Monday, February 07, 2011

This is what it costs

New York Magazine:

The Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Celexa, Effexor, Valium, Klonopin, Ativan, Restoril, Xanax, Adderall, Ritalin, Haldol, Risperdal, Seroquel, Ambien, Lunesta, Elavil, Trazodone War

The first time I meet David Booth, a 39-year-old former medic and surgeon’s assistant who retired this past spring after nineteen years in the active Army Reserve, I make the awkward mistake of proposing we go out to lunch. It seems a natural suggestion. The weather is still warm, and he has told me to meet him in the lobby of his office downtown, so I assume he wants to go out, not back to his desk, when I show up around noon. But it turns out that in the six months he has been at his job, Booth has never left his office in the middle of the day, except to run across the street, and he is simply too polite to say so. From the moment we step outside, it’s clear how unusual this excursion is for him. As we walk, he hews close to the buildings on his right (“If a building’s to my right, no one is going to walk by me on my right”), and when we arrive at the restaurant, he quietly takes a seat at the table closest to the door, his back against the wall. His large brown eyes immediately start darting around.

“How’s your sleep?” I ask him.

“I don’t,” he answers.

Image: A portrait by Louis Palu.

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