|(from left to right) Me as I appear now; me as I appeared one year ago.|
"So how have you been?"
Every Wednesday afternoon at around 3:59, I pull into the parking lot of the Arlington Professional Center, an uninspiring complex of squat brown office buildings, in my battered, decade-old silver Cavalier and walk to Suite J for my weekly therapy session. I try not to arrive even a minute early, because I want to spend as little time as possible in the waiting room. Suite J of the Arlington Professional Center has the worst waiting room in the history of people waiting in rooms. Auschwitz had nicer waiting rooms than this place. It is a cramped and ugly space which, if anything, would deepen a patient's sense of hopelessness. There's a faded poster of a wolf on one wall and a table piled high with useless, glossy, oversized magazines filled with pictures of expensive furniture. Certainly, the room's oddest touch is a shelf with a hopelessly outdated and never-used boombox, along with a stack of never-played CDs (classical, new age, lite jazz) and even one sad, neglected cassette. Fortunately, my therapist's own office is much more inviting, with its soothing, dim lighting and comfy, tasteful furniture. Each week, at around 4:01, I haul my depleted husk of a body into this room and plop down on an overstuffed black couch. My therapist, a 50-ish Polish woman with spiky blue hair and the wardrobe of a bohemian artist, asks me how I've been that week.
"Oh, I don't know," I'll usually say. "The same, I guess..."