‘I get to her office. I ring the bell. She’s got a buzzer system. What am I supposed to do if she doesn’t release the door straight away? Should I ring the bell again? If I ring again, will she think I’m annoying? Then she releases the door. Her office is on the fourth floor. I have to take the lift. I’d like to take the stairs, but if I walk up, I’ll be sweaty. So I take the lift.
‘But the lift is a big problem. I wouldn’t want anyone to see that I’m going to a psychoanalyst – I’m antsy about that. So I get to the fourth floor and make it to her door. On the door she has one of those push-button combination locks, so that patiens can let themselves into the waiting room. Sometimes I fumble with the lock and I get the combination wrong. Is she listening? Is she thinking, “What a klutz?”
(…) ‘Now I’m at the couch. Do I really lie down and put my wet, dirty shoes on her nice clean couch, or do I take them off? Do patients normally take off their shoes or not? I don’t know. If I do take my shoes off and most people don’t, I look peculiar. But if I don’t take my shoes off and most people do -then I’m dirty. (pp. 168-169)
Stephen Grosz, The Examined Life – How We lose and Find Ourselves, Vintage Books, 2014