Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Meet Dr. Love

I'm accused. They say all this is ego mania and self pity. Don't I have something better to do?

My answer: Isn't there something of the world here in the stories? Isn't it funny to see the ways people act when they are trying hard to get what they want and they know what they want, whether or not it is good?

Fate in the form of the Wilshire Bus had been dropping me three times a week, when I visited the chiropractor, right in front of the office building in Beverly Hills where Doctor Love, the new man in my wife's life, had his office.

She'd told me about him. He was a real doctor selling "new age" spiritual medicine. She didn't like it, but his company was, as she put it, financially rewarding. And any man with money was to her automatically attractive. So she said, anyway, however difficult it might be to convince herself in actual cases. She'd told me about that too.

Finally I decided I would go up to the office and see what I could see. The wife's Facebook page said the doctor was her employer. She'd been out of contact with me at this point for about 3 or 4 months. Why not leave a message for her.

Now possibly all this is ego mania and self-pity. We have a runaway wife who's run away, she says, for the sake of acquiring more money. We have a doctor selling spiritual medicine and paying the runaway wife in more ways than one. We have the penniless husband about to walk into the lion's den of modern American life of anything and everything for money and nothing and never otherwise. It ought to be funny, in my book at least.

The office is on the second floor. The building has no attendant in the lobby, the elevator takes me right up. Inside the office, behind a long reception counter, is an expressionless young woman. The office is silent, and empty other than the two of us. I say I want to leave a message for Beatrix, write down on a small yellow pad my name and email. She asks who I am. I answer, yes, that is the question. I am supposed to be Beatrix's husband, but last time I heard from her she said she had divorced me without my knowledge or participation. I thought she ought to explain. That was all, and I took my leave.

Of course no contact was re-established. After a few more times the bus had dropped me in front of Dr. Love's building, I got up the nerve to visit once again. This time they were prepared.

The receptionist was a different young woman, equally blank faced and immobile, who when she heard my errand and took from me the new slip of paper with my name and address, said she'd been instructed that if I returned she was to call her supervisor. I said it wasn't necessary because I was going, just wanted to drop off the message. She said, wait, the supervisor wanted to see me. I waited.

The supervisor was a tall, grim middle aged woman with very short grey hair. She made me a speech: she can't have me coming there disruption their business. I said, no problem, just came to drop off the message. No different than a mail man. No, she said, we don't want you here, you are forbidden to come here. Fine with me, I said. I was on my way out and your receptionist stopped me. You kept me here so you could tell me to go. The experience is not such that I am anxious to repeat it.

Meanwhile the door to the treatment rooms had been opened and one of the doctors, not Dr. Love, is standing half hidden by the door holding his phone up recording the conversation.

Remember that these are the rooms of a spiritually inclined medical practice. The office manager, a later check of the web site reveals, is a "Doctor of Divinity". Some formidable god she must serve!

I made my exit with as much dignity as possible. I do leave behind me, however, my opinion that they are rude, unkind people. The office manager said that I seemed to be saying that they were the ones doing something wrong. Actually, I said, yes, they were. Words which were pearls to swine, since they met total incomprehension.

So what does this story mean? More self pity and ego mania? Or was it, as it seemed to me, an adventure, albeit comic adventure? The incident had immediate result. The wife's brother wrote to me on Skype, wanting to talk. To be, as it turned out, reassured that I wasn't dangerously crazy. Nobody understands anything.


P.S. Two years later. An email arrives from a TV journalist. She's writing a book on dangerous women and has heard about my wife. She wants to make her the center piece of her book. Will I help? Sure. She asks about the place we were married, do I have any documents, were we ever divorced, was the marriage legal, will I testify in court? I conclude she is working as a private detective. She gets indignant when I tell her so. A few weeks later I get an email from Doctor Love. He'd like to divorce his wife (guess who?) and would like my help. Would I talk with his lawyers in Century City? Sure. I duly visit lawyers. Two of them usher me into the conference room where we wait to get a third lawyer in San Francisco on the phone, an expert in bigamy. I say:

- I take it this meeting is about your client wanting to divorce his wife and get out of paying compensation by claiming his wife committed bigamy? 
- That's correct.
- Shouldn't he first be compensating me, taking care of his own bigamy, knowingly marrying a woman he had been informed in writing by me was married to me?
- Are you asking for money?
- Is this meeting about anything else?
- We'll let you know.

That was the last I heard from Dr. Love or his lawyers.