HidingThe Toucan 2010
My wife hides in the bathroom. Our twin daughters hide in the Bronx. My sister hides in Dallas with her family; she knows I won’t go there because of Kennedy and Oswald. It’s been forty years but I still can’t find it in my heart to forgive Dallas. My son hides in Montana with a para-military group and I most certainly wouldn’t be welcome there; nor would I want to go.
Sometimes I miss my wife so I go into the bathroom where Liz is soaking in the tub reading and I sit on the floor reading my own book. It’s her private time so I don’t disturb her with talk. Liz doesn’t acknowledge my presence, not even when she puts her book down to add more hot water. If she would let the hot water run slowly she wouldn’t have to worry about adding any. I’ve told her this before. She’ll come out of the bathroom after I’ve left when she’s pretty sure that I’ve fallen asleep.
It’s no different at work. The other sales people hide in groups talking and go out to lunch together. My office manager picks up her phone when she sees me approaching her office. The secretary passes messages to me via email and the other salespeople in the office leave me voice messages as opposed to walking over and talking to me.
Sara and Sasha, the twins in the Bronx worry me. I tell them I’d feel better if they moved to Brooklyn, or even Queens. They call their Mother but I never seem to get them in when I call. I’d hate to believe they’re screening their calls and I’m not making it through the screening.
Sorry we missed your call, they’ll email and add a couple of more sentences before adding their standard, “See ya, gotta run." Mickey, my son in Montana, calls on my birthday and sends a card on Father’s Day. He uses a pay phone for his call so the automated operator always interrupts his three-minute call with a fifteen second warning.
I offer to meet him outside the camp for a get-together but there’s never been a convenient time. Sara and Sasha can’t commit to planning a dinner or lunch together. They do get together with their mother several times a year. Her schedule’s more in tune with theirs.
I’m not sure what’s going on in my world. I got the name of a shrink from a friend; actually I overheard a co-worker on the phone from the adjacent cubicle mention her shrink and how much good she was doing her. I asked her for the shrinks name, said it was for a good friend who needed to speak to someone. I’ll get back to you she said and a day or two later she changed her cubicle and left the name on my voice mail. I called the shrink. She told me she wasn’t taking new patients but would put me on a list for the first opening. That was almost a year ago. I’ve left several messages since, but to no avail.
Last week I called a new psychologist whose ad I saw in the local paper and went in for my session. He asked me why I was there and I told him that I get the feeling that people hide from me. Why do I think that he asked and I told him I didn’t know but then I slipped in a few comments on how uninviting his waiting room was and what he could do to improve it. Try some prints by Steiglitz or Adams I suggested. He asked me if I did that often and I asked did what? Give unsolicited advice he said and I told him that it was one of my strong suites, maybe my strongest. I have the gift to see simple solutions to other people’s problems, even if they don’t know they’re having a problem. Then I told him he had the wrong kind of chin for bow ties and should consider wearing a turtleneck—it could be your trademark I added. Do you ever have a conversation without giving advice he asked and I told him that he made me sound critical of other people and he said that’s what it sounded like to him and I told him that in his line of work he shouldn’t be quite so sensitive. He said that I was insensitive to other’s feelings and that was probably the root of my problem and since time was about up maybe we could delve into it the next session and I told him that I’d call for an appointment when I had my calendar, but I knew that I wouldn’t because if I walked in and he was wearing a bow tie again I’d have no respect for him. After all, how could I be expected to take advice from someone who couldn’t take good advice himself?