Nov. 3rd, 2013 09:46 am
When I was little, maybe five or six years old, my parents took me to a psychologist? psychiatrist? I don't know. I knew I was being taken to be evaluated, but was a little unclear as to why. From my current vantage point, I realize that I was a deeply weird kid, but at the time, since I pretty much ignored other people to the extent that I could get away with it, I wasn't aware of how different I was. In any case, as part of the process, they put me in a room by myself. Again, I realize now that this was an observation room, and the conspicuous mirror all along the upper part of one wall was a one-way setup, so people could see what I would do on my own.

In the room were a bunch of things I was probably expected to go notice or play with or somesuch. But they were dumb and boring, so I ignored them. However, there was also a row of cabinets along one wall. And I got it into my head that I wanted to know what was in the cabinets. I was bored, and I hating being bored. Maybe there was something interesting in the cabinets. I tried to open one, but it wouldn't open. The logical thing to do would be to give up and maybe try one of the other cabinets. But I wasn't logical, I was annoyed. Stupid cabinet won't open? I'll make it open! I felt as if that cabinet had personally wronged me by not opening. There was no one else around (that I was aware of, anyway), so it was up to me to deal with this problem. So I started yanking at the cabinet with singleminded, raging ferocity. I was a skinny little thing, but I was determined, and focussed my entire raging intensity on this stupid cabinet that would. not. open.

Then it opened, all at once. A metal piece snapped off and clattered to the floor, and the door flew open. And, to my disappointment and chagrin, I observed three things. One, the cabinet contained nothing more than some boring papers. Two, I had broken the latch. Three, if I had tried the door next to it, it would have opened with no resistance, and I could have slid the latch over, and opened the original door with no problem.

So there I sat, in the all-too-familiar aftermath, realizing that I had broken something that was not mine, and worse, that it had been utterly unnecessary. I sheepishly hid the broken piece of latch inside the cabinet and hoped nobody would notice it until I was gone. No one said anything about it, so I figured I had gotten away with it.

Years later, I realized that they had probably been watching the entire time, and knew I had broken their cabinet.

Still more years later, I reconstructed the sequence as best I can, figuring my parents had come to them, explaining that their little boy had some emotional issues, and the mental health professionals were trying various things to try to figure out what was wrong. Well, that little episode must have given them something to chew on!

I still feel abstractly bad about breaking their cabinet lock for no real reason, but such things aren't that expensive, and I get the impression that they were being well paid for their services. I wonder if they billed my parents for that lock (my dad would have given them no end of grief if they had tried). I can't help wondering if my parents were there too, watching me flip out and break a cabinet, cringing as other people saw my antics, but secretly glad someone could see that they weren't exaggerating my fitful behaviour.



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