The heavy mahogany doors swung open effortlessly as the sweet scent of dusty old books assailed my nostrils. I took one tentative step forward and then another until I was in the middle of the room. A funny looking man wearing bottle thick glasses walked up to me, extended his hand and introduced himself as Dr. Ing. Funny I thought he didn’t look Asian. He motioned me towards the black patent leather ‘shrink’ bed and told me to first get comfortable and then to tell him why I was here.
I readied myself but couldn’t pull my wondering eyes away from the book shelves lined wall to wall with every thing from the classics to Shakespeare. As I circled the room with my eyes I told the good doctor I was an addict.
Pushing his heavy glasses back up his ski slope nose and without eye contact he asked, “Tell me Mr. Smith, to what is it you are addicted to?”
My eyes scanned the various titles lining the hand crafted shelves. Oh, this doctor owned some awesome, awe inspiring works. From where I was laying down I was able to read some of the spines. To name a few I saw such titles as To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, 1984 by George Orwell, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, and my wife’s all time favorite; Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin in bound burgundy leather. Wow, this doctor owned a library I would be proud to own.
Obviously irritated with my lack of response Dr. Ing started to tap the side of his writing tablet with his pencil before saying. “Mr. Smith, could you please tell me what you’re addicted to?’
“I don’t think you understand. I’m addicted to reading.”
“Oh.” Dr. Ing’s glasses slid back down his nose. “And this is a bad thing?”
“Well my wife tells me it is. That’s why I’m here.”
“Why do you think your wife sees reading as an addiction?”
Rolling my eyes I sarcastically replied, “Apparently I read more than I write.”
“And do you write for a living?”
The doctor made a quick notation on his yellow legal sized tablet before stating, “Then I would have to say you are indeed addicted to reading. What you need to do is…”
I drowned out the rest of his speech. After all I had heard it all before. My dear wife nags me daily and tells me the same thing. I need to stop reading and start writing but she just doesn’t understand. I don’t think she’s read anything she doesn’t have to. I read because it relaxes me and I get to enter into another world; if only for a few hours.
Dr. Ing brought be out of my thoughts by almost shouting my name and then told me our time was up but he wanted to see me next week to see how I was doing. As I reached the doors he added, “And remember, this is only the beginning. I promise you it will get better with time.”
Darn doctor. I would have thought with a library like that the good doctor would be on my side but from the sounds of things he’s not.
As the petite secretary scanned Dr. Ing’s appointment book I glanced at the brass name plaque on the doors. Dr. R. Ing was beautifully carved in free style script. Wondering what the ‘R’ stood for I questioned the secretary.
“Oh, it stands for Reid.”
“You’ve got to be joking.”
Without so much as a smirk she replied, “I kid you not, Mr. Smith.”
From the look on her face I knew she wasn’t trying to pull my leg. And here I thought I had problems but nothing could be as bad as being named Reid Ing. What in the world were his parents thinking of? What was my wife thinking of? I have a reading addiction. I can’t see a doctor whose name is my addiction.
I need help, and so the first thing I’m going to do on the road of my recovery is find a new doctor.
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