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Viviane Katz

Yet Another Story of My Life...

A (very short) autobiography...
Welcome to the site of yours truly, Viviane Katz. I moved to Ottawa in the fall of 2005 after plying my trade of graphic designer in a city (AKA “The Big Smoke” or “Hogtown”). Still plying my trade.
I’m an ex-Montrealer by species and am reverting to work-life balance after several years of work ethics that would make a workaholic look like a slacker. Back in Big Smokey Hogtown (sounds like burning bacon!), I worked nine-to-five: nine in the morning to five a.m. the next day. (Yes, that’s me up there, catching forty ZZZZzzzs.)

photo illustration of tools
Stage Fright
Should I get my head examined? I can’t tell my animus from my elbow. The self-help section doesn’t stock Oedipus for Dummies or Id for Complete Idiots. Would therapy have an impact on my life? Maybe. Free association is $100 a pop. Okay, financial impact aside...
Which brings me to a visit with a friend who lives in Paris. No, not the City of Light. Paris is a one-horse one-shrink town, a tiny dot on the Ontario map. It is noted for its fields of root vegetables and the Paris Academy of the Arts.
My friend is not a major fan of turnips and parsnips, but she is proud of the Academy’s contribution to the arts. Particularly its annual Showtune Showdown. While I do appreciate a fine rutabaga or a robust Jerusalem artichoke, I’m a tad iffy on musicals. Still, I accept her invitation to watch Ethel Merman and Robert Goulet wannabes slug it out.
As I settle into my seat, my friend discusses her sessions hashing out her childhood in 45 minute increments. “He is so precise,” my awe-struck friend intones of her therapist. “If he was a brain surgeon, he would know exactly which three neurons to tweak in Conrad Black’s brain to turn him into a Trappist monk.”
I ask her what her therapist looks like — after all this is the man whom my friend has fallen in love with (on and off) numerous times.*
    *It’s called “transference” (in case the term wasn’t covered in your Motivation of Flatworms class).
Since my friend is not sure how to describe him, her therapist conveniently shows up several seats away.
“That’s him!” she stage-whispers.
I glance over at someone who looks a bit young to be a father substitute.
So what is the protocol to follow when seeing one’s therapist in public? The hell I know... My friend cowers.
“Say hi to him,” I tell the Incredible Shrinking Woman.
“No!” she snaps.
“Why not?”
“He’ll bill me!”
SigmundFreud; “Wave to him.”
“He’ll bill me!”
So she tries to be one with the back of her seat. And pretty much succeeds. The shrink is ignoring her.
Intermission. My friend has to leave her seat. Oops, the shrink is seated at the end of the row. So she waits for him to leave rather than lap dance over him or make a flying leap over the next row of seats. Bad move, waiting. As it turns out, the line to the women’s room is long. Yup, it’s just one wee little room (but a major improvement over the outhouse out back).
By the time my friend gets back, the Sing-Along has started. My friend is standing in the dark next to her therapist who is happily singing along to “The Sound of Music”. She looms over him until he notices her. He won’t budge.
Okay, transference time!
She springs into action and signals to him to get up. He reluctantly stands up, starting a chain reaction of rising bodies.
Counter-transference: this is not a happy therapist.
I don’t think the other four or five people she “oops sorry”ed past were very happy, either. However, they’re not the ones she’s going to have to face at Monday’s session.
Yup, there’ll be hell to pay for that hostile maneuver. My friend’s Id, Ego and Super-Ego have a pool going on the shrink's opening volley. The contenders are:
“I’d like to discuss your anger against me.”
“You’re making very good progress in asserting yourself.”
and (drumroll, please)...
“Why didn’t you just wait for the Sing-Along to finish, dammit?!”
For those of you who put the money down on the anger, collect $100. Good for one session with a shrink.
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