I realized I don't like my doctor.
I've had a minor health concern that has required me to visit my doctor on several occasions in the past few months. I was never particularly crazy about her but these visits have made me realize that I really don't like her.
As far as I can tell she's a fine doctor. She has all the credentials she needs; has yet to steer me wrong; always answers my questions; and is generally quite pleasant. It is not her doctoring skills that turn me off but rather her demeanor.
The multiple visits have made me realized how much of her interactions with me are set patterns. She enters the room with a specific tone of voice (very chummy, as if we're close friends) and exchanges a pleasantry. Each visit I get a very weak and limp handshake. (FYI, I'm someone who greatly respects personal space--I won't touch you if you don't want to be touched--but if you offer me a body part I go all the way. I don't do the half handshake or the fake hug or the air kiss). Her tone then quickly switches to concerned. She slowly and calmly explains what the day's visit is about and what she will be doing. Everything is couched in positive and rather vague terms, so I won't worry. (I'm not a worrier). During the main event there is generic idle chit-chat that, I believe, is intended to distract me. Afterwards I am always praised for how 'well' I did or what an easy patient I am. Usually there is a cursory visit in her office, where the same concerned tone and slow cadence is used to discuss our next steps.
This same formulaic routine occurs with all of the staff in her office. The only variation is between syrupy-sweet and bored.
This is eerily similar to my experience purchasing coffee. The baristas are instructed to offer up their names while taking your order. They simultaneously engage in routine small talk while trying to sell you the latest product. Occasionally you can find an establishment (or a specific barista) that breaks out of the mold and interacts as a real person.
What does the future hold when we are reconceptualizing most professions as service delivery (something that is certainly happening in higher education) and convincing ourselves that excellent service consists of platitudes and insincerity? What are younger (and future) generations learning when they are provided only with shellacked surfaces?
I've long felt that insincerity is a huge drawback in the classroom. I believe my effectiveness as a teacher begins and ends with my ability to be real and stay in the moment with my students. This may be too much to expect from my barista or grocery bagger, but my physician?