Deconstructed S’mores: Vacation Skirmishes (5)

First, that scooter he bought to ride around with June. Then showing off at beach yoga. Anyone could have predicted what would come next.

Facebook posts. Many. Of his kid and his wife, at the volcano and the waterfall…OMG, JUNE IS SNORKELING!

Worst of all, selfies from the golf course.

The only pics left in the camera were of food. Sure, you could have tasted that brick of flaming marshmallow flanked by banana ice cream and an elegant pile of graham cracker crumbs right through the video. But he had to maintain a shadow of his fiction. That cool reserve.

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Vacation Skirmishes (4): On the Last Morning, Julie Slept In

Back home dudes shame him with handstands on the way down to chaturanga. On the beach he’s the only one jumping up to complete the vinyasas.

So he becomes that guy, rising unbidden from bridge into full wheel and doing a sweet, solitary shoulder stand before savasana.

After class he presents, sweaty and sandy, for an attaboy.

But teacher Whipple congratulates himself. “Dude you’re here without your wife? I’m super impressed! I converted you to yoga!”

Denied his dose of praise, McCormick smiles and nods and walks into the waves, which are cool and soothing, just like the day before.

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Vacation Skirmishes (3): Because of the Flies

 

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At beach yoga McCormick checked the other towels. Sunburned ankles, vanilla thighs, sandy glutes. But no buzzing and slapping. The carrion call was for him.

Probably because of the knee he skinned falling of his scooter last week. (Oh, Mikey, remember how you reviled grownups on scooters?)

New flesh came off like pudding skin in the hot-tub. Left a puffy yellow glob. The flies thought he was dead already.

Ten hours later, while June naps, he runs Makena Road. Left his glasses in the room. Can’t read the heart monitor. But he feels fast and hot, even this close to sunset.

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The Crucial Third Wheel: Vacation Skirmishes (1)

“Julie, Jesus! Go!”

“He sees us, Michael. Stop barking.”

“When I fear for our lives, I bark.”

Oh my word, this is the fourth time today. I don’t even know before I say it that I am going to say:

“That’s enough! Next time decide not to argue before we get in the car!”

Mommy says, “If your father could calm down…”

Daddy says, “Sorry, June Bug. We’ll do better.”

I guess better means not talking for like ten or twelve minutes and then asking each other how much it costs to buy the houses we just keep driving past.

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A Case of Countertransference? (Shrinks He’s Known #2)

(He’s recalling therapeutic passages that led to the moment at hand...)

PTRorschach2-3-2015bElaine Southard was recommended to McCormick and Gwen (his partner of twenty years) by Sal Bergen, McCormick’s analyst.

Sal and McCormick’s signal exchange had been punctuated by Bergen gasping, dropping his shaved head into his hands, and saying “The self-deception is just breathtaking.”

That inextinguishable memory lit up when Southard, describing her own divorce, said “marriage can be an arena of sublime self-delusion.”

At his next session with Sal, whom he loved, McCormick said, “You sent me to your ex-wife for marriage counseling.”

Sal flinched, and the sadness in his  eyes was something they could not help each other process.

Shrinks He’s Known (1)

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When McCormick, during guided meditation, hears “Direct gentle attention to any areas of discomfort,” he opens his eyes to sneak a peek.

Bruce Blend is a cool looking cat. Tweed jacket over jeans that aren’t skinny or, on the other hand, just a pair of denim slacks. Sharp-edged goatee that says, this face belongs to a dude whose shit is together.

Blend is the best looking shrink he’s seen, excepting Elaine Southard, whose jeans were tight. Whose brown boots gleamed.

Once McCormick told Dr. Southard that human love should include adoration. And she said, “Maybe you just want a puppy.”

 

 

 

The People Next Door

Along with Decatastrophizing, Dr. Bruce Blend taught Attention Shifting (Catch then Devalue the ineffective…Shift  to healthy alternatives…Repeat as necessary…), Countering Probability Overestimation (Could my negative prediction be driven by the intense emotions I’m experiencing?). And, of course, Mindfulness (Present-Centered, Non-Judgmental Attention).

McCormick applied these techniques to the pretty millennial neighbors who let their Pit Bull (Cooper) trot to the elevator without a leash and blew bong hits into an air vent that whooshed skunky reek into his and Julie’s kitchen.

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This thought—Lindsey and Andrew are unbearable, self-regarding assholes who will get my kid mauled and stoned—definitely needed CBTing.