children and the interaction of the adults. The meaning of the image is a bit obscure.

Thursday, February 6, 1997

2 pm. Third Session with George Landau. I'm finally making some headway into George's icy reserve. He's slowly getting a bit more comfortable during our sessions. Well not comfortable actually, but at least not actively hostile. George has personified his boss as all that is impersonal in society--valuing technology for its own sake, despite its dehumanizing effect. George sees himself as the last of the old guard, who sought the human touch even while denying someone's request. Mr. Taylor sees fairness in a mathematical division of resources, while George believes that a human can better divide resources according to a perception of need. George sees value in the exchange itself, while Mr. Taylor only desires an efficient allocation. This is the backdrop to George's fears that he is about to be ousted by Taylor. He sees the choice offered by Taylor--go into therapy or be fired--as a Hobson's choice, because he feels that Taylor is going to use the fact that George is in therapy as a lever against him. I tried to point out that this would have been a bad move by Taylor--you can't fire someone because they are sick. But George doesn't see himself as sick and, frankly, neither do I. Perhaps George is a bit tense and he feels a bit persecuted, but I'm not sure I am accomplishing any medical purpose in our sessions. In reviewing the DSM classification for Generalized Anxiety Disorder, I don't think George is a particularly good fit. I can serve as a counselor, and I think that has some value in George's case. I was also considering giving George a mild sedative, because he seems to have the ability to work himself up into a frenzy over the seemingly trivial. I was thinking that perhaps a tranquilizer would enable him to take a more dispassionate, objective view. I was considering a very mild dose of one of the benzodiazepines. But in reflection, I don't really think George is a very good candidate for these sedative-hypnotic agents. And I certainly don't want to give Mr. Taylor some cause to fire George, if George's suspicions are indeed correct. George is a bit of what used to be called a "Fuddy Duddy," but I like him and I feel protective towards him and his job. Even if he is a bit of a throwback to another era, I get the sense that SII is all the more human because of his efforts there.

4 pm. Thirtieth Session with Anna Green. Anna told me about her weekend with Martin. It is quite clear that Martin is a full-blown masochist who has coopted Anna into his fantasies. Anna seemed to have a good time, dressing up like a post-apocalyptic motorcycle mistress is how she put it, and playing the master part. But Anna liked it in an acting out a fantasy kind of way. I don't think she appreciates that Martin is going to want this as a steady diet. Anna believes that the next time it is her turn to play the slave, but I don't think that Martin will easily switch roles. When I questioned her on how she would feel if Martin wouldn't switch, she said that she had played in his fantasy world and that he would just have to learn to play in hers. But from what I know of S&M, I don't think Anna's insistence on turn about is going to be all that successful. I wonder if it is my responsibility to warn her about how seriously most S&M advocates view their fantasy role-playing. Somehow I'd feel uncomfortable trying to give Anna unsolicited advice about her love life. But Anna doesn't realize that the fantasy, in many ways, sexually defines Martin. She assumes that he is like her: able to derive pleasure from many different roles--like dress-up games. Oh, and even Anna believes that Martin has a serious "foot thing" as she put it.

Friday, February 7, 1997

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