I heartily endorse a visit to the Mental Health Clinic as a source of literary inspiration. Since silence is implicitly (at least) imposed on clients, they have the opportunity to observe humankind at its most frail. The people a writer observes there are not there to have a good time. Including the employees.
I have a favorite receptionist at the Clinic. She seldom smiles, is matter of fact and dresses plainly. I think the way she has her hair cut is the only thing that really intrigues me. When I was there, she answered a phone call from someone scheduling an appointment. What I could hear of the end of the conversation went something like this:
—How are things going? [Pauses, stares expressionless, straight ahead.]
From this I took it that the person scheduling the appointment was talking about something other than his or her mental health.
—How are things going with the meds?
The receptionist's eyebrows raised, as if she were hearing a description of halluncinations. Then her lips tightened and its corners moved to the side of her face as her eyes opened wide, as if she were hearing most unpleasant descriptions of possible symptoms. At that moment, the problems which have been consuming every iota of my free time (and a good portion of my blogspace) seemed quite minor. By the time the psychiatrist came out to retrieve me for my appointment, I was more certain than ever that I was not going to walk out with a prescription for SSRI's.Posted by webs0080 at January 15, 2005 9:09 AM