Waiting in Line at the Psychiatrist


All seats are full, and my seat is too close to the doctor’s office. The only time I ever watch television is when I’m in line at this office. I can hear an angry man explaining his life story in between a Halloween episode of Magnum, P.I.

The office manager is a friend of mine; we went to the same state university and he likes Marx, too. The office manager tells me that his hometown of Oakland is being run by a woman he calls a neocon. He tells me that the mayor of Long Beach reminds him of the mayor of Oakland. He tells me that his pet peeve is seeing people on their phones in rush-hour traffic. He tells me that he saw a guy on his phone behind the wheel watching porn. “I wish I had that concentration,” he tells me.

I haven’t written anything since my grandmother asked me to write my grandfather’s obituary and eulogy, but I couldn’t speak at his funeral. He was in the Korean War and his withered, antiquated draft card reads:

“Race: Greek

“Complexion: Dark”

I, the resident agoraphobe, was forced to attend his burial at a military cemetery in Riverside. I closed my eyes the whole ride there. Riverside felt like a humid, stagnant Trumpian hellscape, and I didn’t put my right hand over my heart. “I’m a communist I’m a communist I’m a communist,” I kept reminding myself.

Earlier today I learned about dialectical behavior therapy. Earlier today I learned about borderline personality disorder. Earlier today I took my Klonopin like the wafers they give Catholics at communion.

On the freeway I sat as a passenger gazing at the northbound headlights. We passed the Getty and I thought about how fucked this place is; Los Angeles was designed to divide and conquer. Most days I don’t understand how I ended up here, but maybe this is my destiny—to live and die in a city that has never cared about any of us surviving.

On the television a commercial now plays George Michael’s ‘Freedom! ‘90.’ My appointment will run late. My psychiatrist will tell me that she’s worried I’m pathologizing myself again. I will be her last visiter, leaving at 11:30 p.m. I will be prescribed a new mood stabilizer because attempting to rehabilitate the purportedly unstable and infirm with more pills is easier than eviscerating this fucking country.