Two days after the previous blog post, I met with the Surgeon to have the inevitable confrontation. After I calmed down from the shock of his unannounced visit to (one of) my place of work, I thought out a strategy of how I was going to deal with him. Among other things, I reasoned that I did owe him an explanation or an apology for my decision to return to work at the House, and that I had realistically done nothing hurtful to him that would justify his level of anxiety and rage. I also decided that I would not lie to him about anything; as far as he was concerned, he had “caught me red-handed,” and any obfuscation on my part would be perceived as supporting that erroneous premise. He had “caught” me at nothing.
The Surgeon was in quite a state when he came to my apartment. It is challenging to describe him well when he’s like this, but let’s just say that he is definitely not Dr. Pinsky.
“You called or texted me 15 times in three hours,” I said, referring to the night he dropped in on me.
“That is because I couldn’t get ahold of you! You turned your phone off!” (Please note: my unavailability was the extent of the emergency. There was no other crisis.)
“Yes, like everyone, including yourself, I turn my phone off at times. You were behaving irrationally; calling you back would not have placated you, and I was at work, I could not engage with you on the phone there.”
“Working! Working in a whorehouse with those disgusting degenerates! I can’t believe you would do this to me!”
I winced, thinking of the neighbors, but I was seriously annoyed. The Surgeon is not a very introspective fellow; his capacity for rank hypocrisy would be hilarious in different circumstances. “This hyperbole is so unnecessary and you are distorting the facts. It is not a whorehouse by any stretch of the imagination and you know it.”
Three hours of ranting and raving followed this. Which is to say that he did all of the screaming and most of the talking. I knew what it would take to mollify him and defuse the situation: he wanted me to apologize and beg for forgiveness. But I’d be damned if I’d do it. I’d violated no agreement, told no lie. I was not going to grovel and debase myself.
I interrupted the dramathon to go use the restroom. When I came out, I found the Surgeon rummaging through my dresser drawers. The contents of my purse were spilled all over the sofa and the floor. He looked like a crazy person. I think that he was, in fact, a little crazy at the time—compelled by impulses and emotions he was largely unaware of.
“What about this?!” He waved a lavender sequined bra from my lingerie drawer. His voice had the confidence of a prosecutor submitting a bloodied, fingerprinted knife as evidence. “Are you going to wear this to WORK?”