The Economics of
Women and Families
Moments in a
The Child As Object
LILA ZEMBORIAN /
Eating Alone in the
Byways of Smithson
The Grandmother's Voice
CL INTERVIEWS JA
To resume again...
Is the couch a Symptom?
If something, the couch is the actual element around which our practice gets structured. The new thing is that the couch has stars. Why?, because we are talking America. The model comes from France, like the babies, like Pierre-Rey who continues to tell about… Not the stars. They come from the American flag, shining on the couch to greet the First Paris-USA Lacan Seminar with which we will in turn honor the 30th Anniversary of Lacan's death.
This happened several times in the course of the performance. She would rise from the couch to dive onto the stage, then return from the stage to dive into the couch. During the intervals, I kept up my strength with caviar.
I judged that this shared intimacy would result in a state of abandon such that I would be able to talk to her about money with as little coyness as she was talking to me about love. Despite her fortune, I was surprised to hear her answer that we both had some rotten luck. That very same morning she had had to pay a huge amount of back taxes which had left her bloodless. I was going to be paid back in two days. I asked her whether I could help her. She thanked me effusively, but rejected my offer, arguing that she would manage on her own.
The first of my two my friends was a singer. Also very well known. His jingles are on everyone's lips. His lost-child air moved me to take charge of him when he was depressed… and he often was. Now and then I would take him to Deauville and even went so far as to place a girl into his arms. Sometimes he would call me up at three in the morning. We would solve all the world's problems. I was fond enough of him to ask him this favor.
What was extraordinary was that he too had had to pay his taxes that very same morning. I hung up worrying for him. He called me half an hour later. He had just had an idea. Explaining that it was for me, he would just ask ten of our common friends for the tenth part of the amount I needed, and thus he would get me out of hot water.
I thanked him profusely, and declined his generous offer.
The second of my friends wasn't a singer. He was much older than me and blackmailed others, reigning over an empire of music halls, and was what is known in the underworld as a "justice of the peace," that is to say, a man of honor chosen by his peers to ultimately settle disputes among criminals.
I had no luck with him either: taxes.
He was the only one to tell me the truth. A few days before, he had lent a considerable amount of money to one of my friends, to whom he wasn't even particularly close.
Whatever their confessed or real reasons, I took these refusals as acts of treason, and swore on my life that I would never allow anyone else to wound me with such an excuse.
How did I manage that night and the following days to keep my word? If I did keep it. I've forgotten.
Without asking for my opinion, Lacan would imperturbably end every session with "See you tomorrow," sending me back, my hands sweaty with anxiety, to the grayness of rue de Lille. The following day, crushing in my pocket the money which I had managed to gather after a terrible search—for how long would I be able to pull off that daily miracle?—I would find myself again in his office.
For his own part, he was always exquisitely polite. Cigarettes. Towards five, Gloria would serve him a cup of tea and two dates on a china saucer. His tone of voice was so friendly that it wouldn't have surprised me if he had asked me to share them with him.
Besides his tea he seemed to drink in my words. It was crucial that no mistake be made concerning myself. Trying not to show off, I would, skillfully and discreetly, keep pointing out my merits, going deeper and deeper into the ridiculous land in which an ass makes more of an ass of himself than usual in order to be given oats—or in this case, to be saved by the sound of his voice. On the third day, instead of taking me directly into his office, Gloria led me into the small library at the back, in which she left me for five minutes in the midst of other patients. I eyed them surreptitiously. Who were they? Why were they there? Didn't they know that Lacan was waiting for me?
As soon as I was in his presence he apologized for his "delay."
I apologized profusely, taking his politeness so far as to justify his reasons and ended his sentence with an "I am not responsible" which stunned me.
On the afternoon of our fifth encounter, when, as was his habit, he shook my hand after pocketing my bills, he suddenly snapped at me:
"I've decided to take you on for analysis."
I looked at him uncomprehendingly.
"I thought we had already started."
He stood up.
"See you on Monday," he said. To be continued...