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The following part of this blog entry is pure fiction. No relation to existing people or events is implied.

The Jewish developer from Manhattan goes to Athens (short story)
by drs. Efthimia Dilpizoglou
(c) 2014 all rights reserved

Mia Shlevin the Jewish developer from Manhattan was lying on the Jewish shrink’s Freudian couch, trying to relax her way through the session, but every 5 seconds something was twisting or turning, visibly or invisibly. And yet she felt relaxed enough to give the shrink a piece of her mind. The topic of the day was the usual, the same as every week before. Joanna was on her mind again.

“This Greek woman I was telling you about, Joanna, she-blows-my-mind, her thinking and the way she carries all this culture behind her. Just having her on the phone every day working on this project makes my day. Every script needs development, but her scripts, my goodness, she has done all the work for me herself and I still get paid just for yapping with her on the phone. We talk about Greece, and Israel, and New York, and Jews, and Martin, and her visiting New York with her son, and I get the feeling knows more about New York than I do. It’s incredible. I have never met a woman like her in 20 years working in development.”.

The Jewish developer does not distinguish the name “Ioanna” from “Joanna” and pronounces both the same way. If this were a Woody Allen film, which the author of this short story doesn’t endorse because child rapists should be put to death not mentioned on blogs to increase their Google reference count, the shrink would be drawing doodles or making up laundry lists in the back of her head. This Jewish shrink was different. She was sincerely interested in his client’s well-being, and was aware of the tantamount task of treating her to the best of her ability, because the studio had asked her, as a shrink, to sign a non-disclosure contract with regards to any statements made by the patient during their sessions about the film project she was working on. It was the first time in her life she had to sign such non-disclosure contract as a shrink. Was this a post-9/11 thing? Everyone had to show their papers everywhere in New York nowadays. PTSD paranoia and distrust on the other hand resulted in hoarding behaviour when it came to people’s secrets. Especially those secrets that either earned them money or cut into their paycheck.

“You seem significantly calmer these days, Mia.”, says the shrink, making sure she combines the compliment with the next question in order to mentally stimulate the patient to anticipate challenges while in a positive state. What has the effect of Ioanna been on your life?”

“I am almost ready to get on the next plane to visit her in Athens. Not a good idea with my fear of flights, I know, I’m still working on that. Martin likes her too, and we were talking…”

“Do it.” says the Jewish shrink, firmly.

“What? Go to Athens? Hahaha…”, laughs the Jewish developer and rolls her eyes.

“Ioanna is doing you good, Mia. Meeting her in person will significantly increase the chances of this treatment we’ve been doing for 3 years now coming up to speed.”

“Will you prescribe me a tranquilizer for the plane-flight?”, she asks and looks up at the ceiling, which is something the Jewish developer always does when she gets nervous. Many people were looking up at the ceiling when she was a little girl going to the Emanu-El Temple, and she always thought this is what you’re supposed to do when you’re stuck somewhere and can’t get out.

“Come on Mia, that’s coping behaviour, you know you cannot enlist your therapist to enable that.”. The Jewish shrink smiles, and the Jewish developer stares at her blankly.

“You know what, I will do it!”, she says after a while, her voice trying to match the firmness of the shrink urging her to go. “This will do me good. This is good. And Ioanna has never met me, I am sure she would like to do some face to face development with me going over the script.”

“But you just said you don’t need to do any development with that Greek women because she’s so smart she develops her own scripts.”, thinks the shrink to herself. She doesn’t say this because she honestly does want her client to overcome her fear of flying. Instead she says: “Yeah, you do that.”, and “If anything happens make sure you call me before you board the plane, OK?”

“Yes, I will, yes!”, enthuses the Jewish developer, sitting up now.

“Just one word of caution,”, says the shrink, now sounding severe but with a gentle touch of care, “I wouldn’t advice you to go on the plane alone though. Not at this point in the treatment. It would be good to have someone with you on this trip who can double check on you and offer encouragement where necessary. Is there anyone you can take with you to Greece?”

Mia blinks. “I was talking to Wy Yu Go, the camera man, he’s Thelma’s assistant, I told you about her, we were talking about Americans, and the Chinense, and China Town, and Jews in China, and the Great Wall, and he told me he always wanted to see the ruins of the great Western civilizations because we have none here in the States, because we are just a young democracy and the ruins in Detroit don’t count. “You have no Great Wall.”, he said, and told him “But we have one in Israel!”, and he said: “Israel isn’t America”, and I said: “There are practically more American Jews in Israel than in New York.”. And then I joked that Albany is a Jewish reservation within the State of New York, but he wasn’t cracking. What was I saying again? Yeah, I think Wy Yu Go would love to visit Greece with. No, yeah, yeah, I’m sure of it!”

Next week: the Jewish developer and the Chinese camera man arrive in Athens to meet a huge Greek family who speak no English, or Chinese for that matter, and only know how to proclaim a recipe in Turkish. Joanna learns the tragic news about the money from Martin…


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