Thursday, February 4, 2010

Aimless Reading: The F's, Part 25.4 (Sigmund Freud)

Freud, Sigmund
Dora: An Analysis of
A Case of Hysteria

Not sure where I bought this -- Rust Belt Books? Amazon Marketplace? Anyhow, it cost a dollar.

So, the house on College St....

Shake shingles covered the exterior in two colors -- faded hospital green on the lower half of the house, and grey on the upper (the green has since been painted an atomic kelly green). Two front porches, upper and lower, met the sidewalk in front of the house. As the owner used only one apartment, the house had only three mailboxes instead of four.

I remember B., the brother, building them one day -- probably for crack money. He fashioned three large boxes out of wood, each with a hinged top on a slight pitch, and fastened them to the exterior wall next to the front door. They were and are some of the ugliest mailboxes you'll ever see. They were also some of the most useful because they were big enough to fit a decent sized package inside.

The door to the rear apartments opened onto a shared driveway. J., the landlord, parked her large American car on the pavement between the houses. After a time, she got rid of the car and let me park in the driveway -- a great luxury in the city; it kept me from getting tickets for not moving my car in the morning.

There was a guy who lived in the rear apartment next door, who I used to refer to as "the drunk guy." He was probably in his mid-forties, lived alone, and was dead drunk most of the time. Whenever I saw him, day or night, he seemed to be propping himself up on something -- a pole, a car, a house, whatever, to keep from falling over.

Occasionally I could hear him fighting with someone in a stupor, usually a woman, though I never saw anyone else. My only real interaction with him came one afternoon when I happened to run into him sober on the shared driveway. He stopped me and said, Hey did I hear you playing Patti Smith on stereo yesterday?


Wow, I haven't heard Patti Smith in a long time. I used to like Patti Smith a lot. Man. A lot.

A couple of years later, he started parking his car in my parking space because he was sick of parking in the street. I told the landlord about this and she said, Tell him I've got an easement.

So, I did, and he didn't care. I don't think he knew what an easement was, and frankly neither did I. It was toward the end of my time in the house, so I reasoned with him. I said, listen, I'll be gone in a month, just let me have it until I go and then it's all yours. He did, and that was that.

from Dora

WHEN ONE psychoanalyses a patient subject to hysterical attacks one soon gains the conviction that these attacks are nothing but phantasies projected and translated into motor activity and represented in pantomime. It is true that these phantasies are unconscious but otherwise they are of the same nature as those that may be observed directly in day-dreams or revealed by an interpretation of nocturnal dreams. A dream frequently takes the place of an attack and still more frequently helps to explain one, since the same phantasy finds different forms of expression both in dreams and in attacks. One might expect by observing an attack to be able to discover the phantasy it represents, but this is rarely possible. As a rule the pantomimic representation of the phantasy undergoes distortions, due to the influence of the censorship, analogous to the hallucinatory ones of dreams, so that to begin with both these manifestations are rendered unintelligible either to the patient's conscious mind or to the observer's comprehension. An hysterical attack, therefore, must be subjected to the same analytic procedure as we use in dream-interpretation. Not only are the forces producing the distortion and the purpose of this distortion the same as those we are familiar with from the interpretation of dreams, but the technique of the distortion is the same also.

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