I should send this to Dr. Hirshfield!! The duck pond!
I should send this to Dr. Hirshfield!! The duck pond!
Recall the following dream from April 22, 2019:
The Dream of Eggs and Lox:
I am in Atlantic City on vacation with my father. It is a Friday morning. I am very hungry. My father and I go to a restaurant in the inlet. The waitress says: “It’s the end of the week. We have no food. We are waiting for a food shipment. I can serve you, but only one meal. One of you will have to go to another restaurant.” My father and I sit at a table. My father is served an order of eggs and lox. I am angry with my father. I think: “Any other father would let his son eat the one meal and make the sacrifice of going hungry. Because I have a selfish father, I will have to go hungry.” I think, “I have to have my blood drawn later, so at least, I will not have had a high fatty breakfast.” I leave the restaurant and my father and take a walk alone on the boardwalk. I come to Vermont Avenue. My family used to stay at Vermont & Oriental every summer with friends of my father. The Vermont Avenue Apartments have been torn down and I have pangs of nostalgia. In their place have been built a large, modern apartment house. It is pleasing, but it just isn’t the way I remembered Vermont Avenue. There are shops on the first floor. There are many tourists there. I said to one of the tourists, a woman: “The Vermont Avenue Apartments used to be located here.” She said, “I didn’t know that. I never saw that building.” I said, “Did you see the movie Atlantic City? It starred Burt Lancaster. There was a shot of the Vermont Avenue Apartments in that movie.” She said, “I never saw that movie.” I walk on down Vermont Avenue, hoping to come to Oriental Avenue, to see the house where we use to stay. Everything has changed. All the buildings have been torn down. There are sand dunes everywhere with pine trees planted everywhere. I get lost.
[Note how the symbol of “weekly food shipments” might represent weekly psychotherapy sessions. I used to see Dr. Palombo on Friday afternoons. The dream reference to a specific day of the week seems significant in some way.]
In the dream “The Dream of Eggs and Lox” I associated to the mail box in my apartment building. I wrote:
3. At about 6:20 PM on the afternoon on April 22 I was standing in the mail room in my apartment building in front of the mail boxes. I was reading a piece of mail I had received — it was junk mail from Penn State, my college alma mater. The Penn State library was soliciting donations. Someone walked into the mail room and said “excuse me” to me. I was blocking access to his mail box. His statement, “Excuse me” startled me. That person was none other than Dr. Martin Ceaser, a psychoanalyst.
4. Eggs and Lox. This is an obvious reference to eggs and sausages, which I associate with Dr. P—. In my Twitter posts about Dr. P— I frequently jested about a breakfast of “eggs and sausages.” But there is another meaning. Lox also relates to “locks.” I suspect that the lox in the dream is a symbolic reference to Dr. Ceaser who wanted to “unlock” his mailbox. I frustrated Dr. Ceaser’s goal by standing in front of his mail box. Might there be something sexual here (mail box = male)? Is there a relationship to my father frustrating me in the dream? In the dream I wanted to eat the eggs and “locks” but my father took the meal for himself. In the dream my father frustrated me; in the event of the previous day involving Dr. Ceaser, I had frustrated him.
In my therapy session on October 22, 2018 I talked with my therapist about a “locked box” that I saw as a symbol for my personality. It’s as if my mind created the following symbolism: A man unlocking his mail box in a mail room to retrieve his mail is analogous to a psychoanalyst and his patient working together to unlock the contents of the patient’s unconscious (the “mail box”). When I saw Dr. Ceaser (a psychoanalyst) in the mail room retrieving his mail, it must have had an uncanny and startling effect on me: it was a reality representation of the pre-existing metaphor in my mind.
PATIENT [on October 22, 2018]: The absence of symptoms is not health. Just because you don’t have symptoms doesn’t mean you’re healthy. I feel like there’s a buried self within me. Another self that is outside of my awareness. I seem in a desperate plight to get in touch with that buried self. It’s as if I have a kind of treasure within me that’s buried and in a locked box. And I don’t have access to it. But I desperately want to get to the locked box and open it. And I’m struck by the fact that psychoanalysis – the technical aims of psychoanalysis – merges with my fantasy system. In psychoanalysis the idea is to get in touch with the unconscious: the world of unconscious feelings and experience. The thing in psychoanalysis is to get in touch with the part of the self that is warded off from consciousness. And in my fantasy system there is this locked box that is buried inside me – like a treasure, it’s as if I feel I have a treasure buried inside me. [Again, as at the outset of the session, I express a struggle between a conscious, observing “I” that seeks access to a mute “he” (a locked box) that lies beyond conscious awareness.
The Theme of Hunger
In a dream from February 20, 2019, which I associated with my desire for psychoanalysis, I dreamed about intense hunger as in the Dream of Eggs and Lox. The following dream represents a holiday site as in the Dream of Eggs and Lox; in fact, I associated the following dream to an actual vacation I took to Stresa, Italy in 1978.
I am in a deeply wooded area. It is like a picnic site. There is a lake and people are swimming in the lake [as one would do in Atlantic City]. There are islands in the lake off to the distance in one direction. Off to another side of the lake there is what looks like an Egyptian temple, but it is just two supporting structures with a lintel (see picture above), as if it were a giant picture frame in the lake, the two sides of the frame and the top portion of the frame. I am intensely hungry. My sister is there and I say I am hungry for breakfast, tea with a piece of cake. I have a camera and I am taking pictures of the scene. It is a beautiful scene. A boy comes up to me and grabs the camera. He says to me, “I want that,” referring to the camera. I am angered: “Everybody wants something from me,” I think. There is a vague sense of anxiety throughout the dream. My sister seemed detached from the environment. It was as if she and I were having two different experiences in the very same environment. I was enthralled by my surroundings, but my sister seemed indifferent.
Note that in a letter dated December 7, 2015 (I had met Dr. P– on September 29, 2015) that I sent to the then-Director of the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health I talked about my desire for psychotherapy from my former primary care doctor, Dr. P–. In Twitter posts I wrote again and again about my desire to eat breakfast with him (“eggs and sausages”).
December 7, 2015
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tanya A. Royster, M.D.
D.C. Department of Behavioral Health
64 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20002
Dear Dr. Royster:
I am a consumer of mental health services provided by the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health (DBH). I had a weekly out-patient psychotherapy consult with Alice E. Stone, M.D. on Monday December 7, 2015. Dr. Stone is a third-year psychiatry resident working under the supervision of Earl Baughman, M.D. (St. Elizabeths Hospital). I have been a DBH consumer since mid-year 1996, 19 years. Supportive psychotherapy is inadequate for my needs. I believe I need psychodynamic psychotherapy.
Increasingly I view my situation as precarious, desperate and futile. The failure of DBH to provide adequate treatment for me is a terrible strain.
I have formed an idealizing transference with my primary care doctor. Unfortunately, my primary care doctor is not a psychiatrist and psychotherapy with him is not feasible. I yearn for a psychotherapeutic relationship that will address my psychological needs. [“I am intensely hungry for a meal with Dr. P–.”]
October 22, 2018: “But I desperately want to get to the locked box and open it.”
December 7, 2015: “I yearn for a psychotherapeutic relationship that will address my psychological needs.”
The repeated references to hunger for breakfast — is this a reference to my desire for my baby bottle when I was a toddler? As I have written about previously, my baby bottle may have been a transitional object. Psychotherapy can be seen as transitional in nature. My feelings about psychoanalysis might relate to my early affective investment in my baby bottle and my tortured relationship with that object.
I decided to add the recent Dream of Eggs and Lox to the end of the Letter Dated October 10, 2018 of Psychotherapy Reflections. Oddly it fits in beautifully with the pre-existing material — more than “beautifully” it is “uncanny.”
What is odd and striking in the letter are the references throughout to plays, playwriting and movies in the letter in different contexts. I even associate at one point to my mother’s childhood fascination with dolls and Ibsen’s childhood doll house. It’s all psychoanalytically intriguing!! These references trail along the seemingly unrelated manifest text as an interlinear presence.
In the following quote psychoanalyst Margaret Brenman-Gibson talks about play-writing from a psychoanalytic perspective. I am intrigued with the fact that one could substitute the word “dream” in the following text for the word “play.” The analysis of plays is very much like dream analysis.
Against this backdrop it becomes possible to see how a playwright scans his internal “gallery of characters,” as Odets called them, loosing them against one another on the stage in a variety of ways, in an effort to master a set of lifelong conflicts. The remarkable and startling fact is that a body of work decoded this way reveals substantially the same personality themes and struggles repeated over and over. Each character occupies its own psychological territory within the playwright’s identity and, despite external differences, can be discerned from play to play.
He also shaved off the beard of University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, who sported facial hair in the late 1990s.
“I like him . . . He’s a very good man,” Puglisi said.
Trachtenberg said he gets haircuts at Puglisi’s about six times a year.
“He does a perfectly good job, but I’m very easy . . . cut it short,” Trachtenberg said.
When Puglisi’s moved to its its shop to the present location, Trachtenberg said he was initially worried because, at that time, “students (didn’t) get haircuts.” But Trachtenberg said the shop was popular among students because “haircuts came back into fashion” in 1990.
Check out the copyright page. The book contains copyrighted material and I don’t have permission to use it. The only way to use it legally is to call the book educational and forego all royalties. But the publisher requires that I accept a minimum royalty! What to do with the royalty? That was the question.
Addition to “The Dream of the Intruding Doctor”
I think about a biographical incident from Sunday May 18, 1969. I was 15 years old. My sister and brother-in-law got married the previous Sunday, on May 11. On the night of their wedding, they flew to Miami Beach, Florida for their honeymoon. A week later, on the 18th, when they returned, my parents and I picked them up at the airport. They returned to my parents’ house. My uncle Louie and his wife Reggie were there. My mother happened to have a bottle of champagne. We drank a glass of champagne. My sister and brother-in-law had purchased a gift for me, a men’s jewelry box. In retrospect, the jewelry box reminds me of the theme of the three caskets from Shakespeare’s play, The Merchant of Venice. In that play the fair and wise Portia is bound at her father’s bidding to take as her husband only that one of her suitors who chooses the right casket from among the three before him. The three caskets are of gold, silver and lead: the right casket is the one that contains her portrait. Two suitors have already departed unsuccessful: they have chosen gold and silver. Bassanio, the third decides in favor of lead; thereby he wins the bride, whose affection was already his before the trial of fortune. The suitor’s choice in The Merchant of Venice parallels my dream in that my parents appear to have chosen Dr. P— over me. It’s as if my parents were thinking, “Now that we have Dr. P—, we don’t need Gary anymore.” In some sense I was the loser in a competition, which suggests an Oedipal theme. (Incidentally, note the curious parallel to my earlier anecdote: “My mother used to tell a story about my first day of kindergarten. She walked me to school, and when we arrived at the threshold of the schoolyard, I turned to her and said (at age 4½): ‘Go home, mommy, I don’t need you anymore!” Attainment of the idealized object, whether Dr. P— in the dream or school in childhood, obviated the need for the devalued object, namely, me in the dream or my mother in childhood.)
Eat your heart out, Dr. Freud!
(I am obsessed with intellectual stuff and I am obsessed with Dr. P–. I had a lot of problems in school (and with Dr. P–), suggesting to me powerful conflicts in these areas.
In the school year 1968-1969 (10th grade, when my sister got married) I flunked geometry. In summer school I got top grades and the teacher said to me, “I have no idea how you could have flunked this subject.”)
Throughout the entire oeuvre of Shakespeare, Falstaff remains one of the most memorable characters. In Henry IV, Falstaff is an important figure and companion to Prince Hal and serves to influence the prince in many ways. While the relationship between Hal and Falstaff at times seems simplistically fatherly, the reality of their relationship is complex.
Prince Hal frustrates his father, King Henry, by wasting his time in pubs and taverns with hooligans and other questionable companions. The most charismatic, bumbling, and lively of the bunch is Sir John Falstaff. Throughout the beginning of the play, Hal and Falstaff drink and burn away the time by jesting and thieving; all the while Prince Hal admires Falstaff as a friend, but vows not to become too similar to him.
In one line, Prince Hal jests at Falstaff’s infamous heavy-nature, “How now, my sweet creature of bombast! How long is’t ago, Jack, since thou saw’st thine own knee?” The two men jest with one another and tease one another. In another passage of the play, Hal, knowing Falstaff’s tendency to exaggerate stories, robs and harasses Falstaff and several other friends; later, Hal jokes about Falstaff’s false re-telling of the robbery. While Falstaff serves as an outlet for Hal to have fun and be carefree, Hal is obliged to abandon the low-class Falstaff in favor of his own princely duties.
Prince Hal eventually buckled down and became a great king of England.
At my first session with Dr. Palombo, he asked me: “Can you buckle down? Are you capable of buckling down?”
Who did he think I was — Prince Hal?