A Psychiatrist's Waiting Room

I have just entered the realms of the unknown, a psychiatrist’s waiting room. I immediately sit down on the plush sofa – one of those English type sofas with a flower pattern even Alexander von Humboldt – an explorer who painted hundreds of exotic flowers – couldn’t have come up with. It’s so cosy, I could live on this. There’s an equally plushy and flowery armchair. A man sits there, preoccupied with a National Geographic so we don’t have to meet eyes. Fair enough, I don’t feel like sharing my depression. I let my eyes drift, trying to suppress the imminent analysis of my diaper days. The wallpaper is a soothing pale green like a surgeon’s working clothes. I would feel quite relaxed if it weren’t for the signal red couch table in the centre of the room. It oozes an aura of red rage like a prize-fighter ready for the punch. OK, a couple of magazines and a green vase obscure part of the redness a Spanish bull would instantly attack. But the smell… The vase contains red carnations, flowers that don’t just smell, they stink. They fill the room with a sweet sickening smell. Maybe Dr. Kurt has a thriving side business selling medicine against nausea. And there’s another thing, red carnations are, for me anyway, invariably connected with grave decoration. I picture an open grave and Dr. Kurt dramatically throws red carnations on my coffin. I have a feeling that Dr. Kurt is making sure his patients don’t get too comfortable in his waiting room. After all, he is selling therapy sessions. And the suicidal clientele is like an investment in a new house in the country. Even if it amounts to behavioural therapy on the cemeteries around town. That’s going to be fun.

And the waiting room has provided for people with bad eyesight and reduced smelling abilities as well. Through the open window a Peruvian panpipe group is giving it all, all three songs in their repertoire. “El Condor pasa” – I just wish he would. The National Geographic reader is called for therapy. I briefly consider throwing the carnations out of the window, onto the Peruvian combo. After all I am here for therapy and that would give Dr. Kurt something to amuse his colleagues at the next conference about abnormal behaviour. Since I am alone in the room now, I use a yoga style sitting position, i.e. I sit in plushness, legs knotted together, facing the wall behind the sofa. Oh, some humour. There’s a cartoon on the wall. It shows a protester’s sign at a health rally, which reads: “Support Mental Health… Or I’ll kill you.” This is soothing material for some neurotics, no doubt. But not for me. I take my depression by the hand and run.

© Carol Ernst (June 2006)

Further Anglo-Files