About a year and a half ago I forgot about an ophthalmologist appointment. They also had a policy of having people pay a fee for missed appointments. I never went back.
It's not that I can't afford the fee or that I think there is something really unjust about it. The fee doesn't put me off because I'm out money. It puts me off because it quantizes how badly I'm treating the person whose time I am wasting. I feel very bad about frustrating people and making people angry, I don't want to do it. Making someone so frustrated or angry that they require $150+ compensate them for that feeling seems very frustrated or angry to make someone. By way of comparison there have been a couple of times I have taken a taxi home from work because I just couldn't bring myself to be in a crowd of people on transit that day. I think of how bad I have to feel to be willing to spend $15 to avoid the feeling. Multiplying that by 10 would be unbearable.
There's something very, very, very wrong with the math I'm doing and how I'm looking at it. Then again, maybe considering how much I'm willing to suffer for small amounts of money this all makes perfect sense. I don't present this as a reasonable point of view or something that can be argued with. I'm not even truth here, let alone reason. The truth is I don't know what is so upsetting to me about anything.
But somehow when I'm told I have to pay because an appointment was missed, the whole missing an appointment thing becomes unforgivable. What would happen if I didn't pay? Presumably at some point they would drop me as a patient for not complying with their rules. They have already hit the point that they are ready to drop me as a patient if I don't get my act together, and I have no way of getting my act together.
Would I forget my appointment again? Yes, almost certainly. What can I do other than make sure there is nothing to forget. So I wrote to her:
I think I need to put our relationship on an indefinite hiatus. I don't know why I've become so disorganized as of late but I have no reason to think it will change.And she wrote back:
What's up? That doesn't seem a reason to stop coming - that certainly wasn't my intention. Do you feel guilty about forgetting appointments? Or was today's session difficult?
I'm sure it wasn't her intention, and it's not my intention to use unhappiness about being called out for being bad to try to negotiate a future where I don't get called out for being bad anymore. It's also not my intention to become more and more frustrating and feel worse and worse about myself over time until finally we end at the same result. All things end, I didn't want to dwell on the specifics of how or when or why. Like I said not long ago, the only reason to have a reasonable discussion is if you are open to changing your mind. I feel really bad about this, but I was going to feel bad about it one day.