One Lucky Pessimist

December 12, 2010
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Isn’t it funny how you assume everyone is a therapist’s waiting room is psychotic? And, it’s quaint how you only see one or two people in the waiting room, yet it takes weeks to get an appointment because the therapists are ‘so’ busy and their time is ‘so’ precious.
I walk awkwardly into the waiting room and everything is purposefully serene, placidity practically oozing from the walls. Oh dear gosh, I hope I don’t see anyone I know…I pray. I mean, if you saw anyone you knew a therapist’s office, wouldn’t you assume they had some serious problems? Something along the lines of my problems, you’d suppose. Well, at least that’s what I’ve supposed. The chairs are all a light pink, a clinically proven-to-sooth color. Green, lively plants hang from a few places in the ceiling and cover some empty places in corners where chairs can’t go because if they did, they’d be inaccessible. The neon green sign-in sheets are placed at a small desk. What if these patients are coming in here because they have epilepsy? This would certainly not help their condition. Humph. You’d think, right? I mean, that’s what I’ve thought, obviously. The desk is in complete disarray and I straighten it out in a hurry, contemplating, don’t they know some people here have OCD? I frown slightly. I don’t appreciate the undermining of the severity of the diseases patients may have. So, I take my neon green paper, with my name and my therapist’s name on it, up to the little plastic container where I’m supposed to put them. This lets the therapist know that, to their ultimate dismay, their next patient has arrived. Me. I go back to sit in the waiting area. The room smells of Febreeze-maybe lavender or sweet pea; but it’s dull, I can’t quite tell. Not dull as in someone lightly sprayed, but dull as in they sprayed it before they opened shop, and now it’s faded away. I suddenly wonder if I look crazy. I wonder if anyone will walk in that I know. They’ll walk in and think, she’s crazy! I knew it! And I’ll think, they’re crazy! I knew it! I grinned. Oh, the sweet, sweet irony. It’s like going into a Planned Parent clinic and gasping at someone you know there. Oh! She’s pregnant! You’d gape. And then remember, oh wait, so am I…. Funny how those things work out.
So, I’m waiting very impatiently for my therapist. I look at the paintings on the wall. They’re painted pictures of fancy doorways and arches, the captions in swirly ink pen. The captions are French. Way to make a patient feel stupid. Notwithstanding, I read all four pictures’ captions as best I can-because reading just one’s would be unheard of. Suddenly, I hear a loud click! and I’m familiar with it; it’s the door opening. I freeze before looking at who it is, fearful I might know them; but then the irony clunks me on the head and I realize I have nothing to hide. I glance at the door and a man walks in. A man I do not know. I exhale a breath of relief, not entirely convinced of all I’ve been telling myself. He signs in, obviously free of epilepsy, possibly grateful of the straightened papers. I study him, inconspicuously, of course. I wonder what is taking my therapist so long…. He takes his sheet up and then sits back down, almost across from me. I am sitting next to the door where the therapist’s call their patients in, not because I am in dire need of psychiatric care, but because I just am. Directly across from me is a planter, so he isn’t directly across, but in the relative location.
I can guess he is a suicidal maniac, or possibly a narcoleptic, but hey, who am I to judge? Plus, I really don’t have a clue. He has jet black hair, and it’s a bit too tousled. Just so much out of place that I can tell there’s something off about him. Or so I think….
His eyes, I think they have some kind of wild look in them, a thirst in them, as if he wants something, needs something, something he can’t have. Or, so I surmise…. He moves too much; his feet tap the carpet gently and his hands intertwine, fiddling menacingly. His lips softly bite the air, as if he’s murmuring a sound, but I hear nothing; the same as I do when I’m singing in public, no one wants to hear a bad singer. His eyes travel across the room, from side to side, as if he’s paranoid. Or, maybe, I’m over exaggerating…. Maybe he’s just moving normally, and I’m just intensely noticing. It’s possible his eyes are slowly traveling the room, to pass the time, as do mine. Or, maybe, we’re both crazy. Maybe…. That would explain why we are both here. In this therapist’s office. Waiting to be heard.
Click! The nuisance of the door’s hinges squeak again. I freeze for a millisecond, the doubt settling in my mind like salty grains over-souring the ocean. Then I turn to see a plump woman walk into the room. A plump woman I do not know. She walks over to the neon green. No epilepsy; possible gratefulness for my organization. Good, they should be grateful. She is a bit overweight, maybe that’s why she’s here, she can’t stop eating, or she eats to be happy. She waddles more than walks, maybe that’s why she’s here, she’s self-conscious about it and it’s ruining her life. Her hands clench and unclench, creating chubby little fists, maybe that’s why she’s here, to solve anger issues or to undo her rage-aholic tendencies. Anyway, she’s in here, and there’s a reason. I honestly don’t know if there is anything besides therapists in this office, but it would be interesting to find out. I would ask my therapist, but by the time she comes, I’ll forget, or, I’ll have more important things to talk about.
Suddenly, the door beside me opens. I turn to see my therapist. Finally. He smiles and gestures for me to come in. I smile awkwardly back, not sure if he’s actually happy to see me; it’s highly doubtful. He just puts on that smiling face for all of his patients, but I always assume there is an internal hatred and/or resentment there. Like the cashier at any supermarket, oh sure she acts friendly, because she has to, but really, she hates you. She hates that you bothered her, hates that you made her come to work, hates all your fellow customer who are rude and obnoxious. She hates you. It’s a generic emotion that’s almost innate for these hard working individuals. We walk down the hallway with all its closed, secretive wooden doors. The cracks that let light shine through the bottom of the door let out the screaming cries of the psychotic, of the needy. I can hear them pour themselves out, or mainly only blah blah blah’s combined with short sobs. Or, maybe it’s just me; I think I’m making it up. Either way, someone is hiding behind those doors, something is going on behind the wood, somewhere someone is pouring out their life’s story. Their ‘life’s story’ as if their life was a living being and it had it’s own escapades and countless adventures, as if it’s not part of someone, but a separate piece of matter, its own life form. Is it? Does your life make you, or do you make your life?
So, we go into the room, and I’m way too distracted to listen to her. I babble on and on about something or another, as does he, but who knows what we really talk about? The room is a glowing purple like an overdone set of strobe lights at your favorite rave party, way too bright, but unlike strobe lights, these are not hot and sweat does not begin to pour down my face as I do my favorite jig. A couple miniature unicorns are flying around. But they’re not so small that I can’t distinguish the details on them; they have small little tattoo type marks on their backs resembling the My Little Pony figurine. Tattoos of butterflies and rainbows, blue jays and red, juicy apples. They fly around and neigh and smile and flip their well-combed blonde and red and blue hair hither and thither. They giggle at me and hide behind trees that appear as they want them to. They creep me out, like a clown in the dark; freaky and mysterious. I want them gone. My therapist starts to grow a couple more heads, like a Hydra after its head has been cut off. Snarling, sharp fangs grow out of their mouths and their necks are long and scary. He’s talking, saying something, but all I can hear is hissing and all I can feel is the spit of their rolling tongues. I wipe my face off, I can feel it, it’s warm and slimy and I wipe it off in disgust. I say nothing though. The purple suddenly turns to orange and it’s beaming so bright I have to close my eyes. I wonder what he’s thinking about me now, maybe he’s annoyed because he thinks I’m not paying attention. I am; well, I’m not, because all I can hear is a hsss. I feel like the sun is in the room with me, but the searing heat is not there, so I know we aren’t orbiting too close to the orange ball of fiery h***. Maybe that’s where h*** is, it’s on the sun; maybe it’s in the universe, so you’re forever strapped to the horrific life of living on earth. Life itself is not so horrific, but considering you could also go to an eternally bliss, alternate universe, it sucks. At least, I think so. Suddenly, the shade of light that I can see from under my eyelids fades and I can tell a softer hue has entered the room. Did you know, camels have 2 sets of eyelids? Yes sire, they do indeed, so they can brave those tough sandstorms. It’s like how some people have 2 sets of tough skin to brave tough situations, but it leaves them hollow and cold inside, like an empty freezer. Icicles hang from the ceiling and it’s treacherous and slippery with the frozen water that somehow accumulated, no one knows how water got in there though. I look at the clock and I see the hands spin wildly and long, decrepit fingers stretch from the arms and begin to tussle with the Hydra. They whip around savagely and ruthlessly, ripping flesh and chunks of scales off the Hydra’s face, showering them everywhere. Time, such a mutilated idea of helpfulness. Who ever really needs time? It’s just a way to make people worse. It’s a way to be late; a way to take too long; a way to make ourselves unable to be perfect. We do that a lot; make it hard to be perfect. But that’s life, eh? The fingers began to grind their way along the Hydra’s belly, ripping holes in the monster. No blood though, no blood. I don’t have fantasies like that because that would be just plain weird.
Suddenly I hear a ding, like an oven going off. The oven no ones care about, the one that burns the house down, leaving you high and dry. I know what the ding is though. It’s the cliché of the day; can you guess what it is now too? My time is up; it’s time to go home now. Oh, darn. I have to pay so much to talk to someone about my feelings. How sad is that? We have to pay to talk to people. If you want to talk to me, just give me a penny as a down-payment and you don’t have to pay for three hundred years! This guy is not so cheap. Can you say rip-off any louder? Does it even help? No, not really. You know what does help? The pills; hah, the pills. Oh boy, what a day brightener. The little white and green capsule, the miracle in a…well, whatever shapes pills are in. Though, pills can be many different shapes, so, you don’t really know now, do you? Anyway, the pills help. She doesn’t. She’s so worthless, but I keep coming back. I just keep coming back, as if there’s some kind of hypnotic repulsion to this place. Like a magnetic thing, you’d think. No, not like that, something different. Something oddly different, it’s unable to describe, but it’s different. Like when you’re describing someone with no discernable qualities, you say they have blonde hair or blue eyes or they’re short, but, there are about 3 million people you could be talking about, so, we really don’t know who you’re talking about. Sorry.
So, we’re done know. The therapist comes back in view, those square glasses and that gray, scraggly hair; it’s almost as bad as the Hydra. Those eyes burn into me; he’s trying to act non-judgmental, but I can tell what he’s thinking, all the words he’s conjuring up for me. Fine, judge me, see if I care. Have I ever? Isn’t that why I’m in here? But, suddenly, ever-so-smoothly, he leans forward. I can see glowering fangs in his mouth, glinting in the fluorescent lights. Whoa, what’s he’s got planned now. I can hear him talk though, in a clear, ‘normal’ voice.
“Everything is going to fine; you know that, don’t you?”
I know the appointment is over, so I get up and walk out. I murmur a thank-you, even though she doesn’t deserve it, and close the door behind me. I slip out of the exit and into the hallway. The hallway seems so regular-Joe compared to that spooky, mental patient filled office. It’s filled with people like me. I didn’t schedule my next appointment, who knows If I’ll come back. Who knows?
Everything is going to be alright, eh? Those words stick in my head like a haunting incantation as I walk out the building. The air outside is hollow and the sun shines a thin, dying glow; it’s not even afternoon yet and the atmosphere of a happy, glowing day is already fading into the oblivion. An oblivion that will rise up and says everything is fine? Is that what it is? Is that what happens? Is that how an everything-is-fine finds its way to the surface of this world? Hmmm, maybe I could deal with that. Maybe; perhaps; on occasion; it’s possible. I don’t know. The optimistic side of life is new, foreign, but the taste of it in my mouth, fluttering across my teeth, it’s soothing, it’s rich and creamy like expensive hot cocoa. It splashes by my nose and a fading, luxurious smell like soap is able to be experienced, like the smell of the shampoo you can smell in his hair, that fragrance that blows your mind. Intense. I like this, I like this new feeling and emotion. I pop a pill into my mouth suddenly, habitually, and smile. An awkward grin, like something you might see after an unexpected award, or kiss. I wrinkle my nose suddenly, but put a stop to it; the smile doesn’t return though, only the shadow of a grin. This looks like the start of a new day, eh? Suddenly, a thought occurs to me to buy a lottery ticket, as if my horrible luck will suddenly change with this new state of mind. But, as I always impulsively listen to myself, I decide to do it. I’ll take a chance for once.
“Ah.” Is all that comes out; I glance down. My shoe has tire tracks on it. The person in the car didn’t even stop; maybe they didn’t feel the bump when they ran over my foot! I just stand there, in some dumbfounded shock, not because of the pain though, but because of the overall incident. Nothing hurt, but emotions flare up in my stomach, as if my stomach had a heart of its own. My foot…just got ran over…by a car. A blue, rolling piece of molded tin just stomped on my toes as if it were Hilary Clinton trying to get to the top. I want to smile at that witty remark, but there isn’t exactly room for smiles right now. Is this where optimism leads: to a life of pain and suffering? Is this a little preface of how life will go now if I’m happy and cheerful about it? But, wait, that doesn’t even make sense. Why would my perspective on life, when all of the sudden a good one, change the way my life is going from bad to worse? Is there someone like ‘Fate’ or ‘Death’ that makes people try to be pessimistic? Like an ‘Anti-Luck Fairy’ or something. A ‘Pessimistic Bunny’ or creatures of the like must exist. I didn’t think it possible, but maybe because I’d never come up against the horrors of being happy prior to this moment. So, now, I back up as to not be oppressed any longer by rubber or the spikes of the Pessimistic Bunny. I suddenly imagine a bunny will come up in front of me and then meander away, as if it were taunting me, but nothing like that happens. I don’t know what to do now. It’s as if I had 8 million things to do, and then someone just told me I don’t have to do any of those things; I’d rub my neck, frown, then shrug and wander around until I found something to do that could occupy my time. But, then I remember I said I’d buy a lottery ticket, but, not literally ‘said’ because that would mean I was talking to myself, which I wasn’t. Was I? When you say ‘ow’ or ‘aw’ and no one is around, does that mean you’re talking to yourself; or are you talking to the air? Isn’t that even worse? Notwithstanding the unfortunate incident that just occurred, I begin to walk down the street to the 7-11 to purchase a lottery ticket because if I say I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it, no matter how many people hear me say it.
Jingle! Jingle!
The door opens and a cool rush of whooshing air rises from above me. The whirring air conditioner that’s attached to the wall above the door grins down at me as if it were trying to be friendly, but its smile was menacing. It’s like when Frankenstein was playing with the little girl and they were throwing stones into the lake, but, not fully understanding, he threw her in. If I told the air conditioner of its horrible deformity, would it become sad? What kind of air does a sad air conditioner blow out? I’d rather not risk it. I walk over to a small red rack by the cash register that sells lottery tickets and there’s a man in front of me. I wait patiently, glancing inconspicuously over his shoulder to look at what my choices are. Granted, I’ve never bought a lottery ticket before, so it really doesn’t matter. I glance up by happenchance and the man in front of me is the man from the therapist’s waiting room; maybe he had a revelation too. But, as the sunlight pours through the stores thin windows, he definitely looks crazy; his hair all oily and untamed. His face is unshaven and I can see the small black bristles of hair on his face around a lip that curves down fully. Maybe not. If he’s so darn pessimistic, why is he buying a lottery ticket? Perhaps he thinks for once in his life, he’ll be a winner! Oh, finally he thinks as he buys his brightly colored ticket. He picks out his card for the day and walks up to the cashier but there are two people in front of him buying slurpies. I walk up to the red rack of potential wins and losses and bite my lip, surveying my choices. The only one I know anything about is the scratch cards, because I’d been given one before to scratch off with a small, bronze penny; no wins there. But, since I actually know how to use that one, I pick a bright red one out that says Today is your LUCKY day! on it. It’s a Lucky 6 card, I’m not sure if the brands on cards matter as much as they do on clothes, so it doesn’t make much of a difference to me. I’ve got the card and I wait behind Mr. Crazy in line. He grips his own red Lucky 6 scratch card. I wonder if I unconsciously saw him grab that, and subconsciously I grabbed this one, looking for some familiarity in this new environment. As I stand in line, there’s one person in front of the black haired psycho but they’re done quickly and the line moves up. The cards are cheap so Mr. Crazy finishes up quick and moves out of the way, but stands beside the cash register, I assume he’s about to scratch his card and realize, no, today is not his lucky day. It never will be. I’m up to the cash register and smile politely, mouthing a ‘hi’ as I dig in my pocket for the correct amount of change. I attempt to make the cashier’s day a little more bearable with my friendly customer antics, but I’m not sure if it’s working. I pull out some quarters, exact change, as always, and give them to her. Instantaneously I realize that my card is not a winner. As I grip its red, paper potential, I can feel I am not a winner. I don’t sigh or grimace, I just shrug to myself, almost proud of myself for trying something new. Should I really have expected any other outcome? The cashier puts the change in the register and then says something but I can’t hear her because something is happening behind me.
Jingle! Jingle!
The door opens beside me and then BANG! suddenly the loudest noise I’d ever heard is audible. I don’t turn around right away, for my ears are burning and ringing with the noise. After a moment, though the ringing is still there, I turn around to see a puddle of red beside me. Mr. Crazy has been shot. His hand and lottery ticket flail out at my feet. My shoes are sticky from the crimson mess and I just stand there, looking down at him. I can hear in the background that the cashier is being yelled at and I know we’re being robbed. I look at the man’s lifeless body and he still looks crazy. Even with those crazy eyes shut and that frown a straight line like his pulse, he still looks crazy. I glance at his lottery ticket, it’s not blood soaked like I think it’s going to be. The minute my eyes look at it, they widen. I drop my ticket and frown. His ticket…is a winner. I can feel it. I have that kind of 6th sense, you know? I just absolutely know that his ticket is a winner. Suddenly realizing my scenario, I turn to look at a man in a ski mask; how typical. He points a gun at me and screams something. I can only hear some kind of bubbly noise, for the loud ringing in my ears hasn’t fully stopped. But he waves his gun from me to the floor, so I know he wants me to get down. I sit against the desk where the cash register is, my back to the scene, I’m careful not to get blood on my pants. As I’m sitting there, not feeling any emotion but confusion, my eyes are drawn to the ticket. Pop! My ears pop like one of those rubber half-circles you get for 5 tickets at an arcade. It hurts for a second and I try to shake it off, but suddenly I can hear everything in the background. I can hear a sobbing girl and a yelling man. The voice is shrill and deep, but I somehow am able to recognize it. I can’t put my finger on it though, like an actor’s voice in an animated character. I sit there, trying to think of who it is as the store I’m in is being robbed. I could be shot. I’m wondering if Mr. Crazy is happy he’s dead. Maybe he’s real happy right now. My mind was horribly was horribly wavering between the voice and the card; my eyes on the card, my ears listening and trying to figure out who was robbing this place. My father? Your father? Well, I’ve never met your father, so that can’t be so. I tried to remember everyone I’ve ever known, but faces were floating one way in my black space for a memory, and voices were dancing around in every other way, too disrespectful to quiet down.
“Now, no one leaves until you hear me honk outside, understood?”
I heard a sob of a reply and a man with a shame ridden black mask walked out from behind the register with a tan sack full of what one could only assume was all the cash this store had. He walks slowly, eyeing me and the killed mental patient. I wonder if he’s happy now, now that that frown is off his face, permanently. As if he were happy, the frown is gone forever. The robber crept out of the store, breathing heavily, the gun switching from me to the woman behind the register. ‘Lucy’ I think her name tag said. Yeah, the gun pointing at me and Lucy. He was near the door and he turned to walk out, a sinister grin making its way upon his face.
Bang! Bang!
Shots ring out, my ears ringing like chimes in a church. The robber had been gunned down by the victim. No, she wouldn’t be a victim though. She wasn’t going to be a victim in this heinous crime. This time she wasn’t going to smile and take it while someone who thinks they are higher than her tramples her, just because she’s a cashier. Well, today she’s not a cashier, she’s a revenge artist. She’s a hero, a savior, a death-defying acrobat who can tightrope walk across the grand canyon. Yes, she can do anything now. She’s free and safe with a gun in her hand, a man lying lifeless on the floor. So, the only way we can be safe is to make sure the unsafe are disposed of? We have to defeat someone else to be happy? What is eternal bliss anyway? Is there such thing? I suppose so, but does it come with a price? An awful, painful price? I see ablack, robed figure flying in the air. It’s Death, come to take its victims. But, I can see the robber is still breathing, so Death only has one new customer today. Oh, darn, he must think. Blood is starting to puddle out from under the masked figure. Death is hideous and black and he has an aura of despair around him. What a surprise, eh? Death seems deadly, who would have thought? I look down, and there is. The Pessimistic Bunny, his brown furry body seeming so fluffy and gentle. I furrow my eyebrows, why is he here? I don’t want him here. Not now. This isn’t the time for the Pessimistic Bunny to be here, but it’s his duty. He’s here to claim the unfortunate, the pessimistic. I’m just surprise the Anti-Luck Fairy didn’t pop up. But, that would be silly, wouldn’t it?
The paramedics and police come to write up the report and take the bodies. The dealers of terrible news are gone by then, of course. They take the robber onto a stretcher and pull of his mask as they wheel him away. I think there is a surprised look on my face, but, really, I’m not too surprised. Why should people like him be any better than someone like me? Sure, he helps people, but, that doesn’t make him a higher species. Since when is a therapist higher than a cashier? In the real world, maybe, but in our minds, all that matters is how we view it. He was no better than me or the man that will be sitting beside him in the hospital, or in jail very soon after. That’s why I couldn’t quite put my finger on that voice; I never really listened to him. What a shame. Too late now. At least I won’t have to say I wasn’t able to identify the all-too familiar voice later.
Two lottery tickets sit by me. Mine, the failure, and Mr. Crazy’s, his winning lotto ticket. His lucky day didn’t appear to be so lucky after all. Now, am I going to take his ticket? Is that considered stealing? Grave robbing, perhaps? Though, technically he’s not in the grave yet. But, if I take it, no one will know. I can take it and live a life of riches and wealth, or not take it and always have that on my mind, the day that could’ve been my lucky day. But, am I, like Lucy, going to have to cancel someone out of the equation to be the one who’s living life good? But, he’s not living life at all. Are we all going to have to put each other down to be happy? But, if we’re all putting each other down to get to the top, won’t we all go down? Hey, now, aren’t we all in this together? If we all try to be happy, no one ends up winning, so who are the lucky few that we’ll let go to the top to be happy? Maybe, we’ll pick a few, thinking, hey, they’ll share. But they won’t, and we know it. That’s why we never let anyone get to the top. We know we’re all selfish, and no one will share. But, I’ll share, you think, I’ll share with the world, just let me get up there and you’ll see. Won’t that be a laugh? That’s what they all say; that’s what the most greed driven individuals and the kindest souls all say. So who’s to judge who’s the real deal or not? The Pessimistic Bunny? Well, we all know how that would turn out, it’s self-explanatory. Or, at least I think so. Well, if I grab the ticket, who I am to have the chance to get to the top? Do I deserve it? I certainly don’t think so, but my craving for an opportunity is throbbing in my brain like a sickly metronome. I don’t think the ones below me would like me to be at the top, even if I didn’t have to step on them. If they can’t have a rich chance like me to fly heavenly, who am I to? If they can’t have it, nobody can; even if I share, even if I share my everything, it will never be enough. I most definitely don’t think the Pessimistic Bunny wants me to have this chance, why would he? His red, beady eyes glare at me, his mouth practically watering for a chance to screw me over. I think I’m going to share, I think so, but you know how you think you’ll do something, but really, you won’t. I tell myself I am, but really, I’m not. Or, you think you won’t do something, but, you do; like being eaten by the Greed Bird after you swear you’ll give all your money to the poor. The paramedic walks up to me after disposing of Mr. Crazy. He cleans up the corruption of our society, in all the red, warm display of love (or, lack thereof) that it is.
He picks it up, “Excuse me, but is this your lottery ticket? Maybe it’s your lucky day!”

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