She talked, and avoided eye contact as she does when ignoring me. I didn't mind for two reasons: one, it only cost my immediate psychological improvement, and two, I didn't want her to notice my discomfort. I felt deathly awkward as I sat in the friendly blue and flowered chair, staring intently at the round clock behind her open suitcase. Half an hour, I had, until we parted and she inevitably would show some unnecessary and motherly affection. Maybe she would hug me; maybe I could get away with a handshake. Preferably, I would get away with a simple "Enjoy your life, Doctor," as I walked out of the building.
Her office in Nevada City
looks content to exist with its optimistic
, white washed atmosphere. I sat in a whicker couch facing the worldly door, week after week in the same position, and read the same National Geographic
featuring Quantum Physics
FYI and the mating rituals
of penguins. I leaned back on the headrest, plastering more friendly colors with the dampness of my hair as I watched her poster advertising "Le Bicentiennial Ascension du Mont-Blanc." She never noticed my wet hair spots, or my compulsive seating habits. I suppose that was a fault of my own, and I certainly built the habits for her to notice. She did, however, always notice my excessive
smile as she opened her plain and old white door, letting her other charges wander out of the place. She then responded with her own insincere smile, and to my hatred for the sentimentality of sincerity.
Now she would hug me, most likely, and this would destroy the relationship I occasionally had with her. I've never wanted to express my problems to caring people, but rather to the cold, analytical: someone I had to call "Doctor." She introduced herself by first name, and I never addressed her with it. I actually avoided naming her altogether, and she did the same with me. There was no frightening "Hello, Kristin" when she led me into her den of psychological repair; more usually she asked about my mother.
Unfailingly, I sat in the fluffy blue chair before she pleasantly initiated conversation, of the obviously scheming type. She's a shrink; that's what they're all about. Scheming makes giving someone the urge to help themselves easier, and honesty has nothing to do with it. She had no problem with manipulation, for people, as well as herself, are incapable of wrong. A man may commit genocide, but he is merely a product of his environment and thus blame and exoneration for everybody. However, such a man should, at all costs, avoid a childlike and boring presence, for personal dislikes attack those qualities before immorality. I think this perspective may have been for my benefit, in which case I give more than due respect, and again gave me the comforting feeling that I couldn't trust her.
And at the point when she would hug me, it wouldn't stab me in the back. It wouldn't prevent a future stab, because she believes that I can take care of that myself. However, she would not hug me for my independence: that action would be completely useless. It would be more along the lines of decent affection, and would give my relations to her the taint of ingenuity. This was not what I wanted, I thought as the pointed seconds-hand of the clock continued its jarring movement. My psychologist, of all people, should not think me a good person.
In the last quarter-hour, she proceeded to sum up my misery to me, and made it sound, as always, wholesome. Time began to speed up as I waited for her to blame at least something on me, for in the past she had been responsive to my personal sense of aesthetics. Ten minutes left, and still, talk of my ability to deal with the traumas resulting from an inappropriate environment. I began to swivel the chair and wave my black boot-clad feet in an arch, occasionally running into her, sitting across from me in an identical, but unmoving chair. At seven minutes, I turned to look one last time at her light oak bookshelf about four feet away from my flailing feet. She had neatly arranged psychology books: nothing but. Some Freud, Jung, and broad anthologies of Humanist writings, few of which looked well read, and none of which were well referenced.
I turned back, and struggled to add in a few useless words of summation. She stood up, for the hour was up, and I imitated. We talked briefly about arranging a session for my fall break, and then I winced as she made a maternal and yet somehow guttural noise as she wrapped her arms around my shoulders. She managed to bury my face in her coarse, gray hair, and to slice my sinuses with her musty perfume.
Previously, upon my thought about the prospective hug, I had not touched the reason why I detested the idea. I did not believe that she carried any contagious diseases, and yet contact with her still left me unnerved. My disgust was only in her being a paid professional: one who should be aware of my whims and habits. I disliked her hug because I had already considered it, and she had failed to notice.
People ideally will be aware and not necessarily compassionate or appreciative. Awareness would have provided her with the insight that she caused me an hour of angst, and also that I was setting her up to put me in such a situation. I did not enjoy her enjoyment and care for me, and would have preferred that she remain competent and aloof. In past situations when the doctor played to the workings of my mind, I loved her presence as stimulating, competitive, and frequently, as mentioned, insincere. Insincerity provided her with my trust, for her job was to manipulate me with whatever verbal means.
Outright honesty and plain sincerity do not always give integrity. The common devotion to such virtues creates such ordeals as with my psychologist, and though I was flattered by her attention, I regretted losing her as the key to mental health. The pursuit of honesty is frequently quite dishonest, in the case where she failed to do her job as a doctor for the sake of showing honest affection. She benefited from display, for comforting the patient has its internal rewards, and I lost faith in her ability. Honesty often requires dishonesty, and despite her good intentions, I would have preferred them to be conniving.