Tuesday, March 29, 2005

My Therapist Is My Best Friend

I used to have lots of friends. Really, I did. The kind of friends you hang out with, and talk to, and um, et cetera. Good friends. But here's the thing I noticed about these so-called friends: after the first few hours of tooting my own horn, allowing myself to be flattered, expounding the benefits of being me, and going over the minutiae of my glamourous life with a fine-tooth comb, they would not-so-subtly start to steer the conversation...toward themselves!

The truth about life is that most people are less interesting than me. They do things like go to work, pay bills, tend babies. Stuff that I don't want to hear about. I'm pretty certain the polite thing to do would be to smile and nod at the very least, but the first rule about being my friend is to know that I am just not that nice. Expecting me to care about the boring details of your life, such as that big promotion, or your dumb vacation, or your mother is dying of blah, blah, blah, is just plain selfish of you. You should learn to love me the way I am: self-involved. Gloriously so. Deal with it (but deal with it quietly, cause I sure as hell don't want to hear about it).

So, over the years, I developed a great method to avoid the pitfalls of being a 'friend.' I'm usually good for 2-3 hours worth of Jamie praise, and that's the perfect length of time for a lunch date. My 'friend' will order pasta, and I will order 6 martinis. Every time said 'friend' has a mouth full of food, I launch into another tirade about the merits of slides over mules, and how many pairs of each I have in my closet. I time my breaths and sips when 'friend' is busy dipping into the bread basket, and before you know it, lunch is being cleared away and, finding myself empty of Jamie-prattle, I excuse myself to use the little girl's room, and stealthily use one of many convenient exits that restaurants nowadays provide (they say it's for fire code, but I know better...it's for ditching boring friends). Not only is this a frist-rate way to not hear about "baby's first steps", it's also a great way to skip out on your half of the bill.

Eventually this friend will get the hint, and no more lunch dates will be scheduled. The conscientious ones will continue to invite me to all the big parties where mercifully, I won't be subjected to any boring one-on-one conversations about, well, other people. In fact, it puts me into a room where I can shine rightfully as the center of attention, and it gives me a whole stable of new people to dazzle, mingle, and delight with tales of everyone's favourite subject, me!

However, living in a small town as I presently do, or even in a nice mid-sized one like Ottawa, it's easy to run out of faces to talk to. At best, even wearing the lowest-cut top I own, I can run into the same people only 2-3 times before one of them will be cheeky enough to interrupt my story with "That reminds me of something that happened to ME the other day", the unforgiveable little bastard, and suddenly, nothing matters because the world is no longer revolving around me. Fuck.

Well, friends, there is a remedy to everything. In therapy, everything is about me, all the time. Hell, I can even tell a story twice if I want to, and I don't have to dress like a tart with my tits out to do it. I get 50 minutes just dripping in attention just for being me (and having a cheque book). My therapist never wants to tell me that he has needs to, and he doesn't get huffy if I forget to ask how his week was. I just bask in my own glow, gabbing away, and he gives small encouraging nods to keep me going. And not only does he consistently act interested, he even takes notes! Man, I wish my other friends would take notes. Sometimes, it's like they know nothing about me at all, even when the obvious is staring them in the face. The other day I was lunching with a 'friend' and when the waiter deposited my dirty martini in front of me, she had the audacity to say "Isn't that your 5th?" Uh, no, actually, it's only my 4th, but thanks for counting. Jeez.

Therapists are where it's at. Money cannot buy a truer friend.

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