My boyfriend E.S. is, as you may recall, a doctor doing his first year of residency in the psychiatry ward of a local hospital. This means he spends all his time taking care of manic depressives and sociopaths. (“And then he goes to work,” yes, I know, I know.)
Anyway, early this morning, I woke up at his apartment only to find the place filled with the divine odor of freshly baked chocolate-chip cookies. “Oh, sweetheart,” I said, thrilled and delighted, “what a nice surprise. You didn’t have to make cookies just for me.”
“I didn’t,” he said. “While we were in Beverly Hills, the hospital staff had a sign-up for the Christmas party today. Somebody signed me up to bring cookies, so I have to make cookies.”
“Oh, are the patients coming to the party?” I joked.
“No, of course not,” he said. “Their party is tomorrow.”
At first I thought he was kidding. But then it finally sank in: The crazy people were going to have a Christmas party.
I begged him to take me to observe, but he refused; I persisted, and he gave me some cockamamie story about “doctor-patient privilege.” I pleaded with him at least to describe what it would be like. How would the crazy people get there–would there be an announcement on the loudspeaker? Would they make small talk with each other? Would there be snacks?
There would indeed be an announcement on the loudspeaker, he told me, and there would be snacks, but none of the patients were high-functioning enough to make small talk or, in fact, to have a coherent conversation at all.
I pestered him so much that he finally said, “Look. It’s not going to be nearly as interesting as you think it is. This is what it’ll look like.”
And then he did a generous, compassionate imitation of a crazy person at the crazy people’s Christmas party.
I am going to go to that thing if I have to fake first break paranoid schizophrenia and check myself in to the hospital to do it.