Cars, planes and cruisers

I’ve had a very busy few months.  I’m enjoying my second condo since September. While staying in my first, I went to visit the place where I would move on December 1st.  I walked in and wondered why there was a bed in the living room; it turned out to be, contrary to the ad, a studio apartment.  I scrambled to find a new place, which I did with the help of my realtor. I’m now in a one-bedroom, which is quite comfortable. I just wish there weren’t a flight of stairs up which I have to carry groceries, etc. Oh, well.

My health is improving; I had epidurals in my cervical spine, which alleviated the radiating weakness in my arm, and I’m in physical therapy. I’m still having intermittent pain, but it’s getting better. Oh, and I had a nerve conduction test which was extremely unpleasant.  Every time the doctor shot electricity into my nerves, my hand snapped up; when he told me to keep my hand still, I told him it was literally out of my control. I spasmed like a frog in biology class. Keep my hand still, indeed.

Since my Uber bills expenses were high, even just for necessary travel, I bit the bullet and bought a used car.  My last $50 round trip to Eisenhower Medical Center convinced me. After checking out inexpensive cars at Toyota and Honda, I ended up with a used Lexus hybrid- 40 miles to the gallon, thank you very much, with all maintenance covered for five years. And the dealership provides regular free carwashes and, I kid you not, free rides to the airport when I need them. Alas, the car is white, which is something I promised I’d never buy.  It was, however, the only affordable hybrid on the lot, and car supplies are dwindling.  And, no, hybrids do not need charging; they charge themselves.

Over the past decades, I have had three therapists, the last of whom was a psychiatrist who retired two years ago.  Last March, I started searching for a new one, but, with the soaring need for mental health care due to the pandemic, etc., I had to settle for a PA.  He was very nice and smart, and he put me on my current meds, which seem to help a little.  I recently managed to find an available shrink, because I wanted therapy, and we had our first session.

Dr. WTF is very young and has been a shrink for only four years. We began our telemedicine call well enough, but it soon went downhill.  When I mentioned that I had retired from LAUSD, he immediately began asking me questions about magnet schools.  Apparently, he had attended one. I thought he was using this as an icebreaker, but he went on and on about his experience; and he was genuinely curious about my opinion. I have no expertise in this particular matter, and my memories of my last years at LAUSD are not pleasant.  One of my mental health strategies is to not dwell on the past.

After his fifth attempt to engage me, I said that I really didn’t want to talk about magnet schools and that was not why I had sought him out.  I guess I could have phrased it better and not let my impatience show.  He then went on to analyze me, five minutes into our first session and without gathering any detailed information.  He “objectively” informed me that I was a narcissist and selfish (but not in the bad sense of the “selfish”). And, with my particularly borderline personality disorder, and my never having been married or had children, I had never learned to communicate with other people. Nor did I have any interest in listening to anyone talk about a topic which was not personally relevant to me (Read his subtext: about what he wanted to talk about).

That’s the short version. I don’t know what shocked me more: that a mental health professional would diagnose me without a detailed interview or that he would weaponize his diagnosis, all the while pretending to be a clinician. Once again, my attitude has gotten me into hot water, but I’m pretty sure he shouldn’t have taken it personally and gone on the attack. What happened to “Do no harm”? Needless to say, I canceled our next session.

Last weekend, I flew to the east coast for two family reunions in honor of my brother- one with my father’s family and another with my mother’s.  The latter took place in New Jersey, where my mother’s 100-year-old cousin lives; they were raised as sisters and were close until the day my mother died. The flights and layovers went well, except for a delay at JFK. Also, the food service, reportedly “restored,” was shameful:  On a transcontinental flight, in Comfort Class, I was offered, for a charge, a box containing a strip of beef jerky, oreos, a small piece of cheese, potato chips and gummy bears.  I wonder which nutritional expert came up with that combo. Thank god for my membership in Delta Sky Clubs, where I enjoyed free meals, drinks and comfortable chairs.

The reunions went very well, and it was great to see cousins, some of whom I hadn’t seen for 40+ years.  Everyone was extremely warm and kind, and we shared memories and what we each remembered of family history.  I discovered more than one new branch of what turns out to be a huge family tree. Now I need to write down what I know and include it in the archives.

Consulting is going well. Due to the chaos wrought by the pandemic-related effect on attendance and data-gathering, the State of California has extended the accreditation period for another year.  This means that the report I’m compiling will be due in early 2023 instead of 2022.

Finally, the most recent of the ongoing humiliations as I progress through my so-called golden years:  A week ago, I went to Walmart Superstore to find a luggage scale; I had no idea how hard these were to find.  I parked one row to the left of the entrance, but, when I came out, there was no car to be found.  I walked and walked and pushed the alarm button to no avail. I called the Lexus dealership and asked if there were any kind of tracker on the car.  Finally, exhausted and worried that the car had been stolen, I called the police.  Two cruisers showed up; one had two less-than-friendly cops who said they would search for it, and another pleasant young cop with whom I discussed the particulars.  After a while, the original cops radioed the other and said that they had found my car; it was parked to the left of a different entrance quite a distance from where I had entered.  I had no memory of making such a long walk to the entrance. Now, had I looked older than I do, I might have received some sympathy. However, I’m pretty sure that the cop just thought I was a little off. He politely offered to drive me to my car, probably so I wouldn’t hurt myself. I then realized that the only thing more embarrassing than losing one’s car in a Walmart lot was to have to be driven to it in the back of a police car.  Yep, life just gets better by the week.

Well, I’m off to the gym to do my exercises.  Pray I don’t get confused and require further assistance.