I was planning to write more about diagnosis this week, but I've been doing so much writing for work, that I haven't been interested in writing about psychology.
So here's some local news:
If you've lived on the Northside of Chicago while in your twenties at any time since the early 1980s, you've probably strolled through Roy's Furniture at least once. In fact, there's a reasonable chance that you bought something there. My office couch is from Roy's and there are still a couple of pieces from Roy's at home. For those outside Chicago, Roy's is a small, independent furniture store in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Despite its small size, Roy's has a surprisingly large inventory. And though the offerings aren't very expensive, much of it is still beyond the reach of a typical liberal-arts-degreed, first-2-years-post-college, Friday-night scrounger of movie and bar money with roommates, friends, girlfriend or boyfriend.
So Roy's was completely gutted by fire on Tuesday afternoon. We took a walk by it on Wednesday. The clean up crews, TV trucks and reporters were still there. Naomi Nix from the Tribune approached us and asked what we knew about the fire. Not much, but she took out her notepad while we babbled. The whole time I'm thinking: "I don't do names in the paper," especially when I'm not alone. In a large city, in my profession, we have the luxury of anonymity. Once in a while, there's an unavoidable breach, but I don't gratuitously give up anonymity. So then the reporter asked our names.
Sorry, no names.
We took a few iPhone shots, but they were bleached out, so there are no photos to post.
Then a woman on her bike, maybe in her late twenties, came by and started talking with us. She had been there the day before and had watched it all as it happened. It was a big'un. As she recounted what she saw, her voice kept breaking.
What is it about fires?
I recalled in my twenties walking with my girlfriend in our neighborhood and coming upon a similarly big fire, one of those noisy ones, with the sound of glass shattering and solid things buckling and flames roaring out the windows. I remember we were standing there watching silently and I suddenly felt myself getting choked up. I turned to my girlfriend and tears were streaming down her cheeks. And then I noticed that many of the people around us were weeping. They were just passersby, like us.
I remember thinking about how the people who lived there were losing everything, but my girlfriend said she didn't know why she was crying. Perhaps it has something to do with the palpable sense of the fire as an absolutely annihilating force. Not sure about that, but I think it touches on something primitive in us.
I guess I got into some psychology there. I can't help it. It's where my mind goes when left to its own devices.