Okay, so yeah, it’s bad… Like, really, really bad. But my therapist’s taste in home décor isn’t the only reason why I’m leaving her. Sure, I could definitely do without the grapevine heart-shaped wreaths perched above her taxidermied squirrels, or the refurbished pallet bookcase clashing royally with her (clearly) faux-driftwood paneled walls. But then there’s also the novelty songbird clock going off somewhere beyond her home office during each of our weekly video calls, followed by some man shouting at the clock to shut up, followed by a second man telling that first man to shut the fuck up.
And so my first thought was: polyamorous? Which, hey, would’ve been more than enough to forgive her for the DIY mason-jar lights strung over her head like a dozen bad ideas. (One of the few personal details I knew about my therapist prior to the lockdown, back when I was still crying to her face-to-face rather than over videochat with the Unabomber’s queer-eyed cabin as her office backdrop, was that she was married. Although to whom, or how many, in what style of classic Italian-inspired luxury, was still left up to my imagination.)
But alas, unfortunately, no more. As all of my fantasies about her were shattered last week when this burly neckbeard in sweatpants barged into her home office (well, more like a “work den”) mid-session to accuse her of stealing his phone charger. Then after he’d stomped off, I just had to address the elephant in the room: “Uh… so is that an antique-patina steamer chest being used as an end table, or is something wrong with my live feed?”
But so, yeah. My therapist’s son (who must be at least thirty-years old) still lives at home with his parents—and I’m supposed to take life advice from this woman? Who can’t even tell the difference between Tuscan rustic and cottage lodge? Who indiscriminately mixes country kitsch with west-coast chic? How am I ever supposed to reconcile with that?
Prior to the lockdown, I used to leave my therapist’s mid-century modern office (boulders of anxiety lifted from my chest) pondering over what sort of grand esoteric life must exist for this elegant soul out there in the world, at which twinkling European subcompact in the parking lot must be hers… Now I’m not so sure she hadn’t arrived to work each day in a rusty wheelbarrow, retired now to her living room ottoman.
I’ve tried my best to look past it, to accept that my therapist is a real human being with an equally difficult, confused existence as my own, to not fall victim to these old ways of obsessive thinking, of allowing one negative aspect of a person to take root, flourish in its judgments and poison my whole perspective—but seriously, who the fuck puts a cowhide rug in the same room as a gold Corinthia centerpiece bowl? I mean, what’s next? Decorative acorns in a wicker basket? Ceramic mallards bookending a vintage record collection? Honestly, there’s just no telling where it might end.
Which is why I’ve started to see someone new: An online Twitch streamer who (coincidentally) just so happens to be my old therapist’s son, and thus, totally gets my endless frustrations with his mother’s abysmal taste. So far our daily videochats have been exactly what I need. He sits there in the dark, devoid of any defining aesthetic, taking my money by the hour, with the occasional nod of the head to show me that he’s still there, awake, listening.