BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Down in The Basement

"Every window in Alcatraz has a view of San Francisco." - Susanna Kaysen

So there I was in a room filled with more than a dozen therapists, psychiatrists and psychologists, listening to their stories about their "clients." 

It was an academic discussion for an academic purpose and so I thought it was just one boring event.

But listening to this bunch of shrinks talk about the crazy world they move in turned out to be a lot of fun. The stories are endless, heartwarming and comforting, too. 

Yes, it's comforting to know that we all are crazily normal and normally crazy or something like that. And that the problems that people at The Basement experience are as mundane and normal as can be. 

"I can't ever go down The Basement and not wear my white gown," says one psychiatrist, "otherwise, I'll forget I'm their doctor." 

And the room bursts into laughter. 

Perhaps the world is one huge basement and we all have those little voices buzzing in our heads or loud screams that wake us up in the middle of the night. Or maybe this outside world is crazier than The Basement because looneys pretend to be normal and the mad and the insane win you over first before they skin you alive. 

And maybe, just maybe, they're the reason why spas, salons, leather bags, stilettos and Johnny Walker Black were invented.