I was in New York for the first time since 1983. It turned out to be a nostalgia trip for a week en route for Florida, seeing old friends from my former antique collectables dealer life.
It was my first night in Chelsea and I was recommended by my host, the son of the famous actress Geraldine Page and Rip Torn, to go to the local Italian restaurant around the corner. The food looked and tasted so disgusting that I sent it back and had to reorder another equally dreadful platter because I was starving after my flight from London.
Two pleasant looking youngish men came in and parked themselves at the next table that was so close to mine that it was if we were all together. They got into an intense soul searching conversation. An aggressive waitress came to take their order. The man next to me started flirting with her asking if she was Italian but no she was Polish. "I'm English", he announced proudly. Naturally, as one does in New York, I turned to him and said "So am I"! The usual conventional questions were asked like where do you live and what work do you do? All that boring stuff. However, when I said I lived in Brighton, he said that he had lived there seven or eight years ago before he emigrated to California. "Silicon Valley?" I guessed "In computers?" "Yes I was but now I am a qualified Clinical Psychologist. We both are." That was more interesting to me than computer chips and so the conversation flowed. He ventured to explain that the standards and qualification in The States was much higher than in the UK. I told him that I had gone to a Clinical Psychologist in Brighton for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and that it hadn't worked for me. Next I asked him if he was into Personal Development. Yes. Anthony Robbins? Yes. He then asked me if I had experienced the Hoffman Process. Yes I had. Who was your trainer? "Not you" I joked. "I've met you before in Brighton". "Impossible! I remember faces. I've never seen you before in my life. "I think we know someone in common" He insisted. "What's your name, I'm going to Google you." As my name is the only one in the world, he found me easily and then looked at my profile on LinkedIn. Out of the blue he cried "Mongo". Well yes, there had been a follow up Hoffman meeting at a Hanover loft near where I lived at Mongo’s. "Well then we did meet" He exclaimed. I looked at the young man carefully and shook my head. I always remember people and their faces.
Time for him to leave because he had an early morning flight back to California. As we had communicated quite well and I got free calls to The States at that time, I asked him for his email and phone number. He began writing his first name of the email address and by the time he got to his surname, I screamed out loud. "You are a very dangerous man. I remember you clearly even though now you look different, You walked me down the hill after Mongo's and I invited you in because you knew a lot about therapy and generously said we could talk. You are the only man who has ever used a technique of opening a door into my mind. You are a good poet and blogger but I deleted you because, after a second visit when you offered to help me, you wanted to come a third time and charge me for your amateur help. I was so disgusted by your insincerity that I deleted all your monthly poems and blogs. Then you emigrated and that was the end of you. You were like the hypnotist who never woke the patient up. I recall you described my mind as a "little beautiful furry animal". You even described how you had had sex with a woman before coming to see me that very afternoon. Not exactly what a therapist would say. At that time, I was a defenceless broken being. I never forgot the experienced though I survived the ordeal and healed myself over the years through writing which I consider is therapy in "itself".
We parted amicably. I never called or wrote. Passing ships in the Port of New York. Synchronicity in full swing!
Jilliana Ranicar-Breese New York May 2013.