Scene. A large room, painted white. White desk, white curtains, grey couch. A plant on the desk. Generic and green. A smell in the air of Cotton Febreeze and laundry that is clean. Big windows that gaze at a city in distress: filled with bad taste, chaos and waste. Luckily enough it’s a sunny day and everybody knows sunny days make everything better. If you expected me to keep on rhyming, well, you were wrong.
Behind that big, white, shiny desk sat a woman. Upright, cross-legged, stiff everywhere but loose in the hands. She is waiting for her next patient to come and spill the beans. Another individual that had it bad in his teens. She wonders what kind of abuse has this poor soul endured. Was he raped, beaten, or maybe severely insecure? Uuuuh, maybe he’s a repressed gay man that’s been living a lie! She’ll listen to him and then help change his life! She smiled, giddy as a child at the thought of maybe, actually fixing someone, a he or a she. Yes, a naive child, indeed.
A knock at the door. The damaged one is here. “Oh, come in, you poor darling! I’ll make your pain disappear!” She thought that, but she, of course didn’t say it. How inappropriate and awkward would it be?! (No, seriously, on a scale of 1 to 10? 1 being cringe-worthy and 10 being bat shit crazy?) Control yourself, lady! That’s why you got into psychology! Breathe in, breathe out!
(The man enters, head down, shy and polite. He looks positively troubled, disturbed and fucked up. He’s biting his nails, his eyes look like shit and I’m not even gonna talk about the circles underneath!)
The troubled young man: Uhm, hi! I mean, hello, doctor... uhm...
The eager young psychologist (goes in for a repressed hug/awkward handshake type of thing): Amy! Just call me Amy. I mean, doctor Amy. And you must be Chris.
The troubled young man (visibly nervous): Yes, yes I am.
Amy: Please, sit down, Chris.
Chris (he wipes the beads of sweat running off his forehead and sits clumsily): Thank you.
Amy: Tell me, Chris, why are you here? What’s been bothering you?
Chris (with growing despair): Well, you see, I’ve been hiding this thing, this... terrible thing for half of my adult life. I... I seemed to be fine with it but lately it’s just been so much more difficult. I mean I can’t sleep, I can’t work, I can barely eat! Everywhere I go, with every person I meet I have to face this... this demon that keeps tormenting me! I can’t escape it, doctor! (starts weeping loudly)
Chris (swallowing his tears): Amy...?
Amy: Or doctor Amy. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Please go on.
Chris: I’ve been keeping this secret for so long... I can’t bring myself to say it out loud. It’s too hard.
Amy: Chris, you are in a safe environment. You will not be judged here. You have to tell me your secret in order for me to help. Otherwise, there’s nothing I can do. Plus, you’ve already been charged for this session, so get in there, get your money’s worth! ( chuckles then gets embarrassed)
Chris (trying to gather up the courage): I... I have... Whuuuuu... Aaaaa... (losing it) I can’t, I just can’t. I wanna say it but then I can’t breathe and I feel like I’m choking and I’m seeing spots and whoooooooo...
Amy: Ok, Chris, take it easy. Breathe in (does it), breathe out (does it). You don’t have to say it. But you do need to, and what’s more important, you want to! Right? That’s why you came here. Now...start by saying it in your mind over and over again. Ok? Just... say it to yourself.
Chris (slowly nodding and trying to convince himself): Ok, I can do that. I can do that. I can do that! I can do that.
Amy (impatient): Then do it! (softening) Go on, slowly but surely.
(Chris begins saying the phrase in his head. It is visible that he is struggling but the more he does it, the easier it becomes. When he reaches a comfortable state Amy intervenes.)
Amy: Great job, Chris. Don’t stop, keep saying it in your head and when you’re ready start whispering it to yourself. Alright? (he nods). Let’s try it.
(Chris goes slowly and fearfully from no voice to the faintest whisper.)
Amy: And now, you keep at it and everytime I touch your arm, like so (demonstrates with a simple, gentle tap on his arm) you will go up a level. Slowly increasing, ok? Nothing to it, you can do this.
(Chris breathes methodically and nods his head. Things go as planned and slowly we start to make out what he might be saying. Amy is growing more and more excited, she tries to hide it but curiosity is eating at her like a mouse at a big chunk of smelly cheese. She is also breathing methodically in an attempt to contain her emotions and not scare the mouse back into head voice mode. At this point in time, she taps his arm and starts to make out some words.)
Chris: I... have... never...
(Amy listening intently, taps his arm again.)
Chris: I have never had salad.
(Amy’s face drops in disbelief and confusion. That can’t be it. She taps again.)
Chris (louder): I have never had salad.
(Amy could not believe her ears. In a frenzy she started tapping Chris’s arm over and over again, his voice was getting louder and stronger. She tapped madly, he yelled freely: I HAVE NEVER HAD SALAD!!!! They both stopped. They were sitting there, exhausted. Him, relieved and almost victorious. Her, stuck and almost immovable. Her eyes were moving left to right like crazy and then words started bursting out of her mouth like water from a fountain.)
Amy: Salad? You’ve never had SALAD? That was it?! The big secret?! The great, dark demon that torments you at night?! The thing that’s stopping you from being at peace with yourself?! Are you fucking kidding me? Is this a joke? (he has no time to respond, she is really going for the jugular here). I have dedicated all my years, all that energy, all the hopes of uncovering extraordinary past traumas!!! For what?! For this?! For someone who has never had salad?! ( laughs a maniacal laugh, like you see in the movies) I mean, my God, that’s ridiculous! At least tell me you’re gay! Please!!! You have to be gay! I mean look at you! You’re like a hungover Prince Charming! You look neat, you smell like fresh raspberries and your hair is simply surreal!! Please, God let him be gay!
Chris: I... I’m not...
Amy (not missing a beat): How does that even HAPPEN? HUH? HOOOOW?! How the fuck do you go through life and never stumble upon a salad?! I mean, they’re everywhere, God damn it! Oh my God, I am hyperventilating, I can’t stop, I’m freaking out.
Chris (baffled and confused): Doctor Amy?
Amy: I just... I mean what kind of person has never had salad before? I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that! (can’t catch her breath)
Chris: Are you ok?
(Amy nods a desperate “no” while breathing heavily.)
Chris: Take it easy. Just sloooow it down. One breath iiiiiiin, one breath ouuut. Nice and steady. In and out.
Amy (calmer): I’m so sorry, I’m sure there are extraordinary circumstances that lead to this... uhm... situation. That was so unprofessional! I’m so ashamed! I... I have to explain myself. You see, I was so ready to help you. But I was ready to help with issues that I knew how to... well, handle. And then you sprung this on me... and I didn’t know how to help and I... I rrreally need to help. That’s what I do! Otherwise I feel useless. You made me feel useless. Well, no, not you! Just your... situation. I’m making it worse, aren’t I?
Chris: No, weirdly enough you’ve made it better. Finally someone else freaked out over something that I’ve been freaking out about forever! I felt... oddly understood.
Amy: Hmm, did not expect that. I mean, yeah, I know! I intended to do that! That was totally planned. It’s a new method, it’s called “Man In The Mirror”.
Chris: Man in the mirror? Like the Michael Jackson song?
Amy: Yup, mhm, inspired by the man himself. Too late to help him, though. He was long dead when we came up with this! (nervous laughter) I’m sorry, I say inappropriate things when I’m nervous.
Chris (smiles): I wish I could do that.
Amy: So, what happened? How did you manage to avoid salads for half of your life?
Chris: Well, you know, classic “mom dies choking on a salad leaf, boy never eats salad” story.
Amy: Oh my God, really?!
Chris: No, not really. At least I would have had a real “reason” if that were true. Truth is I didn’t eat salads when I was a kid because I found them gross, I guess. Just the way they looked! Everything thrown into a bowl and mixed together so randomly. And then as time went by, the pressure grew, that pressure that I had to taste one! And then I saw how people judge other people that don’t like or don’t eat salad! It terrified me! I got more and more afraid to find out. I much-preferred the coward approach. So, I kept stalling... But I’ve just reached a point where I’ve lied to everyone I’ve ever met! It’s too much
Amy (enthusiastic, figuring things out as she goes): Oh my God, I totally know what’s wrong with you! I mean, not that anything is actually wrong with you! You’re just afraid. When you were a child you were afraid of independence, of the chaos that awaited for you in the real world! You must have been a really insightful child! You correlated the uncertainty and the chaotic aspects of life with...well, salads. But what you did not realize is that you make your own salad, Chris. You choose what goes in there. You are the master of your own salad. It’s perfectly normal to feel anxious, tough to be fair, not this anxious.
Chris: What if I put the wrong things in there? What if they don’t work well together? What then?
Amy: Those are just mistakes you have to make, they’re chances you take. If they work, great! If they don’t, now you know what to discard and next time you make a better salad. I hate cucumbers in my salad! How did I find out? I put cucumbers in my salad! Then I knew I did not want them there ever again!
Chris: That makes sense.
Chris: As for people judging you based on your salad preference, you need to let that go. I’m sure they judge you plenty for all the other things. Kidding! People are assholes and they will judge you for the weirdest “reasons”. You have to stop depending on what others think of you. Allow yourself to be free and experience life! Stop hiding behind a salad, Chris. It’s not very effective. Plus, you’re too pretty to be this afraid.
Chris (blushing): Wow, that’s a lot to take in… You’re pretty rough! And sneaky too!
Amy: Hey, I could have dragged this for another 3 sessions but I think it’s in your best interest to spend that money on salads.
Chris: Haha. You’re funny too!
Amy: You pay for the full package. Are you not entertained?
Chris (coy): Oh, I am.
Amy: So, I know you’ve never had a salad but have you ever had your salad tossed?
(They went back to Doctor Amy’s place - she insisted to be called Doctor Amy for this part - and she made him his first salad. And it was this one right here. I shit you not.)
Disclaimer: There are no precise measurements for this one, so go crazy boys and girls! Your life in a bowl! Go ahead, mix it up, have some fun, make some fucking mistakes and learn how to get over them. Life lessons from a salad. This is what my life has come to.
Step 2: Dress the salad bush a bit. Not too much. Think erotica not straight up porn.
Step 3: Make it rain with micro-herbs. Bitches loooove micro-herbs. I know I just called myself a bitch. It's self awareness week. Unagi, I am always aware ;)
Also, if you're wondering what the fuck are micro-herbs and why you need them in your life, listen up. They are very tiny herbs. You don't need them, they just look purty and make you feel better about yourself.
Step 4: Bring on the cheese, the figs, the blackberries. Top with pecans (I keep mine in honey, cause it makes me feel precious).
Step 5: You know what to do. Toss that salad, baby. Ain't nobody watching you (read this in Barry White's voice). You're welcome.
Amy: So, what do you think?
Chris(thinking about it): I'm thinking about it...
Amy: Well, think faster, I wanna know!
Chris: I loved it. If all salads are like this, I'm in! I mean, sweet, salty, tangy, soft, crunchy! Man, that was a sweet ride!
Amy(pleased with herself): I knew you were a salad man.
("Barry White - Can't get enough of your love, baby" playing in the background).
And then they tossed the salad and it was gooood (yes, with plenty of ooooo-s).
THE END, bitches! :D