06 February 2009

The sound of music

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but if not, I’ll say it now: I’m in therapy.

But that’s not the point. Anyway, I’ve been going to the same therapist for over three years, and in that time, I’ve noticed something: the music in the waiting room sucks.

On my very first visit, I took a seat in the waiting area and filled out a few papers. It took me longer than it should have, because I was distracted by the music playing: “Rainy Days and Mondays” by Karen Carpenter. I mentioned in a previous rant that I find any song recorded by a Carpenter to be sort of a downer. Well, “Rainy Days and Mondays” makes “Merry Christmas Darling” sound like a lively march.

I went to my therapist because I’m depressed. Let me tell you, “Rainy Days and Mondays” didn’t cheer me up any. After a time, I was called back and I met John, and we got down to business. He asked me the usual questions, among them a query about any suicidal tendencies.

“I’m not suicidal,” I told John, “but if I was, that music in the waiting room would have pushed me over the edge.”

He agreed that Karen Carpenter wasn’t the best, cheeriest choice for a therapy waiting room. It changed the next week to a classical music CD – some of the most lachrymose symphonies I’ve ever heard. It was almost as bad as the previous week but at least this time I could appreciate the musicianship of the composers and performers.

That was in October, so it wasn’t long before the classical dreariness gave way to Christmas songs. Those I could tolerate. From there it went to some fairly benign piano music, although more than enough of that was depressing.

Then John and his colleagues moved to their temporary offices farther west on Baseline. An old radio was tucked under a silk plant on a beat-up side table. I was hopeful at first because it seemed to be set to an oldies station. But after hearing “Dust in the Wind” and “In the Year 2525” I found myself thinking longingly of the days of Karen Carpenter.

Then one day someone changed it to 95.5, the Coyote – a local jazz station. Aside from a vague sense of being in an elevator, it was okay. They stuck with it in their new offices, too, and I didn’t think much about it until I realized how many jazz songs are in fact about sex. I should mention that many of the therapists in John’s office specialize in sexual and pornographic addiction. So I found it particularly ironic when I was waiting for my appointment one day, along with three or four men from the LifeStar group, and 95.5 played “Sexual Healing.” I said as much to John, and the next week it was Christian pop music.

I didn’t mind too much since as a general rule, Christian pop is inoffensive and upbeat. But it only lasted a week or two. Then it was some rather frantic-sounding orchestral arrangements (Wagner, I think), and then … silence.

I suppose they’ve given up. I don’t reckon there’s any kind of music that works well in a therapy office, but still, you’d think they’d keep at it until they find the least intrusive variety. Personally, I’d be happy with KSLX. Nothing to motivate a person to get up and do something like a little Led Zeppelin.

I think I’ll suggest it next time. They seem to take my music recommendations seriously. I can use that to my advantage.

See, I’ve learned something in my years of therapy after all.


Holly said...

perhaps you're just too neurotic to go see a therapist.....haha. Love you anyways :)

Deka said...

what about instrumental jazz? no words, no sex
something like burt bacharach's greatest hits. very non-offensive

i work in a psychiatry office. the doctor turns on a noise machine. i'd rather have karen carpenter