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2002-05-07 5:28 p.m.

I actually kinda dig hanging out in the lock–down psych ward with Caroline. The patients there are so interesting; so amiable; so sedated. And of course, it is nice to hang out with Caroline; talk with her; hear her insights into a place that few visit and actually return.

It was noon, and we interrupted her lunch, which looked like the brainchild of a junior high cafeteria and a coach airplane flight, complete with milk in mini–cartons and cookies in packages. We traded questions and answers about various things—stuff, junk, this, that, the other. It was basically a pretty normal conversation—perhaps what strikes me now is how normal it felt. I can not remember much of what we talked about, but that makes sense, as I really had no agenda and was not seeking any information in particular—unlike probably every other person who tries to talk with her with the exception of Ray, Tollef, and Boris. It must be nice to have someone treat you like a normal person, when everyone else treats you like either an insane patient or an insane daughter. People need to be treated like people. Where is the laughter? Where is the openness? Where are the silly anus jokes and references to belligerently abusing helpless animals using catapults and other mechanical flinging devices? Where is the humanity?

She got tired pretty quickly—after maybe only 20 minutes—and she told Ray and I it would be better to come visit another time. I can not even imagine how tiring and strange it must be to have been almost dead less than a day before, and now she has to hang out every day with 12 room–mates who have conversations—very calmly and politely, I must admit—with people that do not exist. I wonder if her new room–mates are better or worse than the ones from the dorms? She keeps saying how surreal this all is, and I can not imagine a better word. It must be like being at the local planetarium and sneaking out of one bad Pink Floyd laser light show, just to find yourself in a bad Metallica laser light show.

She also said it was best if Ray took the bear with him. Hm. Yeah, yeah, I can understand being tired and not feeling well after almost dying, but for the love of god, why in the world would anyone in their right mind not want to have a stuffed animal bear that, when squeezed, said "fuck my ass, "I have a secret, I enjoy dick!", "Who would you like to fuck?", and "I will have to check for one, in my ASS"? [Boris is such a genius for engineering and building this harmless–looking, anally–fixated toy bear, but that is another story.]

We took an elevator big enough for a few guerneys or MANY stuffed bears with filthy language back down to the ground floor. Ray carried the bear, which matched both his hair and his dirty thoughts.

What better way to say, "No levitating or hovering above your motorcycle" than with a large–format, high–visibility, reflective metal sign such as this one? People! Be informed that under no circumstances shall any patients, staff, or visitors hover, float unassisted, or levitate in any fashion above any two–wheeled motor vehicle in this area! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! THAT MEANS YOU! I had noticed the sign every time we came to the hospital thus far, but this time I made Ray wait with me so I could photograph it.