Remember your audience


I am shooting the shit with my therapist.

Which is to say, I am half-weeping, half-ranting on his couch. I haven't cried in here for weeks, so I am annoyed with myself.

He hands me the tissue box. Dumb tissue box.

Speaking of dumb, I tell him the dumb things I have done. Then I tell him the smart things I have done, to counter the dumb things.

I am a little surprised to hear he thinks the dumb things I did were smart. And that he thinks the smart things I did were maybe a little dumb.

Seriously? I say. Are you high?

I'm just saying, he says. When you express yourself, remember your audience.

REMEMBER MY AUDIENCE? I yell, incredulous.

He looks mildly taken aback.

What do we talk about in here? When exactly have I ever STOPPED remembering my fucking audience? BECAUSE I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW THAT. I've spent 42 years trying to please the fucking audience of the day. I AM TIRED OF REMEMBERING MY FUCKING AUDIENCE. I deserve a Lifetime Achievement Award for Remembering My Fucking Audience. My audience can go fuck itself. 

He considers this. We have known each other for a long time.

Touche, he says, smiling.



So the tree's finally down? 

Yes, Mom.

But you still didn't put together the table for Hannah's room? That's a shame.

Oh my God. I did. With G and N.

Oh. Well, I didn't know that. Did you clean the litter boxes?

I'm getting to it.

You really need to do that.

I know, Mom.

I joined an outreach committee. Thirteen weeks of touring different volunteer opportunities, learning more.

Uh-huh. That's great. I'm going to learn how to bottle-feed orphaned baby squirrels.

They have all kinds of groups. Bipolar Support Groups, you name it.


You should go.

Yeah, except I've now gathered enough evidence to prove that I am not the crazy one in my ecosystem. I am going to take Skittles instead of my meds until the rest of the world gets its fucking act together and mans up.

Wait. You're taking your medicine, right?

Yes, which is a brave and selfless act, because the fact that I take medicine and talk about it means that people who are crazier than I am get to feel incredibly pompous and awesome about themselves for not taking medicine. And don't even get me started on Claire Danes in Homeland. One green pill every five days. PUH-LEASE.


Claire Danes.

I couldn't get into that show. I couldn't understand why she'd be interested in him. Terrorist or not, he's just not that exciting. He's not my type.

I know what you mean. Very unappealing terrorist.

His coloring, bleh. There's just nothing about him.

I hear you.

Did you put the Christmas ornaments away in the basement?

Not yet, Mom.

You really need to do that.

Mom, I think I am doing great.


Considering this month sucks ass so bad, and I am pissed off at the sun for continuing its bullshit rising and setting? I THINK I AM DOING A GREAT JOB, ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

You didn't have to take in that dog, Jennifer. Maybe...

And you don't have to write fan fiction, Mom. But you do that, because it makes sense to you AND GIVES YOUR LIFE MEANING.

I'm just saying, the animals mean resources you don't have.

So let's pool our money and get a place together with a fenced yard and a grandma's apartment. You're paying too much rent. You know you are. Together we could get a much better, warmer place with plenty of room.

Oh, I could never live like that, Jennifer. With all those animals.

I could never live without them. They are the only thing that makes sense to me. Besides the girls. No, Sophie makes no sense. She's been twelve for three years. She confuses me.

Come on.

I like the clear social signals of dogs.

Yes, you've said this before, Jennifer. Are you sure you're taking your meds?

The human race could learn a lot from dogs and their social signals. They actually give warnings before attacking. That's classy. I admire a creature that growls several times before it lunges and shreds my jugular.

You just need to let things go. Do you talk to R about this? Letting things go? In therapy? Your feelings?

No, Mom. We say the rosary together. Of course we talk about this. We talk about everything. 

Well, I don't know. It seems like you're still very affected by your past.

Oh my God. OH MY GOD. Yes, apparently that happens TO SOME PEOPLE. Other people are born with the La La La Happy Face genome.

Did you delete that email? You should delete that awful woman's email. 

Nope. I'll save it, in case she pulls that shit again, so I can get a restraining order.

Well, I don't know. Maybe you should just delete it.

No way. I filed it in my PRAY FOR THESE FUCKERS folder, along with the psycho White Supremacist email from your third cousin.

Jennifer. Really.

Mom. Did he or did he not send me badly spelled racist email? And tell me if I like Muslims so much, maybe I should go live in Iraq?

No, he did. That side of the family, well. Oy.

The White Supremacist. Sounds like a pizza. We need three large White Supremacists. No dark meat.


Never mind. I'm just talking to myself.

What did you mean on the Facebook? About hearing imaginary voices? They weren't, you know. Sitting on your bed with you.

No. I was just talking to myself again.

Oh. You talk to R about that during your sessions? About talking to yourself?

In between the lighting of the incense and the ringing of the bells.


Never mind. Mom. Do you EVER get sad? Like, seriously. Sad. Angry.

I don't know. I guess I do all right.

Yup, I would have to say you do. I wish I were you. I really do.

I know. I wish that for you too.


Disclaimer: My mother does not the creative license I have taken with this post and is Worried What People Will Think. So I will click "COMMENTS OFF" for this one. For the record, I love my mom very much, she loves me very much, and I really do wish I had her blithe DNA.