“law of human psychology” by Julia at the bus stop

Thursday January 24, 2019
4:08pm
5 minutes
A quote by William Pickens

Lynn was excited to drop her psych classes and start taking theatre. She knew she belonged on stage, or with actors, or in a daydream maybe. She had never done anything for herself in her short life. Both her parents were doctors, one therapist, one orthopaedic surgeon. She was supposed to be a doctor too, and they said the field of medicine is up to her. That was all that was up to her. She started seeing the theatre kids around the halls, wearing black, singing in unison. Lynn didn’t remember the last time she let herself sing outside of the shower. It looked incredibly freeing! Maybe even spiritual. All this time she wished she could tell stories to audiences willing to hear them. She pictured herself being blinded by he stage lights and glowing from the inside out. If she left psych she would have to pay for everything else on her own. Lynn couldn’t wait to start working as a relief receptionist at the ESL centre to finally be in control of her own destiny.

“Modern medicine clashes” by Sasha on her balcony

Thursday May 17, 2018
8:43pm
5 minutes
from The Observer (UK)

“You must be Mrs. Macarthy? It’s nice to meet you, I’m the resident who assisted Dr. Chokrany in Stephen’s surgery. I’m pleased to say that it was a success, and your husband is in post-op and he should be waking up in the next hour or so…”

“Hi Mom, I only have a minute and – … No, Mom. I don’t get long weekends. I’m – … Mom, I only have a minute so please let me finish. I didn’t get the fellowship in Halifax so I won’t be back for Gus’ wedding… Mom. Calm down. I, I – … Shit, I have to go. I’ll call you back when I’m out of surgery. I love you.”

“Babe? I’m going to be late… I’m sorry… I, I – … It’s been a long fucking shift, okay, and – … I’ll be home by ten at the latest.”

“Are you Sue Rothstein’s son? Hi, I’m Dr. Gold, I’ve just come out of the OR and I’m so sorry to say that your mother’s tumour had spread into her brain far more intensely than we could see from the imaging. She didn’t make it through surgery. I’ll give you a minute, and if you have any questions – … We always do our best, that always what we do… I’m sorry for your loss.”

“if indoors, stay indoors” by Sasha at her desk


Monday June 26, 2017
11:51pm
5 minutes
From the Central 1 credit union emergency response plan

It all starts when you get hives, clustered around your collarbones, reaching up your neck. You think it’s a spider bite and then Janis says, “What’d you have for lunch?”

Dr. Klein is useless. He tries to put you on anti-depressants. “I’m not depressed,” you say. He gives you a look like you will be, or you should be, or you could be.

Soon, a triad of plantar warts sprout on the ball of your left foot. You hobble around the office and Janis says, “What’d you have for lunch?!”

“the waiting room and the forms” by Sasha at JJ Bean on Cambie


Friday October 28, 2016
12:15pm
5 minutes
A LENNY Interview with Amanda Nguyen

I am a good pretender. I still think about doing it professionally, actually, especially when I’m lonely or the season’s change or when it smells like mothballs and tequila. You all try to fool yourselves that it’s not pretending, that it’s truth-telling but everyone else is laughing like crows.

Sitting in the waiting room, filling out the forms, picking egg yolk from my cuticle, rolling my eyes at the magazine selection. I’m pretending, Mistress of Disguise, clever clever. When the mouse behind the counter who tells everyone what to do but gets paid the least, when the mouse calls my name I smile. Liar. I smile and I hand in my form and I walk down the long hall.

“if something opens up” by Sasha on the couch


Saturday, July 16, 2016
1:16am
5 minutes
From a text

Secretary’s pencil is scratching
all over the damn place
Construction worker boot
tap tap tap tap tap
tap tap
Jiggling the whole row
of chairs
The baby
The nun
Me
“Dead man walking” I expect
to hear pencil poised apologetically
“Dead man walking”

Name call roll call
I’m up with the lipstick on her teeth
“Mr. Anderson?” Nod
“Dr. Henry has had an emergency that
needs to be attended to and she must
reschedule my apologies that you came
all the way in I hope you don’t live
too far away I can call you if
something open’s up”

“you can work on in your backyard” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday March 23, 2016
11:21pm
5 minutes
viralnova.com

Mom calls me from the subway and her phone keeps cutting out because she’s standing on the steps half deciding whether or not to hang up or go and catch her damn train. She calls me back every time and I can’t get any work done or any listening done because we manage to sneak in one or two conjunctions and then there’s static. She’s scared of going to the doctor because she’s convinced they’re going to tell her she’s dying. She’s afraid of cancer. She has no visible symptoms. She is just afraid so she made the appointment. She’s not saying any of this. She’s talking about aunt Rene’s cockatiel and how the Chinese garlic situation has fucked with her tomato sauce. I want to tell her to go and to listen to them tell her that she’s fine but I can’t actually promise anything of the sort. I picture her attached to the subway stairs for hours, clinging in between the knowing and the unknowing of every single thing on this planet. I picture how she feels when she decides the reason she can’t get herself to go is because her only kid is too busy not reading in between her lines to go and be there for her. I put on my shoes.

“Imagine having fantastic sex with him or her” by Julia in her bed


Wednesday, January 13, 2016
11:58pm
5 minutes
Instant Enlightenment
David Deida


I am giving couple’s counselling to my parents. Well to my mother. My father is in the other room and we are pretending he doesn’t hear us or know that his kid and his wife are “discussing” him. This is partially on purpose. If he thinks we think he can’t hear us he might listen harder and think to himself, “hmm, I’d like to try that so when I do, it will seem like my idea and things will be better without needing to talk about it.” It is also so it looks like the advice is being given to my mother alone, when really my father can take from it what he needs, even if he doesn’t act on it. My mother nods her head and says, “You’re right, you’re right” a lot. I am not having this conversation so I can be right, and usually when someone says that it means they just don’t like the response they were given. But she is still listening and I am still talking so either way, we’re having this conversation whether things change or not. I am inside my head and well outside my body at the same time. I am separating myself from being her daughter and talking to her like I would my patients. Or my would-be patients. I am practicing my skills on someone who is not paying me yet, because I need to get good at telling all kinds of people to “imagine having fantastic sex with him or her.” So far I have said, “love is your only objective,” which seems to be working.

“We cannot diagnose or advise” by Sasha at Moksha Yoga Vancouver


Sunday September 20, 2015
7:45pm
5 minutes
http://www.bcwomens.ca

“We cannot diagnose or advise you regarding the scallywags in your guts”
Her coral smile is warm like hope
I’m unsure where to stand so I sit
on the cold lime linoleum
Leaning my head back against the coffee table
Chipped red nails scratch against a keyboard
“Help me” is the small voice that’s inside out
She hears though
She reaches for my hand
“I’m so sorry”
And she means it
She tucks me into a chair near her desk and brings me a Vanity Fair

“original packaging” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday, April 25, 2015
10:14pm
5 minutes
From a receipt from The North Face

There were three reasons why Anna didn’t want to go to the doctor.
One – Doctors never bring good news. Why would anyone want to go to a place where it’s a given that there will be bad news? Isn’t that the sign that there’s something wrong with you? If you seek out bad news?
Two – Her sister had died on the table of a walk-in clinic three falls ago. No explanation. Just dead. She had been there to get some answers about a rash on her stomach. Anna had vowed to stay away from all “clinics” from thereon in.
Three – When she used to go to the doctor it made her sweat in places she didn’t even knew existed – inside her ears; her fingertips; underneath her toenails. “Is that sweat?” she’d asked her boyfriend at the time. He’d scoffed and made fun of her.

“Smoking seriously harms you” by Sasha on Nadeem’s bed in Mississauga


Wednesday December 24, 2014
1:16am
5 minutes
A pack of Marlboro

We’re not sure he’ll make it
We hope you can take it
We don’t want to give you a start

We’re sorry to say it
We don’t want to relay it
We hope that we’re doing our part

He shouldn’t have done it
His lungs just couldn’t bare it
He wasn’t the smartest of smart

The nicotine sticks aren’t the worst of it
The drugs and the alcohol are it
Here’s a lemony tart

“Wish I could, you know that” by Julia at Bolpetta


Sunday November 30, 2014 at Bolpetta
3:45pm
5 minutes
overheard at Bolpetta

I’m kind of mad at you, I guess. I was really angry before but now I’m. I don’t know just upset, really. I want to explain why I’m upset. I really want you to understand that for me this is not an overreaction. I’m not exaggerating. You made me feel a certain way and it’s valid and I want you to know that.
So. Ok. So I guess I have the floor, then don’t I? I’ve been working on my nerve but it doesn’t seem to be showing. Dr. Abrahams wants me to use “I” statements. “I feel” statements. You. Sorry I mean I feel..felt..because it happened already. Um. Okay. I felt betrayed by you when you decided to eat at the meatball place without me even though I told you it was very important to me. I know you will think that it’s a petty thing to be upset over but you. I feel that you threw away my feelings and decided I was not important enough for you to wait. That’s how it felt. I am entitled to that feeling. It signifies that when it’s really life or death you won’t have the sense to keep me in mind. I am entitled to that feeling.

“a few pieces of furniture” by Julia at Cafe D’amour


Thursday, July 3, 2014
2:22pm at Cafe D’Amour
5 minutes
Design UK
Max Fraser


You know it was hard for her, cause she had to fast, but my sister was saying that the colonoscopy results showed nothing. Yes. She’s really starting to slide. We’re not sure what this is, if it’s part of her cancer condition-you know, we keep having to watch her fall a part and it’s kind of emotional for us. Okay. Well I would appreciate it if you could pass it on. Like I said, I think it’d be nice to get her a wheelchair just so she can feel like she’s–yes. Oh excellent. Thank you so much. But if you can pass on to Doctor Lowen about her physical condition. We’re just worried about–yes I know it’s not actually officially cancer. But something’s in her lung, something’s in her brain. We need to have some answers here. No, no, Yana, I appreciate you getting back to me. Thank you so much. They eliminated the lumps in her uterus, they say they’re benign, but you know, we have all those other tests to get scheduled. And you know what I’ve been hearing is that all the guys who run those tests are just out on vacation right now. Well thank you, I’m glad that you–oh sure, we will. We’ll be in touch. Thanks again for getting back to me Yana. Thank you for understanding, it’s been a bit rough for us. Okay well I’ll tell my mother you send your best, of course. Bye now, Yana.

Sorry about that. I just needed to get that call. I don’t normally answer. Anyway, what’s your timeline today?

“A passionate hot blooded woman” by Sasha on her couch


Monday May 26, 2014
12:32am
5 minutes
from the ‘Julia’ candle

My palms are sweaty and I think I might’ve accidentally worn yesterday’s underwear. Don’t ask me how that happens! Sometimes it does, okay!? “So, Samantha…” Doctor Bald says (his name has been changed to protect his privacy), “what brings you to the birth control clinic this fine May morning?” He’s smug. He’s looking like he woke up to a blowjob and some yeasted waffles. Motherfucker. “I, uh, I think I might have a… I need a prescription for the pill.” He smiles like someone is giving him a really good foot massage. I look down. No one. Shit. “Okey-dokey, Samantha. Now have you been on birth control before?” “Yes, no… I don’t know… Kind of? I’ve used condoms.” I hate that word. It makes me feel twelve. “Never have you embarked on the hormone based birth control?” “Nope…” He strokes his chin, like, like, he cannot believe that a twenty nine year old woman has never taken a fucking A Lesse tablet. “Hm…” He says, looking me up and down.

“customize the formula” by Julia at her kitchen table


Thursday April 3, 2014
11:57pm
5 minutes
ivillage.com

-If we never get out of here, it’ll be all your fault, Rita. If that is even your real name.
-I’m not going to tell you again, I didn’t do it on purpose and it’s my real friggen name. Do you know many people who go out looking on purpose for a name like Rita?
-I don’t believe anything you say anymore.
-Fine.
-Fine.
-I was told you were the best.
-Who told you that?
-I don’t know, Dr. Arnold. Maybe someone else too, I don’t remember.
-He said that?
-Yeah. So then I wasn’t worried, because I trust him, but now I’m not so sure.
-I told you it was an accident. I’m sorry you’re missing it.
-Missing what?
-The ceremony. I’m really sorry about that.
-Right, well your kid only gets one kindergarten graduation. Here’s hoping she makes it to high school or I’m coming after you.
-If it’s any consolation, I missed my kid’s graduation too. On purpose. I was working.
-Oh.
-I know, I’m a bad mother. I wasn’t thinking of him then.
-You feel bad about it at least. That’s a start.
-Not then I didn’t. When it counted.

“dropped the iron” by Julia at her desk


Sunday December 1, 2013
7:17pm
5 minutes
Justine’s Birthday
Jean Sheppard


Oh sweet Lila, he mumbled in his sleep, the house plants are looking grim. Lila had been dead for years. Hardy hadn’t had plants for just as long. He was making little progress in getting past his wife’s death. His doctor friend, Kai, had mentioned once half heartedly that he was disappointed by the developments, and Hardy made sure to ignore him after that. He didn’t see the point in paying a friend for his opinion when he could just ask him for it. Hardy was a bit confused and began to believe that doctor Kai was his friend all along, and maybe even in the first place. Kai didn’t want Hardy to feel alone so he took special precautions during their sessions. He’d pay him closer attention and try to laugh a little more when he attempted to make a joke.

“A sterile cap and mask” by Julia at the Italian Consolate


Friday, September 13, 2013
11:13am
5 minutes
The Birth (Poem)
Paul Muldoon

I hate my doctor. He looks at me with dead eyes. He makes me feel cold. He makes me feel small. He makes me feel like I’m a number. He makes me feel like I’m lying when I tell him my stomach aches. It does. It aches. It feels like it’s burning and he says, “here, take these antacids” and I take them, and still, nothing works. I return to him. I tell him my symptoms again. He looks right through me and says “here these are stronger this time” and I take them. Then I return again. I hate him so much. He doesn’t ask how I am. He doesn’t even remember me. He asks if I’m a smoker. “I was here yesterday,” I tell him. “Do you smoke?” He asks again. I tell him my stomach feels like it’s bleeding. Like it’s trying to push out everything. I tell him “you need to help me.” My doctor has one green eye and one blue. I don’t trust him because of that fact alone. When I see him in his office, he feels like a ghost. The whole room feels like a shed. Like a laundry room without insulation. Like a chilly bathroom tile right after you step out of a warm shower.
I want to tell him this. But something keeps me from speaking my mind.

“Become a doctor.” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday, January 15, 2013
12:41am
5 minutes
http://www.stumbleupon.com

Knew this guy from high school. He said he always wanted to become a doctor, or a medic, or something like that. I never saw the use in science classes or math. I assumed I would never be anything close to smart since I didn’t care about anything that proved one was. This guy I’m talking about, we used to have these debates. Mostly about God, and philosophy, funnily enough. We competed for grades but we were in completely separate systems. How could calculus ever be a thing to compete with Lit? It couldn’t. And yet, somehow, he was convinced that I was going to be a problem for him. Like I said, I never expected to become someone you’d associate with smart. I should mention now, I guess, that I am in fact a doctor. The guy from high school? He’s the manager of a Danier Leather and he hates his life. I hated math and science, and then one day, I just decided I didn’t want to hate them anymore. It sounds over simplified, but if you knew me you’d understand. I just get it. I get a lot of stuff so it just depends on what I want to get. Then it’ll be good. I love my practice, truly. I can’t picture myself doing anything else now. Back then the only thing I thought I was going to be was a bright pregnant teenager who taught her future children about bad choices.