Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 11/22/96

Saturday, November 16, 1996

Sunday, November 17, 1996

Monday, November 18, 1996

10 am. Thirteenth Session with Joseph Mazurka. Joe came into my office at his "usual" time, although he didn't have a scheduled appointment. Frankly, I was quite surprised to see him. He started the session somewhat menacingly and, to be honest, I find him quite scary. He accused me of tipping off somebody at SII about his terrorist leanings which I of course denied. Apparently, he is being recruited by some actual terrorists. His ramblings before were just those of a braggart, but now he seems to have a direction. Now I believe that he has actually hooked up with some bad people who have some technical sophistication. Joseph is stupid enough to be led astray--he has lost any ability to distinguish desirable from undesirable consequences. I can imagine him planting an Oklahoma Federal Building kind of bomb--killing children and whoever else might be there. He just has no perspective on his actions and he is increasingly despondent over losing his family. I pointed out to Joseph that he might be desired as a suicide bomber or something, but Joseph just brushed me aside. I am increasingly blunt in talking to Joseph, but it seems to faze him not a whit. Nothing that Joseph said during the session though would constitute the kind of immediate threat to others which would justify my breaking the session's confidentiality. He is scaring people at work, too. I suggested that Joseph might get fired, but he said that nobody there would dare--they are all too frightened of him. He did admit though that he is on auto-pilot there. He is definitely sinking further into the mire and there doesn't seem to be a damn thing I can do about it. He wanted me to give him a prescription for marijuana, a request which I declined. He also thinks that he has seen Phylis at work. I'm concerned that he might confront her there and I would like to think of a way to prepare Phylis for that without betraying either Joseph or Phylis.

Tuesday, November 19, 1996

4 pm. Nineteenth Session with Sylvia Bows. Sylvia had a long talk with Rene's boy Robert, whose father died when he was an infant. Apparently, Robert takes very seriously Sylvia's decision to be a single mother. He has a rich fantasy life surrounding his imaginary father, who is very real to him. Even Rene has no idea of the extent of Robert's obsession with his dead father. Robert felt like he must come forward and tell Sylvia about a boy's need for a father. I was surprised to learn that Robert is another one who is keeping a chart of Sylvia's sexual liaisons while she was trying to get pregnant. Robert proposes to use the chart to help Sylvia's children in their inevitable search for their biological fathers. He expects that they will ask him for his assistance at some time in the future, and he will be there with his chart. Robert's revelations about his fantasy father hit Sylvia hard. She says that she has been thinking of little else since, and it made Richard's proposal all the more attractive to her. And she really doesn't want to have to marshal the strength to fight Tom. Tom has hired a live-in nurse to watch over Sylvia and to document her compliance or lack thereof with the court order. Sylvia is not allowed to drive herself, she must eat certain meals which are prepared for her. I can imagine how it must irk Sylvia, who is used to being truly independent. But Kelly is advising her to go along with Tom's wishes. Richard apparently decided to have it out with Tom over the telephone, suggesting to Tom that he should bow out gracefully. Tom let Richard have it, and Sylvia told Richard not to call her again at the house. There is something almost tragic about Richard. Despite what Sylvia says, and despite the fact that I have never met Richard, I can't imagine that he has a chance with Sylvia.

Wednesday, November 20, 1996

Another fax from the anonymous faxer arrived today. Thank goodness! After last week's fax, I would have been almost frantic if I had not received another one. Dreary as this one is, it is a great improvement over last week's and, at least, it is an indication that the faxer is still alive. In this image, a naked male figure stands against a giant stone wall, his head cradled in his arm which is resting against the wall. The figure is evidently weeping. Scale seems to be important in this image--the giant stone wall dwarfs the figure as does the composition of the image--a little figure on a large page, much of it white. Symbolic of the Wailing Wall perhaps, the stone wall is clearly something which is difficult to surmount and represents a formidable obstacle to the figure. Since I think of the faxer as a male who has substantial gender issues, perhaps the wall represents a physical and emotional hurdle which the faxer must overcome before reaching a place of mental repose. I really do look forward to these anonymous missives each Wednesday morning, in the same way that I look forward to seeing my patients (or most of them). The one week that he missed, I was really concerned. These messages have come to symbolize my San Francisco practice in some ways and the experience is all the more rich because of them.

2:30 pm. Seventh Session with Sarah Wright. Sarah called and asked for half an hour today as that was all that she could spare. Obviously I agreed to see her on short notice. Sarah was almost buoyant during our session--I had expected to see someone who had been crushed by recent events, but Sarah is bustling with energy, intent on starting this new phase of her life with a certain gusto. Perhaps after recovering from the surprise of discovering years of deceit coupled with suddenly losing a husband to homosexuality, Sarah found herself in a position which she sort of likes: she can guiltlessly abandon a marriage which was for convenience and not love, and she can minister to Robby during his decline, just as she had forecast in her fantasies about the future. Robby is apparently going to be under her dominion for some time to come. Sarah has decided to honor Jeff's request and allow Robby to move in to an in-law unit above their garage. She's telling the kids that Robby is giving up his dental practice and that he is quite sick, but she is not mentioning that he has AIDS. She plans to work until the end of the year and then to quit to be able to care for Robby full time. Sarah admitted that she doesn't know very much about AIDS, but I am afraid that she is probably in for a shock about AIDS in its later stages. The popular image in the media of the tragic patient who, quietly and stoically, becomes progressively more frail has little to do with the patients suffering from AIDS-related dementia that I've seen in my practice. And Sarah loves Robby. Her emotions are going to be ravaged as she tries to sooth his emotions in tumult as he comes to terms with his mortality.

Thursday, November 21, 1996

4 pm. Twenty-first session with Anna Green. Anna was getting a cold during our session. It would be lovely to get her cold just in time for a flight back east. It would give me the ability to spread some special holiday cheer. Apparently Anna discovered John, a programmer who has worked in her department for years and one with whom she has had a friendly rapport. She mentioned early on in our sessions that he had a crush on her, but she seemed to indicate that she wasn't interested, that he wasn't even a candidate for consideration. I wonder what changed? Has Anna been feeling so unwanted that she is now considering any offer? Anna describes John somewhat charitably as socially challenged and clumsy, although she managed to convey the impression that he was also a sweet guy--tall, thin, and awkward. I have the feeling that Anna really has been affected by seeing Bill with Ethel and wants to be in a relationship as a reaction. A relationship would put a buffer between her and the pity of her co-workers--she described them as clucking over her when they saw Bill's demonstrative public behavior with Ethel. It's hard when all the relationships are within one company. Modern life seems to thrust people together in isolated situations where they can have romances with those they work with or not at all. Anna describes the situation as incestuous, and I get her point. Anna made numerous references to her feelings towards me during this session, but they seemed more playful and less intense than in sessions past. Perhaps when she stops completely, I will be a little disappointed if I'm honest with myself. But no matter. When it came to the end of the session, we decided to skip a session because of Thanksgiving. I sensed some separation anxiety--she kept wavering back and forth between having a session early Wednesday which would be inconvenient for both of us or not at all. We're going to try not at all, although I wouldn't be surprised to get a call in New York from Anna over the long weekend.

Friday, November 22, 1996

Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Straight, Right, Later
Button to Charles Balis' Diary & Log Charles Balis' Personal Diary & Log

TCT Bottom Bar Links to Top of Page Pipsqueak Productions © 1996. All Rights Reserved.