WOULD YOU like to lie on the couch or sit in the chair?"
"I'll sit in the chair if you don't mind."
"All right. What seems to be troubling you?"
"I know you're going to think I'm crazy, but everyone wants to tow my car away."
"Please go on."
"Every time I find a parking place there's a big sign that says, 'This is Private Property. Violators Will Have Their Cars Towed Away.' Or, 'Only People With Permits May Park Here. We Reserve the Right To Tow Your Vechile Away.' Some just say 'Towaway Zone' without even an explanation. Everywhere I drive I see tow trucks with their motors running ready to hook up my car the minute I leave it."
"How long have you had these hallucinations?"
"They're not hallucinations! Even when I came to your office today there was a sign in your building parking lot saying, 'Only Authorized Stickers Permitted. All Other Cars Will Be Removed at Expense to the Owner.' Do you have a sticker, doctor?"
"Let's not talk about me. We're here to talk about you."
"I'm sorry. I'm under a lot of stress. It took me 45 minutes to find a place to park."
"Then you did find a place to park where they didn't threaten to tow you away?"
"Yes, in a Safeway. But I'm going to have to buy a bag of groceries before they let me out. Am I sick, doctor?"
"You have a neurosis. In psychiatric terms it's known as an 'Anxiety Parking Complex.' We're seen a lot of it lately. People are afraid to leave house because they believe they won't be able to find a place to park."
"That's the way I feel most of the time. The thought defeats me before I even start up the motor. I've tried every pain reliever on television."
"Drugs won't cure your neurosis, Mr. Fine."
"Let me put it this way. Everyday millions of people go somewhere and they find a place to park, many of them legally. Why do you think they can find their parking spot and you can't find yours?"
"Becuase they have a piece of paper stuck on their windshields."
"No, Mr. Fine. The reason that they can find a place to park is because they use positive thinking. They know when they leave the house that somewhere out in this great country is a nice wide open space that will just fit their car. In psychiatric terms it's called 'Kismet.' You, on the other hand, freeze everytime you see a sign with the word 'Tow' on it."
"What do they call that in psychiatric terms?" "Freud called it 'tough luck.'"
"So what you're saying is that if I think I'm going to find a parking place I will fine one, even if there aren't any."
"There is always a parking place somewhere . Someone is going to get it. This is a rotten world we live in, Mr. Fine - a jungle you might say. There are policeman and sheriffs and meter maids all waiting to pounce on you. Those are the realities. But in spite of them you must say to yourself every morning when you wake up, 'Today I am going to find a place to leave my car, and no person on earth is going to tow it away.'"
"What else did you expect me to say?"
"I was hoping you'd offer me one of your stickers."