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!


Sarebear said...

How very interesting! I'm excited to see (hear) how it is all going to turn out!

The part about saying, put a door here, a whatever there, in the construction part, sounded a bit like playing the Sims 2, the house building part of it (which is a game unto itself, you can play around with all that stuff, and designing houses, w/furnitures, wallpapers, and all sorts of stuff, without ever messing with a Sim (virtual person in the game) and I wish they'd concentrate more each time they update the game on making this side of the game more updated).

Anyway. Lol.

Shabby Chic is the name of a lot of different digital scrapbooking kits (and a certain digital scrapbooking style).

Rach said...

It's all about the benjamin moore paint colour software.
So much fun to play with!

(Is benjamin moore a canadian thing? Or do they sell it in the states too?)


Eric, AKA The Pragmatic Caregiver said...

Devine Color. Seriously, Gretchen is a genius and even though the palette is small, the paint is stunning and the colors always look good on the walls. - nothing more than a very happy customer.

Anonymous said...

puppy. woof!

Fat Doctor said...

The color of your walls is, indeed, important. It sets the mood for your pateints and, more importantly, you. I get that.

tracy said...

Ha, ha. i once commented on the lack of anything very "personal" in my Psychiatrist's little office, like pictures, etc. His answer was that he considered this office temporary, so he really didn't think to's been a year now.....

Sunny CA said...

I thought you were kidding when you said the color was "Shabby chic", but then decided to look it up. Very pretty color. Good choice!

I think what would worry me most would be the other 4 offices but perhaps there are always therapists looking for better office space. My psychiatrist has the top floor of a building which I think he rents then sublets the other rooms. There's a shared waiting room, bathroom and mail area for the renters and 3 offices in addition to my psychiatrist's office. He even sublets his own office space for a psychologist to use in the hours and days he does not work. His space is extremely personal with fine art, antiques, plush seating. I like that I can lean my head back in the chair.

Anonymous said...

Rach: Yes, we have Benjamin Moore in the USA>
Sarebear: Shabby Chic. I don't know about those sims games.
Victor: You never give up. Get a hamster. You're very good with rodents.
Tracy: Going for more permanent, I hope.
FD: Absolutely. Color is good. Friend says my current office is anemic.
Sunny: yes this was the point of the post, that I've displaced my worry about the 4 empty offices onto something as simple as shades of tan. I still want to practice in your doc's office.

Catherine said...

I recently started a new job and am also in the process of finding a new place to live / moving. It's amazing how all of my job anxieties and frustrations have come to play out in my moving choices. If I cannot have my new classroom tailored to me (my old classroom was a dream), then by-goodness my house will have to make up the difference. Everything seems to matter now where before I would have "settled".

(By the way, *I* buy packing boxes!)

P.S. My word verification was spaces -- how apropos!

Roy said...

I added your paint swatch to your post.
Can't wait to see the place.