Friday, April 22, 2005

The Office

Where was I? Standing in the doorway to the stairs to Dr G's office. The next odd thing was that he wanted me to go in first. Is that politeness? I felt it was his office and I did not know where I was going. I think what bothered me about it was that on a subconscious level I had the strong feeling that he wanted to be behind me. I felt he did not want me following him up the steps.

Weird huh? It was part of the same weirdness that made me certain he had been sitting outside watching the office as I came and went the first time.

At the top of the stairs there was a small sitting area. A table with some picture frames, a few pictures on the walls. 3 or 4 chairs up against the remaining walls. A hall led deeper into the building. To the immediate right was the door to Dr G's office.

He had me take off my shoes before I entered the office. That was something I liked. I think that is one of those subtle habits that shows respect. Even if it does not matter much, the effort to do it reflects the thinking of the people that do it.

The office was small. Maybe 10 feet wide by 20 feet long. There was an examination table in one half of the office that could be used as a massage table. I think it had a cutout for the face like massage tables do. There were two windows that looked out on the street and the shops opposite. The view was quite homey and relaxing. The atmosphere of the town seemed to come right thru the window.

There was a bookcase against the wall next to the windows. The book case held a selection of Chinese herbs in glass jars and other containers. There was also a filing cabinet on the wall opposite the windows.

He invited me to sit down in a chair. I have a distinct mental image of myself hunched over in the chair. I had bad posture from doing kung fu incorrectly. The black leather jacket was stiff and bulky so it stuck out away from me as I sat in the chair. I don't think I projected the image of a comfortable person.

Dr G wanted to hear my story. I told him I had been practicing kung fu with another instructor. I felt the instructor had taught me wrong or I had learned wrong. This had caused me health problems. I also mentioned that I had been doing some breathing exercises. I had come to the conclusion that those exercises had exacerbated my health conditions and I wanted to learn the correct way to do breathing exercises. I had explained this to Yumiko and she suggested that he might be able to help me.

At some point in time, Dr G mentioned that he had not had the chance to speak to Yumiko. I did not know what to think. I did not know if it was a rebuke. If he was telling me he was doing me a favor without knowing the details of what was going on. I had no idea.

As was detailed earlier, I was stressed out, nervous and uptight about the visit and in general. This declaration that he had not spoken to Yumiko about me made the anxiety stronger.

He asked me some details about my kung fu background. I said I had been doing kung fu for 10 or more years. You might want to remember this. I think that Dr G's idea of a 10 year kung fu student was entirely different from my reality. I had been doing kung fu off and on, various styles, for 10 years. I think Dr G was thinking along the lines of, I was a serious student of 1 or 2 teachers and had practice assidously for those entire 10 years.

This possible misunderstanding could be related to many of the events that took place later on.

The meeting was short. My anxiety was highly contagious, more so in a small space like his office. Even on my best behaviour, a small room with me in it could be unbearable with the amount of nervous energy in it.

I believe he told me in this first meeting that he held a class with some other men in it. I would become part of that class if he was to accept me as a student. There was some mention of an interview. This bothered me. I do not like being judged. I also held no illusions about my health condition and what kind of a person I was to deal with. I was concerned that if "regular" people were to meet me and decide if I should be allowed to join, I would not have a chance of being allowed to join. I was that hard to deal with. I had come to depend on the especially understanding and tolerant nation of the health care people at the Dr office where Yumiko worked.

Dr G told me that he would call me at a later time and let me know what was going to happen. This made me, you guessed it, anxious. I was truly desperate to find some relief from the health problems. The idea that I was to leave this initial visit without some kind of concrete answer one way or the other that he would help me was not what I wanted to think about. My mental state had me convinced that I was receiving a polite brush off.

Overall my intial impression of Dr G at that point was that he was reserved. Suspicious sounds like a bad word, cautious maybe? He was serious and seemed very controlled. He appeared like your typical chinese person, thinnish with black hair. He seemed friendly and professional once we were in the office. It was not a personable friendliness. More like a practiced act. It was one of those things that you note unconscioulsy when you meet and size people up.

That was it. I shook his hand and thanked him for meeting me. I told him I was looking forward to his phone call. My heart fell out when I said it because of the chance he would never call. Boy was I desperate when I look back on it. ;)