Monday, August 23, 2010

The Only Thing I'm Sort Of Good At, Is Referrals

We all know about the dangers of alcohol, but when they show you those movies and afterschool specials where a few beers destroy entire families (anyone remember The Last Prom?), you never see the subtleties, the minor issues that can blow up when a touch of alcohol boosts the emotional potency of a given situation. It may not destroy a life, but it can make tough to live with it.

Take Marshall here. Marshall is single and lonely, like many of my subjects are. "I'm out with some friends and I meet this girl," he said. "Friend of a friend. We seem to be hitting it off, but then she starts talking about this other girl, talking her up like she wants to set me up with her. I don't like blind set-ups, so I'm waiting for her to finish so I can politely talk my way out of it, and she finishes with, 'and she just moved here and she's looking to meet someone and you seem like a nice guy who's fun and into a lot of interesting things, so, do you know anyone who might be interested?'"

"Seriously? Maybe that was her way of implying that person was you."

"No, you should have seen the sincerity in her face. And I was just dumbfounded, so she breaks the silence with, 'I mean, can you think of anyone?' And I just didn't know how to respond, and she says, 'I'm sorry, are you insulted?' And I said, 'Little bit, yeah.' And she genuinely had no idea why. I mean, it was one of the most humiliating moments of my entire life and she just has no clue why I might find that degrading. So I just say, 'Well how do you know I wouldn't want to meet her?'"

"What did she say?" I asked.

"Well, during the whole pitch she did mention that the girl was Asian, and she just assumed I wouldn't be interested in dating an Asian girl. She said she didn't know if I was open-minded like that."

"Well, there's your answer, dude. She didn't mean anything by it, she wasn't implying you were unworthy or anything, she just didn't know."

"Well, I guess I can see that now." he said. "At the time it didn't seem like the strongest explanation. I was just so mortified."

"So what happened with her?" I asked.

"The conversation pretty much ended there. After that whole thing it was like, I felt so small I couldn't even talk to her. I think maybe I overreacted. I can get emotional when I drink."

How do you tell someone to prepare for something like this in the future? There's pretty much no way, except to tell them not to drink. I doubt this incident is going to make Marshall give up alcohol, but what do you say? Give them a card that says, "Your judgement is impaired, this situation may not be what you think it is," and say, "Read this when you're drunk and upset?" Doubt that works. All I can do is give a reassuring, "Doesn't matter. You're obviously meeting people. You'll meet others."

Will he? I don't know. It's not my job to know. It's my job to convince him he will, because if he doesn't think it, he probably won't. Holy fuck, dating. Glad that's over.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Drop That Lobster Roll And Pass Me A Bagel!

Went to another Yankee game with Sashial yesterday. Thus was a big one, cause it was against Boston. She felt the raised excitement and tension level, and so I had to explain the history of the rivalry. "So it gets pretty heated?" she asked.

"Sometimes," I said. " depends on the person. This one girl from Boston I know, after they Yanks won the series one year, she congratulated me. Then this other one, really nice girl, very cool, but when I told her I liked the city of Boston, she wouldn't believe me. She said I couldn't because I'm a Yankee fan."

"What's one thing got to do with another?"

"That's what I asked. She said the city and the team are connected. I was like, 'Well I was there and I felt joy, I don't know what to tell you.' Then I told this to another girl from Boston, and she said she didn't buy that, because she's a Boston fan and she likes new York City. So I told the first girl this and she said it's not the same because Boston's smaller."

Sashial looked confused and annoyed. "Smaller? Are you fucking kidding me? Like the team is a bigger part of the city because there's less of it?"

"I guess."

"What bullshit. You realize what she's actually saying, right? She's saying she forbids you to like Boston, because as a Yankee fan she feels you're unworthy of liking her fucking town. Is this someone you worked with?"


"So she worked in New York city. Did she live here too?"

"Yep. Still does as far as I know."

"So she owes her fucking home and livelihood to your city. Basically, she's allowed to like your city but you're not allowed to like hers. That's pretty fucking convenient for her. You know, some people might tell her how hypocritical that is, and say, "Doesn't work that way, this isn't a one way street. If this is the way you feel about teams and geography you should be true to yourself and get the fuck out of my city."

I smirked as I shook my head. "I'm too nice to say something like that."

"I know you are, baby."

"How do you help someone like that?" I asked.

"Same as you do everyone else. It's not you job to help her fucking grow up. Just to be there if she needs you."

Monday, August 2, 2010

My Maid's On Vacation, Don't Step On The Needles

Marley's ability isn't quite as omniscient as telekinesis but sometimes it might as well be. This guy I'm working on, his depression over his breakup is getting pretty bad (he was with the girl for five years, after all). He was putting on a pretty brave face while he was at work, although he's not as upbeat as I understand he used to be, and he couldn't help sounding down on monday when people asked him how his weekend was. He tried to be lighthearted about it, often answering the question with, "Well, Cathy and I were going to see Inception but we broke up instead." As an angel, you see this a lot; the subject makes sure he doesn't become a downer to his friends, but his pain always comes through nonetheless. It's rough, you do your best to keep from alienating people, and at the same time you isolate yourself. Makes recovery tough.

Basic procedure is to observe the subject at home and look for signs of the true severity when their barriers are down. Sometimes it's really hard because they're not interacting with anyone, but the minute I saw his apartment, I knew this was bad. They broke up on a friday, and I started the job the following monday. In the space of just a weekend, the place turned into a disaster. Laundry was all over the floor and couch, plates and silverware with remnants of food were piled up and festering in the sink, and he was even taking garbage and tossing it on the floor rather than walk the necessary ten feet to the garbage can.

I was telling Marley about this, and she said, "And what did you think?"

"What did I think? I though he's just given up."

"No, there's something else, something you're afraid to tell me, like it'll hurt my feelings."

"Well, um," I mumbled, "I just, I saw this movie once where this, ah, drug addict was, like, all strung out and staying in this room that had, like, garbage and shit everywhere. And I thought, 'Fuck, it looks like a junkie lives here.'"

She nodded. "It's ok, I'm not offended. I actually kept my place pretty clean. I know you saw what it looked like when we saw my body, but that's because of what my boyfriend did."

"Well, like you said, I didn't want to hurt your feelings."

She smiled. "And that's why you do what you do."