Monday, November 12, 2007

The Shrink Next Door

This is our 600th Post!
Lately my neighbors have been apologizing to me, which feels a little bit weird. We'll have brief (OK, sometimes not so brief) conversations and they end them by saying something to the effect of, "I'm sorry to chew your ear off," or "I know you're off duty, so I'm sorry about that," or words to that effect. They know I'm a psychiatrist so I guess they think they're burdening me when they do the normal problem-sharing thing that goes along with being a friendly neighbor. Now, it's possible that I get more than the usual share of mental-health related problem sharing because they know what I do for a living. And it's true I know lots of stuff about who in the neighborhood is on which medication, or who would never in their life take that particular medication, or who is looking for a psych referral (I give them names but they rarely follow through), just because of what I do for a living. But it doesn't feel like they're burdening me. I like my neighbors. I've never had a bad one, and that's pretty unusual considering how long I've lived here.

That being said, I can't say that I've ever gone to my mechanic neighbor for car advice or to my hair stylist neighbor for coloring advice (although Dinah probably thinks I should) but that's not because I don't think they'd help me if I asked for it. It just never occurs to me to ask. It is nice to know though that any one of those folks who apologized to me for "problem dumping" would be just as quick to listen to me if the tables were turned. That's just being a good neighbor.