Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Aimless Reading: The F's, Part 25.3 (Sigmund Freud)

Freud, Sigmund
Introductory Lectures
on Psycho-Analysis


Purchased at Talking Leaves...Books.

I was thinking again about the house I lived in at the time I was reading Freud. I lived there from 1998-2001. I must have read Freud in the summer of 1999. As I said yesterday, I lived in a four-unit house in a one-bedroom flat on the second floor in the back of the house. Jonathan Skinner lived below me the first year. His wife Isabelle joined him toward the end of the year and then they found an apartment in North Buffalo. My friends Aaron and Michelle lived there for a few months after graduating from UB and before they moved to San Diego and Vermont, respectively. After that, Chris Alexander moved into the apartment and lived there for a several years after I moved out. I think my apartment was eventually occupied by a Yoga instructor.

The house was owned by a middle-aged pseudo-shut-in, J. She had taken over the childhood home from her mother when the latter needed around-the-clock care. J'd been married a couple of times. When I first rented the apartment she took me into her kitchen to sign the lease. While I filled out the papers, she opened the freezer and pulled out a zipper bag filled with snowballs. "I keep these to throw at my ex-husband, if he ever returns."

She had a brother, B., who had a serious crack addiction. I remember Jonathan Skinner asked me about the neighborhood when he moved in. I told him it was fine. About a week or two later, he was sitting in his bedroom at his desk, when suddenly a S.W.A.T. team surrounded the house. They were looking for B. After scouring all four apartments in search of him, they discovered him in a crawl space in the basement. I think I was out somewhere when it occurred.

J. also told me that B. was trying to convince the mother to sue J. for a fall she took on the front porch. His plan was to take the house from her, sell it, and use the money to fuel his drug habit. Eventually, he did get the house. J. had gotten involved with a man she met at work. He turned out to be a scam artist who milked her credit cards for all he could before leaving town. I think she turned the house over to her brother so she wouldn't lose it in a settlement.

I ran into the B. at a locksmith's not long ago. He recognized me and said he'd sold the house and had put J., who can't be a day over 55, into home, just like their mother. He dialed her up on his cellphone and handed it to me. We spoke for a few minutes. She was cheerful as ever. Then my keys were ready and we all said farewell.

from Introductory Lectures

Ladies and Gentlemen, – We will not start with postulates but with an investigation. Let us choose as its subject certain phenomena which are very common and very familiar but which have been very little examined, and which, since they can be observed in a healthy person, have nothing to do with illnesses. They are what is known as 'parapraxes', to which everyone is liable. It may happen, for instance, that a person who intends to say something may use another word instead (a slip of the tongue [Versprechen]), or he may do the same thing in writing, and may or may not notice what he has done. Or a person may read something, whther in print or in manuscript, different from what is actually before his eyes (a misreading [Verlesen]), or he may hear wrongly something that has been said to him (a mishearing [Verhören])–on the assumption of course that there is no organic disturbance of his powers of hearing. Another group of these phenomena has its basis in forgetting [Vergessen]–no however, a permanent forgetting but only a temporary one....

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