Wednesday, December 09, 2009


Displacement is a defense mechanism that occurs when one refocuses an emotion, like anxiety or anger, onto a benign, less-threatening object than the object it is intended for. Kicking the dog is the classic example, with the assumption that it's safer to kick the dog than it is to kick the boss.

Moving is, for me, both an exciting event and a stressful one. Invariably, I deal with it by focusing my energies on worrying about something that is a bit ridiculous. When I finished med school and was leaving my life as a student to become an intern, I worried about finding enough boxes to pack in. When I finished my internship and was getting ready to move out of state and begin residency training in psychiatry, my husband pre-empted my obsession: he went out and bought boxes. (Who buys boxes?) I worried, instead, that there wouldn't be enough shelf space in my new kitchen-- I'd seen the apartment once on a whirlwind tour of apartments and couldn't remember the details. The funny part is that the kitchen we were leaving in New York City measured exactly two-feet by five-feet (yes, I measured it) and had only a single cabinet and no shelves. I'm not sure what I thought I owned that needed so much shelf space, but I arrived in town here to discover that both sides of a long kitchen were lined with shelves, cabinets, and drawers-- more than I would ever fill.

So I'm getting ready to relocate my practice. I'm moving 3 miles and I'm moving into a space that's being tailored to my needs. Oh, but I'm moving one of me into a space with 5 offices: I need some buddies. A couple of people have expressed interest in joining me, and this is exciting! Only I'm not showing any prospective sub-letters the space right now because it a construction zone, full of debris and equipment. Somehow, wandering around the space and muttering "put a door here, move a wall there, change these lights..." came pretty easily. Pick a color for the walls...well, that's where all my angst got displaced to.

Tan. I want tan walls. It's a warm color, it's neutral, it'll look nice with my red chairs. I called a decorator, she couldn't come soon enough. I advertised on a listserv for an emergency decorator, I got a few suggestions and a friend with good taste came to my rescue. She picked a carpet and a paint. The paint went on kind of yellowy. The carpet wasn't available. She picked another carpet ("Mushroom" I want mushroom? No one involved was asking me any more). She picked paint. Taupe. Gorgeous. It went up purple. I've been to 4 paint stores and have bought 6 sample quarts. The back of my basement door looks like a an artist's palette. The office looks like...I don't what it looks like, with variations of pinky tans and purply tans and yellowy tans all up all over the place. The property manager has taken to yelling at me "I'll come pick you a color!"
So I've got it, finally: the walls will be Shabby Chic (thank you Benjamin Moore).

What next to worry about? Well the forms, of course!