Buzzers

I hate when therapists have a buzzer that I need to ring to gain access to their office.
I generally have a bit of pre-therapy anxiety, the buzzer exacerbates the situation.

I hate being late for things, but I also have a rule about not being more than 10 minutes early for things. Any more than that and my early-ness can seem excessive to an onlooker. I need to be early so I don’t stress about being late, but I don’t want people to notice how early I am. I tend to show up for therapy (among other things) early and walk around to kill time. It is important to maintain sufficient distance from my destination (1 block at least). I wouldn’t want my therapist to spot me near his office an hour before the appointment.
When an office has a buzzer it means announcing exactly when I show up. Are they noticing how early I show up? Am I being rude by announcing my arrival 10 minutes early rather than 1 minute early?

If I sneak in, past the buzzer door, behind someone else will the therapist think I haven’t arrived yet, leaving me waiting in the waiting room indefinitely?

I worry about pressing the wrong button and buzzing someone else. I’ve done that before. I had a class where the professor held classes in her apartment (I know, weird right? She was a strange lady, always giving me free hair product. She had cats though so that was awesome) We had to press the buzzer to get in. Once I accidentally buzzed one of her neighbors. Very embarrassing.
I have to check and re-check to make sure I’m pressing the button corresponding with the correct name. Sometimes the list of names is far from the buzzer, allowing more room for potential errors and therefore more worrying.

Once I got my belt from my coat stuck in the door of a therapist’s office that had a buzzer. I tugged hard trying to free the belt and eventually had to get buzzed in again to free myself. There were moments where I considered sacrificing the belt to avoid the extra buzzing, but I worried she’d notice the belt left behind and comment when I arrived next time missing a coat belt. The belt has since been lost after a dry cleaning trip. It just really didn’t want to be on my coat. It’s a shame since I picked it out because of the belt. I felt a coat with a belt produced a better silhouette.

The first time I tried discussing the problem of buzzer with a therapist who had one, she took it a little personally. So I dropped the subject. I didn’t meet with her very long. It might have lasted longer had there been no buzzer.

I later met with another therapist in the same office building. He and I came to the agreement that I’d sneak into the building behind someone else. He didn’t mind, apparently he too hated the buzzer. His reason was different. Often he didn’t hear it and wouldn’t know people were waiting. This method of sneaking in helped, but still was stressful. I’d very slowly preform tasks that made me look busy, like I wasn’t trying to sneak in. I’d slowly unwrap my scarf or look at my ipod or phone. I needed to show up more than the 10 minutes early to allow more time to sneak in. But sometimes I’d get in the building way before the appointment, meaning I needed to walk slowly up the stairs to avoid arriving in the waiting room more than 10 minutes early.

I don’t have a id card to get me in the building for my internship yet. For at least a week more I have to get buzzed in to enter the office. To complicate matters not everyone works there every day. I have to buzz multiple people (Many who I hardly know yet. I worry if I say my name and ask to be let in they’ll be confused about who I am.) to find one who is there who can let me in. I’ve been working to avoid this by showing up during the morning at peak arrival hours so I can follow someone else in. It’s in a nice neighborhood and I’m sure I could find fun places to eat during my lunch break, but I’ve not been leaving the building for lunch because I don’t want to be re-buzzed in.

I returned to therapy Tuesday with S.M. He got a new office. I was taken by surprise when, after making the appointment to meet with him again, I learned that his new office has a buzzer. It hadn’t occurred to me that he could have become a buzzer person in the past year.
It amazes me that even with the amount I worry, situations still manage to come up that I hadn’t foreseen.
I stressed a lot about the buzzer. It ended up being the least bad buzzer I’ve encountered. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a buzzer (Wait and see, I’ll turn the word buzzer into an offensive adjective) but I’ve seen much worse. This one was interesting in that I pressed a button to scroll to his name (first one on the list) and then pressed the call button. I like that I only have to see one name at a time and that his is the first. Less worry there about buzzing the wrong person. Other worries are still there but cutting out one problem helped. It also helps that this is my favorite therapist and I appear to have come down with a bad case of idealization. If he were a new therapist with the same buzzer I might be more critical.

Today at the end of my appointment I walked out of his office, through the waiting room, outside the waiting room to the elevator. My therapist followed shortly behind me and said “Here let me show you something” and then showed me the code I can use to get into the waiting room. No more need for a buzzer. Leaving me puzzled about why he did this.
-Did he remember that I have trouble with buzzers? I only mentioned it once to him, briefly(On the phone during a time I wasn’t even meeting with him and just wanted records). I’ve been assuming he forgot about it. I hadn’t talked about my stress over his buzzer, because I didn’t want to be rude. I’m sure he didn’t choose for the office to be designed with a buzzer. Did he offer it without me asking because he knew I wouldn’t ask?
-Does he tell the code to all his patients? If so why didn’t he just tell me it on the phone when I made the appointment. Why wait till after the second session? And why after I already left his office?
-Can he tell if I’ve just used the code? and if so maybe it’s a sneaky way to see if I show up earlier when I don’t need him to buzz me in. I won’t fall into that trap:P 10 minute rule still applies.
-Maybe he thinks he’ll run a little late some day and then without the buzzer I can let myself in even if he’s not there yet.

I guess it’s a sign he’s not worried about me breaking into the waiting room or something. :P
I’m going to think of it as that he remembered my trouble with buzzers and view it as a nice gesture. Perhaps I’ll get an explanation about it at my next appointment. Probably not though. And I doubt I’ll ask. Maybe I will. Or maybe not. He’d probably tell me if I asked, but that would require actually asking.

12 thoughts on “Buzzers

  1. My spiritual director’s apartment doesn’t have a buzzer at all, and so I have to call her when I get there for her to come let me in the front door. That, drives me crazy. I refuse to walk, in case I get there waaaaaaaaaaay too early. So even though it’s close, I sit in my car until 2 minutes before our appointment.

    My therapist’s office never had a buzzer, so I’m not sure what I would do with that. Where I work now though, the clients have to ring the door bell and reception lets me in. It drove my crazy on my interview and first days and stuff, because i hated having to ring that stupid bell. I never really thought about the fact that my clients might not like the door bell thing. You’ve definitely given me something to think about!

    Reply
    • I used to make by dad drive me around the block a few times when I was too early for things. Staying in the car is nice. It’s a protective little bubble.

      I guess if you get a client you has a problem with buzzers you’ll understand because you hate them too :)

      Reply
  2. Hello ,

    I find you a fine wordsmith. Entertaining read! Your post has sort of a Seinfeld quality to it – making a lot about nothing.

    Holley molley you do think too much! Is the rest of your life like that as well. I recall your anticipation of doing your laundry in a laundromat was a bit like this also.

    Keep the posts coming my friend

    Graffiti

    Reply
    • Thank you Tony,

      I like Seinfeld:)

      There are certain things I particularly over-think. This is one of them. Not everything gets this level of thought, but overall I definitely think more about each thing than is really needed.

      Reply
  3. Love, love the “Buzzer” story. my Psychiatrist/therapist has a little office in a “strip mall”…(at least it’s a cute strip mall!). His office is inside a little corridor with 3 offices and he usually has his door ajar a bit…so, i can even sneak in 5-10 min early, as not matter how hard i try, i can’t walk silently…all of my shoes make some kind of noise on the t i l e floor. i wonder what his next office will be like…(he plans to move “Southside”- across the James River…Richmond, VA), when the practice “picks up”. i hope he doesn’t have a shared waiting room….sigh.

    Thanks again,
    tracy

    Reply
    • ooh I hate shared waiting rooms! It’s so awkward sitting there with someone else. I especially hate when that someone else tries to talk to me. I’m just like, err.. let me stare at the wall nervously and not talk.

      Reply
  4. My therapist’s sons — who attended the school where I taught — were sometimes in his waiting room. Yikes. I know he trusted them to keep quiet about his clients, but — he’s the deluded parent.

    Reply

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