Sister Golden Hair Surprise, Part 4
Lorna is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Counseling and is working as a researcher. She looks like a young woman with a bright future. Is she?
It was time to reassess my love life, having tried monogamy and promiscuity with limited success. “Reassess” was a code word for “celibacy.” I entered a dry spell. Maybe it all that data analysis I was doing or the counseling grad students I was hanging out with. Like me, they had issues.
Surprise 9: People who choose counseling for a career probably need it themselves. I was an alcoholic obsessed with perfection and craved the approval of others to feel worthy of breathing. This made me the most well-balanced person among my cohorts. One guy had serious “mommy attachments” and was struggling with his sexual identity. Another guy was trying to convince Mommy’s Boy to spend the night with him–just to settle the issue–but he was a shameless flirt with the ladies as well. As an added bonus, he felt intellectually superior to Einstein. A particularly promiscuous woman who was angry with men, women and small animals rounded out the group with whom I studied and partied. We all wanted to help people solve their problems. Yeah, right. We spent most evenings at a local bar commiserating about our grad school work load and how screwed up other people were.
Surprise 10: Professors in institutions of higher learning are not better/smarter than the average person just because they have doctorates. One of our professors was sadistic and liked to make us cry–even the men. Especially the men. He must have confused grad school with Boot Camp. Another was so old, we had to wake him up to continue his lecture…or did we just sneak out while he was napping? It’s hard to remember.
The others would teach us “theories” about how to help people: active listening (required a knack for well-timed, nods,
“ho-hum’s” “mm-hmm’s” and “I heard you say…tell me more…”), behavior modification (“every time you want to shoot someone, take a pillow and fluff it”) or Existentialism (“what’s the meaning of life and why aren’t you getting it?”). I simplified these theories for those without a counseling degree. Bottom line: none were proven effective but we had to master them because it was all they had.
I found time to socialize between my studies, my research job, taking care of my loyal-but-lonely dog, and drinking more heavily each day. It was during this time in my life that I had my one-and-only blind date.
Surprise 11: Just when I thought my love-life “reassessment” had reached a critical mass and I was fully prepared to revisit my childhood plan of becoming a nun (I could gain access to the wine used during masses, right?), a tall, dark, handsome stranger appeared in the a most unlikely place. My libido jumped through the roof–and I was stone-cold sober. The lyrics of the Pointer Sisters’ song “I’m So Excited” captures my reaction to this supernova of a man who had just entered my atmosphere…
Would Lorna make it through graduate school, what with the wacky friends, escalating drinking problem, and her libido on overdrive? What happened with the man of her dreams? Stay tuned…