She was late.
Unbelievably, incredibly late.
She snatched her luggage, ran out the airports sliding doors, stuffed the luggage in a taxi and told the driver to hit it.
It wasn’t the dignified entrance she had in mind for this conference.
But it would have to do.
She signed in at the entrance quickly, hastily plastered her badge over her left breast, glanced at the map telling her what was where, and started out at a brisk trot.
We’ll call her Dr. Grand High Poobah. A doctor with so many letters behind her name, the alphabet trembles preemptively before she opens her mouth to introduce herself.
Dr. Grand High Poohbah should have looked at her map a little more closely.
She flings open the doors to the room where her colleagues are no doubt listening to the introductions.
If she’s lucky, that is.
She is due to present someone today, and, glancing at her watch as she enters the room, thinks surely she’s in time for that.
A woman comes up to her, asks her name, and reacts impressively as the alphabet quivers from the recital of all those letters behind Dr. Grand High Poohbahs name.
The woman eagerly ushers her up to the podium, which the good doctor was not expecting.
Startled, she puts on her professional face and introduces herself from the podium, squinting a little in the bright lights momentarily.
Her first impression is there are a lot of people sitting up straighter after she introduces herself.
Her second is that none of the people present look dressed for a doctors conference.
She glances at the woman who’s followed her up to the podium, then leans in her direction before quietly asking the woman where she is.
Dr. Grand High Poohbah has belatedly realized she must be in the wrong room.
She realizes correctly.
The woman informs her that this is the annual meeting of hypochondriacs supporting hypochondriacs convention.
It wasn’t her imagination, then.
The eager group in front of her did straighten in anticipation after she announced herself.
She has a decision in front of her as the people wait for her to speak again.
She takes her time about making it, as every good doctor does before prescribing, slicing, or dicing.
But we will get to the good doctor’s decision, and why she made it in a moment.
There is only one difference between our doctor and psychics and mediums.
This is likely a one time occurrence for the doctor.
It is a daily event for us.
If you happen to follow me or be a pal on Twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads, then you know this: I don’t talk about what I do.
All are social networks in my mind; not advertising forums.
I want to be social. I want to talk to people and not let what I do for a living get in the way.
But some days are harder than others.
I’ve been asked several times why I shut off comments on the blog.
Well, it’s simple.
Questions. Via my comments on this blog, on my contact Lydia link, or sent direct to my email address.
Questions: Direct message on Twitter. Sometimes asked right on the Twitter feed.
Questions. Infrequently asked in open threads on Facebook; frequently asked via email. Some people friend me for the explicit purpose of asking me questions.
Haven’t had any on Goodreads yet, but we’ll see. It’s a nice place to be because no one cares what you do; they care what you read.
But that never stopped anyone before.
Once, I was held hostage in a house.
You heard me.
They found out what I did (I had an office in town), invited me over for coffee, and proceeded to pepper me with questions for the next two or three hours.
Sure, I could have gotten up and stormed out; but these were neighbors we are talking about.
You have to live beside them.
My husband rescued me; based on his kill first and ask no questions whatsoever face, I escaped.
When I was a young psychic, starting out, I had a published phone number.
It didn’t take long for me to make that unpublished.
Not long at all.
Because of all those questions.
We’ve moved since, into a rural area where no one is here to ask what I do for a living.
But let’s get back to our good doctor’s quandary; see what she decides in a place I and my colleagues know well.
She stares unseeing at the crowd, who, truth be told, are rustling uncomfortably and wondering when they will get to ask the good doctor for advice and counsel only someone with her expertise can answer.
She sees clearly what will happen if she graciously obliges the large crowd in front of her.
Hours spent answering questions this one time and in this one place is a problem. But not the largest problem.
The biggest problem is that she gave her name and her credentials.
She has a website.
She has an office.
So, it won’t merely be hours of questioning; no, never just that.
If she gives this crowd what it wants, it will be phone calls.
Emails, Tweets, possibly physically showing up at her office.
Definitely calling her office.
All because she humored them this time.
Because she opened the door a crack.
Took one for the team.
Gave an inch.
Dr. Grand High Poohbah stands there a minute longer as the crowd starts to murmur.
Thinking about the time.
The time these well meaning people will take up with their calls, visits, emails, tweets, Facebook pleas for her advice.
For her time.
Dr. Grand High Poohbah knows herself well.
Knows if she answers one question, she’ll have to answer others. It would be fair no other way, and whatever else she might be, Dr. Grand High Poohbah is fair.
This will prevent her from dealing with patients who expect to give and receive equitably.
It has to be fair for her, too.
Dr. Grand High Poohbah has to keep a roof over her head.
She has a car payment to make.
A family to feed.
Her life to tend to.
Her life to live.
And so do I.