I kind of wanted to be at home, sitting on my red love seat finishing Then We Came to the End, wishing for a Tinder notification from the sexy girl at work with the French last name that no one can pronounce and who is a dead ringer for a healthy 2007 raven haired Lindsay Lohan…a notification that she saw me on Tinder, is within my 20-mile radius, swiped right and wants to meet-up…tonight.
But I wasn’t at home. I was on a date. I was at Guero’s on South Congress on a seventy-two degree January Saturday night in Austin with Kristine. Just a little over 24-hours prior, she caught my eye on Tinder when I was in the midst of a happy hour buzz of Heinekens and hummus. I swiped right, we chatted via text and now we were eating Mexican food at an outside table.
At first sight, Kristine struck me as a creative professional – a graphic designer or maybe an art director at an ad firm. She was wearing a black Castro cap over her neck length blonde hair with a dark blue V-neck t-shirt un-tucked on top of light blue skinny jeans. The cap perfectly matched her black ballet slippers…ballet slippers never fail to remind me of an unhealthy 2007 bruised and track-marked Amy Winehouse. With her small, narrow nose and large brown eyes, Kristine reminded me of an animae girl come to life.
Kristine is a doctor in her first year of a psychiatric residency. I had to assure myself that she’s not necessarily smarter than me, just that our brains are dominated by different spheres causing us to think differently. If we both pictured a cube in our heads, mine would be floating and hers would be attached to the ground. Mine would be transparent and hers would be solid. Different, not smarter.
We sat at our table with our tapas and with plenty of foot traffic alongside our table. On any given night in this part of Austin, there is usually loud Latin music blaring from some undetermined location. Kristine gently gyrated her upper body in rhythm to the salsa horns and percussion.
Her being a doctor and a future board certified psychiatrist, and me having watched a ton of television in the late 90s and early 2000s, I brought up an episode of Felicity…the one where Noel seeks help from a psychiatrist after Felicity dumps him.
“I remember that one,” Kristine said. “It was a trivial portrayal of depression, almost insulting to people who suffer from it and the doctors who treat it.” She grasped the top of her Corona bottle and forced the lime down its narrow neck with her thumb.
“Why?” I asked with a real level of interest. The stray limejuice stung my cheek.
“Because no one suffers a chemical brain imbalance from a break-up. The only reason Noel was there was because Felicity dumped him…chose Ben over him. It would be borderline med mal for any doctor to prescribe meds in that situation, and that’s what that doctor did.”
“Med mal?” I asked. Different not smarter. I regretted not bringing up a smarter psychiatrist-TV reference. Jason Seaver from Growing Pains? Even less smart. Bob Newhart in his first sitcom? She’s too young for that. Sidney Friedman in M.A.S.H.? Still too young, even for the re-runs. The hot brunette psychiatrist in St. Elsewhere? I barely remember that one. My babysitter let me stay up and watch that with her.
“Medical malpractice…to potentially risk making a patient dependent on medication just because of a broken heart. Breakups trigger acute symptoms and rarely lead to chronic depression requiring medication.” She dipped a chip into the guacamole with her right hand. I’m left handed. Her blue nail polish looked freshly applied, like she cared about the details before meeting me. It made me feel guilty about wishing for a Tinder swipe from the French Lindsay Lohan.
“What about meds after a divorce?” I asked, thinking of Parker.
“If there’s a prior history of depression, in some cases, and if it persists.”
“What about people who engage in recreational drug use?” I asked, thinking of Cheney.
“Maybe, when combined with rehab and treatment.”
“Day drinking and Internet porn?” I asked…Parker
“Uhm…there might be deeper issues of addiction in that case,”
“Extreme episodes of sexual promiscuity?” I asked…Cheney
“Talk therapy would generally be the first route to take with that. Should we have some more Coronas?” She sat straight up and looked for the server.
Then I stopped asking because she changed the subject, and she started to stare at me for a few seconds before answering, indicating a suspicion that I was asking on behalf of myself.
The server took our empty plates and we moved inside to the bar for another 90-minutes of reminiscing about the early days of the WB network. After her fourth Corona, she said she was off work for 48-hours after being on for 72-hours straight. Then she asked if I wanted to drive her home.