ART BY JUSTIN COONS FOR UPCOMING BOOK: MUD SEASON
THE HOMESICK MINIVAN
By Justin Grimbol
My therapist suggested I start taking some sort of medication to help me deal with my anxiety. For years I had resisted this idea, but at this point the anxiety had become so constant and brutal and scary, I decided to give it a try.
So I went to Otter Creek Associates in Brattleboro to get evaluated. The psychiatrist was tall and freckled and wore a summery dress. As soon as I sat down in her office, I started ranting and explaining my anxiety and all the strange fears. I told her how I check the doors of my cabin over and over again. I told her I felt doomed. I told her stories too. I told her about my car accidents and all sorts of mom death. I started flirting. Soon we were both giggling. She looked nice. I wanted her to hold me. I wanted us to sniff each other. Is this transference? I thought. Can that happen that quickly?
She told about the meds and mentioned they had side effects. Like lowered sex drive.
“Lowered sex drive? Oh thank God! That sounds great! Please lower my sex drive! Lower my sex drive as much as possible!”
We talked some more. We had some more laughs.
Then she gave me my scripts.
I took them to the Rite Aid. A few grumpy looking folk worked the pharmacy. And I started flirting with them too. Laughter happened. I’m a big sloppy guy. In no way a Casanova. But I loved flirting. Flirting made me feel good about life. Flirting was the opposite of checking to see if the doors were locked. And I had not flirted like this in a long time.
They got me my meds and I took some Ativan immediately.
Then I got an ice-cream at Fast Eddies across the street.
“I’m old fashioned,” I told the girl who worked there. “Just give me some vanilla soft serve. Rainbow sprinkles.”
“Want a cone?”
“Of course I want a cone. I don’t want to just hold the cold ice cream in my hands.”
She didn’t find that funny. I had run out of charm. This didn’t upset me though. I felt okay about being charmless. I was going to eat ice-cream. I had some meds that might help me with the brutal anxiety I had been dealing with. I enjoyed the smell of my own stinking armpits and there were storm clouds gathering and looking powerful.
I ate the cone and watched the sky. The temperature dropped some.
I drove a long way home. I traveled around some dirt road, keeping the window open so I could smell the pine trees. It started to rain. Nothing hard. It just drizzle. Those massive clouds looked burly, but this was all they produced.
When I got home I sprawled out on my couch and watched Star Trek Fan Fiction. One showed a Vulcan, an Orion and a human dude in bed in what looked like an Econo lodge. It was supposed to be a space station or maybe a space motel or something, but it just looked like a normal Econo lodge. It was so bad. So ridiculous. I loved every minute of it.