GEORGE: It’s funny, I was feeling rather low, and then Hilly walked into the waiting room and my spirits went way up. That’s gotta be a good sign.
DR. SELMAN: So you were glad to see her?
GEORGE: Yep. She got some new shoes.
DR. SELMAN: Can I see?
HILLY: Little Ralph Lauren wedges. Yeah, I got those actually because of that lost weekend in East Hampton. Is that what it was? Two nights before that, there was another one of those George incidents when he was up in the middle of the night screaming, “I can’t take this anymore! You’re driving me crazy!”
GEORGE: We were watching The Wire, everything was going very smoothly, and Hilly—she’s really smart, able to follow that kind of cop show so much better than I can. Maybe it’s from watching Law & Order so much. So everything is going great, and she’s sitting still—which is important to me sometimes—and there was a rainstorm and the roof started to leak. It was pretty bad, but it wasn’t flooding the apartment.
HILLY: It started in one place and then 10 seconds later there was another spot, and within three minutes there were at least eight different places.
GEORGE: I was pretty relaxed about it, wanting to get back to the show, and Hilly called her dad—
HILLY: No, before I called my dad, first of all, you were freaking out. So I said, “I’ll run upstairs and see if the neighbors are home.” And you said, “Good.” And he was on the phone trying to reach the superintendent and the landlord, but he got voicemail. I couldn’t find anyone, so I came back downstairs and said, “Maybe we should call 311, because it’s kinda bad …. ”
GEORGE: You were worried about an electrical fire and all your stuff catching on fire?
HILLY: Well, one of the streams of water was coming out of a light fixture.
GEORGE: So the reason you called your dad, it had something to do with when you are a little kid—
HILLY [sarcastically]: It was because my dad knows everything.
GEORGE: And then you call 311 again, and after that it was just one thing after another, and you were in panic mode, and then from there she started doing laundry and ironing and frequent trips to the bathroom. And it just escalated. It got a little better when we started watching the Che Guevara documentary and then you started saying, “He’s handsome!”
HILLY: The second that I said that Che Guevara was handsome, he didn’t want to watch it anymore.
GEORGE: And then we tried to play this game she loves called Taboo, which makes no sense to me. It’s like, you give your opponent clues so that they come up with the right answer and then you score points for their right answer. There’s just no incentive to win or guess right or—
DR. SELMAN: What has this got to do with shoes?
GEORGE: We’re getting to that! So she went to bed and I started to relax. It was midnight, time to do some reading, and she came back in and—I can’t remember what she said—but it was such a volatile, hyperactive night out of nowhere, and I think I threw a plastic cup and said something like “You’re driving me crazy!” She owed me money for Con Ed—she hasn’t paid Con Ed for the whole time we’ve been living together, and the air conditioner’s been on 24 hours a day all summer, and she had agreed to pay half. So her solution to all of this, after I yelled at her—will you explain this logic?
HILLY: Let’s back up. The week before, George was complaining again about his breathing, and he was unable to sleep in his bedroom. So there was another night when he had a spin-out, a freak-out, shouting—
DR. SELMAN: You were going to get an air conditioner in the bedroom.
HILLY: Well, his mother ended up being gracious enough—she said, “We’re going to take care of this.” So then it was Tuesday, and I went to work and when I came home, his entire bedroom had been completely emptied. There was a new bed frame, a new box spring, a new mattress—
GEORGE: A Tempur-Pedic mattress.
HILLY: A new air conditioner. Everything was spotless and pristine. He was out on a bike ride and the doorbell rang. It was U.P.S., and they had two huge crates from Schweitzer Linen with all-new hypoallergenic French pillows, with matching duvets and, like, neck rolls and a new comforter—not just a new mattress cover, but also the whole set of sheets and a special layer of quilted sheet, and everything was folded over really nicely and just beautiful, and this was all for George so that he could, ideally, sleep well.
GEORGE: And get this—
HILLY: No! No, no, wait, you can’t speak right now. So then we’re so excited that we have to go out that night, so we went to a party. We come back and George says, “I can’t sleep in there tonight—you take it.” So I sleep in there. The next morning I’m at work and his mother calls: “Was George O.K.? Did he sleep better last night?” I said, “Actually, I slept in there last night and it was wonderful. I think he’s going to sleep in there tonight.” The next night, basically, the same thing happened. And then he tried to sleep in there the next night, but woke up in the middle of the night and woke me up. Finally I said, “George, you have to decide—what do you want? The room or the cubby? I need to know where I’m going to put my stuff so when I wake up in the morning, I don’t bother you.”
GEORGE: Now she’s sleeping in there like Samantha Boardman, and I’m up in the cubby like some squatter in—
HILLY: No, listen, you still can’t speak. This is beautiful: One night, it must’ve been 5:30 a.m., George just got up in the middle of the night—he must have been sleepwalking—and came in and pushed me out of the bed, and I had to go up to the cubby. So I started to realize: You know what? He just wants to have whatever he wants.
DR. SELMAN: How big is the bed?
GEORGE: Queen size.
DR. SELMAN: Why couldn’t you both sleep—
GEORGE: I can’t breathe in there.
HILLY: And when I’m there, I make noises that irritate him.
GEORGE: Anyway, it’s fine, that’s your new bed—it’s fine.
HILLY: But it’s not—because you’re still claiming it while you’re sleepwalking. And you use that room as your office.
GEORGE: We’re gonna work it out! Now I wanna talk about something else because—
DR. SELMAN: Why don’t we just stick with this and try to see it through to—
GEORGE: I’ll solve it right here: You’re going to sleep in the room.
HILLY: I’m sorry, you still can’t speak. Because then, over the course of the past week and a half, George gave me a list of rules. One of them was the air conditioner can never be below 70 degrees. Another one was “You cannot iron my dirty laundry—”
GEORGE: Semi-clean clothes!
HILLY: “ … that you find anywhere, even on the floor or in the laundry bin, because I might want to wear it again.” “No whistling.” Meanwhile, I never met my grandfather—my mother’s father, he died before I was born—the only thing she’s ever told me my entire life is that whenever I whistle, she says, “Oh, what a pretty little songbird, you remind me of my daddy!” And when I whistle around you, which makes me think that I have joie de vivre and kind of music in my heart, you say, “Stop it! You sound like a weirdo!”
GEORGE: It’s irritating; it’s like chewing gum loudly. And you have to pay half the Con Ed—
HILLY: You chew Nicorette and take it out of your mouth and put it back in and take it out and put it back in over and over.
GEORGE: And half the rent, and buy all the toilet paper.
HILLY: That was another one of the rules.
GEORGE: Oh, your hair, you have to let your hair down, you can’t pull it back all the time. Because I … yeah.
HILLY: So I try to explain to him again, for about the umpteenth time, that I have to wear my hair up for a couple of reasons. One is that it looks more professional when I’m at work. Two, George doesn’t allow me to wake up in the morning and blow-dry my hair—and if I don’t have 25 minutes with a hair dryer, I can’t make my hair look nice.
DR. SELMAN: Well, is there any solution to these—I mean, first of all, it does sound a bit controlling, George.
GEORGE: I know, I know. O.K., let’s jettison all those rules. I mean, I would like you, from time to time, to have the same hair style you did when I first met you at the Hog Pit in the summer of 2001.
HILLY: Oh! O.K., I’m sorry, I have to intercede one more time. This brings up another thing, which is: He’s been, for the past couple months, actually saying things to me on a regular basis about how “you really need to get in shape—”
GEORGE: Well, that’s—
HILLY: Shut up. So I’m sitting there poolside while he’s swimming—it’s so funny, because he puts on his bathing cap and his goggles to not even like tread water, just kind of milling about the pool. And he’s like, “Did that look like Olympic swimming?” or, “Do I look athletic?” I’m like, “Yeah, George—good work!”
GEORGE: Just doing some underwater somersaults and jumping jacks.
HILLY: And then he’ll come over after doing some Esther Williams–like water ballet, he’ll come over and take off his swimming cap and say, “You know, Hilly, you really need to get in shape.”
DR. SELMAN: You know, you seem like you’re a little—
DR. SELMAN: Yeah.
GEORGE: And amused.
HILLY: Shut up.
DR. SELMAN: Well, actually, I was going to that very thing. Right, you seem upset and amused at the same time.
HILLY: Well, it’s hysterical. How can I put this?
DR. SELMAN: Well, how much of an issue are these things?
GEORGE: Well, can I say one quick thing and then—? It’s my turn. Forget about all those rules. The main thing, I’m going to be an absolute tyrant about these rules: I am not going to live with someone—let alone get engaged, marriage, kids—unless this person does not drink to get numb, and who smokes cigarettes and doesn’t exercise—
HILLY: Oh, that is such horsepucky.
DR. SELMAN: George, you’ve got to apply that to yourself!
HILLY: He never—
GEORGE: What? No, no, no, no—I’m in the best shape of my adult life right now!
HILLY: Since I moved into your apartment. Anyway, it’s just ridiculous. Mother Teresa would drink if she lived with you.
GEORGE: When I have a cocktail, I become fun, social, wild and really good at pool. How good was I the other night at Dusk? Phenomenal. And you get inner, like a 6-year-old autistic kid. I think it’s O.K. to go out and have a couple drinks to loosen up, but you don’t need to do that at home.
HILLY: O.K., Mr. Saint. Saint George. Guess what George did two nights ago? We went out for his friend’s birthday, and we end up at this club, and I was having a pretty O.K. time, but knowing that I had to be at work the next morning—it was pretty late—and one thing led to another, and all of a sudden I realized, “Oh, where’s George?” And I asked a couple people, and guess what? He left. He left the club on the same block where that 16-year-old girl was raped and murdered—he left me there alone without even telling me he was leaving. Then I found out yesterday—
DR. SELMAN: Wait, he left and didn’t come back?
HILLY: Not only did he leave and not come back and not tell me—he left with a girl.
GEORGE: Ha ha ha ha ….
HILLY: He left with a girl. He walked outside of this club, where all of these people were standing around—don’t laugh at me, you snide ass.
[To be continued.]
George and Hilly published 08/14/06
George and Hilly published 08/07/06
George and Hilly published 07/31/06
George and Hilly published 07/24/06
George and Hilly published 07/17/06
George and Hilly published 06/26/06
George and Hilly published 06/19/06
George and Hilly published 05/29/06
George and Hilly published 05/15/06
George and Hilly published 05/08/06
George and Hilly published 05/01/06
George and Hilly published 04/17/06
George and Hilly published 04/03/06
George and Hilly published 03/20/06
George and Hilly published 02/6/06
George and Hilly published 01/23/06
George and Hilly published 01/16/06
George and Hilly published 12/26/05
George and Hilly published 11/14/05
George and Hilly published 11/07/05
George and Hilly published 10/24/05
George and Hilly published 10/17/05
George and Hilly published 10/10/05
George and Hilly published 10/03/05
George ’n’ Hilly, Back in Couples, Turn on the Doc published 09/26/05
But Should We Get Married? Part III published 08/29/05
But Should We Get Married? published 08/15/05
Should I Get Married? My Hilly Joining Me In Couples Session published 08/08/05