I. Aversion Therapy

Sinking Bridge (WSDOT photo, 1990)
Sinking Bridge (WSDOT photo, 1990)

I drive the Little Monkey from Seattle across Lake Washington to Bellevue for biweekly counseling, a drive I avoided for all of my previous 20 pre-motherhood years in Seattle. If a friend moved across the lake? Sayonara. I’d mail postcards. They might as well have moved to Tokyo for all they were likely to see me in their new neighborhood. Ballard to Bellevue consists of three freeway merges and, not long ago, a shift in consciousness akin to Appalachia to Manhattan. Others tackle this west-to-east journey daily to work at Microsoft or shop at the upscale Bellevue Mall, but while I managed to tolerate traveling from the Pacific to Atlantic Oceans and back on the back of a too-small motorcycle, I eschewed this epic psychological journey. Not only was there the matter of traffic (I laugh now at my notions of “traffic” 25 years ago): there were the little matters that, in the not too distant past, one of the lake’s two bridges sank, and the other raised its drawspan while cars were still crossing.

As if the drive across the floating bridge isn’t traumatic enough, LM’s therapist practices what I call “aversion therapy.” He tells stories about the misdeeds his other young clients have been up to, which have led to the ruin and devastation of themselves and their families. One family could have put their kid through college on what they spent on court costs, all for naught: the stepdad then dumped the boy’s mom, and the stepdad lost custody of his own biological children. Because of this teenage boy, the family was fractured and bankrupt, utterly and totally. I pictured the boy and his mom in a basement studio apartment eating TV dinners. How could the mother go on with nurturing and unconditional love while eating her tiny compartment of apple pie after polishing off a spindly fried drumstick?Read More »