Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Stinkin' Badges

This started out as an email to Guy Friend before class today, but I figured what the hell, I might as well infect all of my readers with my ever-evolving, yet charming brand of 296.89 (the basic differential which has a specificity to it for me that's not yet formally a clinical statistic, because I'm THAT weird). If you don't routinely carry around the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, IV-TR, phooey on you. If it makes you feel any better, Guy Friend doesn't carry one, either, though he has some pocket doohickey on his own diagnoses and how-to's, etc. (Hey! Spell-check thinks "doohickey" is a real, correctly spelled word. Glory!) If memory serves me correctly, which in all Guy Friend matters, it does, his lab coat pockets are packed to the gills with to-do lists, little charts, calendars, pocket guides, and sometimes Mrs. Guy Friend will lovingly throw in a Hershey's kiss or two (NO! I didn't rifle through the man's pockets. He either, over time, a) spilled them out looking for something in front of me or b) told me about the chocolates, which yes, made me want to roll my eyes, for obvious reasons, er, reasons obvious to everyone except, it appears, Guy Friend.) 

I shot him a someecard this morning before school (NOT THE ONE ABOVE) indicating that "I'd climb the highest treadmill incline for him," which is indeed true, and solicited his advice on how to best retain my thin frame amid this "healthy" looking gut that's emerged since I, let's be honest, started eating food again, which is really weird and awkward when you have an eating disorder and you're pissed about a skinny jeans issue. (Some call it the dreaded "middle-aged spread," though mine is more of a pooch than a "spread.") While the anorexic, starvation, smoking diet was extremely effective, to the point of, well, kinda almost killing me, I think the better route would be to get some physical exercise. There's always the yoga studio @ Adler, but I'm infamously, chronically imbalanced, klutzy and I'm not sure a class is my avenue, typically preferring solo workouts. Some band friends recently joined this cheap-ass but nice gym in the area, so I'm toying with the idea of getting back into my pre-Chicago firefighter physical agility test shape, minus the rabid alcoholism and hangovers. (That was a couple of failed career plans ago. I was strong as a bloody ox at one point. But as I said before, my friend, Robbie, said he'd never mess with a chick who could, at one point in her life, haul 75lb of fire hose over her shoulder up 5 flights of stairs, which I could at the time.)

Anyway, I was on a matter of law & order with law & order re: local shenanigans in my municipality (talking to a cop...in shorts....come on...) when Guy Friend phoned this evening. (And I was thisclose to leaving Luke at the "Baby Safe Haven" in the police station for acting like a brat. Hey, y'all, there's no AGE LIMIT on the Baby Safe Haven SIGNAGE.) Guy said I should shoot him a text or an email (however he phrased it--it involved this world wide web/electronic communication phenomenon that's assuredly going to out-style itself just as the TV dinner has). I still have like 25 pages of post-Freudian theory to read before my 8am class tomorrow, but I'm saving that for when I am more ready to go to bed, because it's extraordinarily boring. In my opinion, we spent about 100 pages and 94 slides on too much Freud and approximately 75 pages on not-enough-Jung. But if I had to declare a theory in stone, which my Therapy professor would like us to do soon, even as first-semester, first-year grad students, The Offbeat Drummer is hereby "An Eclectic Jungian (Who Likes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy But Hates Worksheets)." That's kind of wordy for my professional identity statement, though. Elena, my Alder student therapist, was eclectic. I loved that. Uniformly, I would tell Elena "Mission accomplished." I always walked out of therapy feeling better than when I walked in.

You know how much I love to watch people. And, as we're learning, perceiving nonverbal cues of people--our clients and otherwise, is a chief skill to have, at which I'm already pretty keen. My feeling is that often times, what we do, our mannerisms, are equal to or even more important than the words that come out of our mouths. Guy Friend, for example. One of the last times we'd seen each other over the summer, for a quick coffee, I afterwards rattled off to him, via text I think, at least a half dozen nonverbal methods he uses to listen, to communicate or that can be implied or inferred, usually correctly. Usually, it's the little things we do that have the largest impact on our observers. Our professor is teaching us how to be "the archaeologists of people's minds." (Which should incite fear into pretty much anyone who knows me personally, especially my mother.) I'm either a heightened observer or Guy Friend's just really, really easy to read. I'm not sure. We need to make plans to make plans now that we have all the kiddos settled into school for the semester (myself included). 

When I get off the train @ Washington, I sit on a bench in Daley Plaza and have a smoke, the ear candy being whatever craptastic music they're playing in the plaza. Sometimes, they showcase bands. Other times, it's this piped-in-speaker stuff that's just strange but is really, I think, meant to give tourists something else with which to load their senses apart from the Picasso, which we're all tired of, and the giant municipal building behind it, which is of zero interest architecturally. Today was R&B. My smoke ended when the Barry White started, the discontent of perceived sexual tension in the air putting everyone in the plaza seemingly ill-at-ease.  I'd planned to eat lunch, but in rifling through my briefcase, which weighs more than I do, I noted that not only had I forgotten my mouse and my pad, but also my apple. I had exactly enough money on me to buy a $.75 bag of pretzels and made due w/the H20 I had along, meandering across the street to school.

Maybe I should've majored in sociology/anthropology. There's got to be socio-merit to a study of the prevalence of fake Louis Vuitton handbags in the general populous, beginning with my Therapy professor, though she was carrying some other type of handbag today. Whether they're classic monogram, or Damier, or Vernis, I can spot a fake from a mile away. It's a rare, un-punk personality characteristic I picked up when Luke was little, when I was a materialistic snot who dressed her toddler in $120 Burberry sweaters and $200 Dolce & Gabbana shoes, during which I blew tens of thousands of dollars on not-so-piddly shit like Louis Vuitton bags. Craig would come home and there'd be a new, bigger TV in the entertainment center because (Hello! Drunk, unmedicated bipolar!) I decided on a whim that I wanted a bigger TV. Anyway, I'm having trouble rationalizing my professor carrying a fake when it's blatantly obvious that she can afford a real one. I love her; she's great, otherwise. What I lacked in lunch today, she made up for in Rice Krispee treats, homemade! With sprinkles! I ate one! And she had me hooked when she uttered the first rule of being a good counselor, which, as I said, is to "listen with your heart." A therapy veteran, I cannot tell you how many times I've sat in session after session, for months on end, being heard but not listened to, after which I'd come home from therapy and write a 10,000 word blog about how I felt about the topic du jour instead. 

But I digress.

What I'd started composing to Guy Friend had to do with autonomy. In a miniature research question I posed on Facebook, I'd asked the following question: 
"There's just something odd and uncomfortable when I'm observing passersby out on Dearborn, or in Daley Plaza. It's indicative of contemporary society and both a lack-of and a testament to our human individuality....can you guess what 90% of people are all wearing?"

My mother chimed in with "flip-flops." Nope. Nor was another friend's answer of "sneakers" correct. I commented that it was far more Orwellian and had nothing to do with footwear. That lead to a guess on "earbuds or iPods," which was a good guess, but still incorrect. I further said it was something that made us heteronomous yet distinct all at once.

Give up? Already?

My theory is that it's more obvious downtown, where so many people work in large office complexes, though Guy Friend wears one every day too in the institution where he works, where I was issued one but refused to ever wear it, for I deemed it inconsequential. I do, however, wear one every day around my neck for school. It's either around your neck, or dangling from your suit coat lapel, or casually donned clipped to your belt, all depending on how suave you're trying to appear.

An identification badge.

What's even more Orwellian? When they have bar codes on them. They indicate that one belongs at or inside a certain organization or institution, with permission and privilege granted, and while they might bear one's smiling pictorial face, and a name, therein lies the humanistic complexity of wearing one at all. To NOT wear the badge, you might not be allowed inside your school or place of business. To NOT wear the badge, you surrender your valid right in belonging somewhere and are thus a stranger. See what I mean about ID badges simultaneously grouping you into a subset of a certain society in one swoop, while maintaining your personal identity as an individual? (In other words, yes, this is probably the least interesting email I would've ever composed to Guy Friend.)

In other crackpot news today, I received word that North Dakota Rep. Rick Berg (R) is running for a Senate seat. In light of the atrocity spewed by the RNC and the GOP, I can no longer sit idly by as a passive anarchist as well as being a rape victim. I'd had quite enough grumbling back and forth with family and friends over the abortion in cases of rape and incest, of which I have a very pro-choice, anti-rapist stance, as per my previous blogs. But what came out of Berg's mouth today was, frankly, the most absurd nonsense I've ever politically heard. He's lobbying for a bill to permanently incarcerate any woman, without the possibility of parole, who chooses to abort her zygote/embryo/fetus for ANY reason, even rape or incest. That's a really great fucking idea, Rick. What's doubly insane? That ignorant right-wingers, chiefly Christians, would actually support this veritable nonsense. I don't care what denomination you practice, or what God you worship, but the very notion of such an absurd solution to what's not even a legitimate problem exists in a free country. On Facebook, as a Christian, I flat out said, "What the fuck? What the fucking fuck? This is fucked up. Even Jesus would think so." Thus far, no one's argued against me, but I'm waiting for the "Free Radicals" (a Flaming Lipsism) to hunt down the poor, uterusless me. Be my guest. Rapists? Set 'em all free. Innocent women who refuse to salute the rights of the (what's with this new term?) "preborn?" Lock them up for life like the Manson family. Hellllooooo? If a woman selectively chooses to abort the growth of a clump of cells inside her own body that were transplanted there via the route of a rapist, and that's tantamount to homicide in North Dakota, they can all rot in hell, not me, for clearly, none of them have been assaulted.

I'm super-happy that the Dems are getting their chance to erase the balderdash that the Romney/Ryan flock vomited upon America last week. They're doing a bang-up job already. Seriously. Furthermore, look at it this way. Betty White is 90 years old. She's lived through more than any of us ever has. If her imparted wisdom guides her towards supporting our incumbent President, I'm with Betty. She loves the guy!

Well, friends, up at 5am tomorrow for the 6:45 train into the city. About to finish my dry reading and fall dead ass asleep. I'll compose a short note to Guy Friend leading him here, which he'll just LOVE, I'm sure. The Pandora's set to the ambient music channel, and I'm about wiped out.

A blessed good-night and go Run-DNC!


best male friend said...

Liar! You told me one time that you smelled Guy Friend's lab coat when he was on vacation because you missed him and wanted to smell his after shave!

Andrea Miklasz said...

You hush yourself! I said nothing, cough cough, to that effect!