By Kristin van Ogtrop
Updated January 22, 2015
Andrew McCaul

A few weeks ago I went to see a new doctor who was recommended to me by one of my regular doctors. (I suppose you have reached a certain age when you can write “one of my regular doctors.” It’s not exactly like I’ve got a corps of doctors at the ready but, you know, it’s a growing list.) This new doctor seemed terrific and capable in every respect, and I walked out of her office a satisfied customer.

And yet…her carpeting was dirty. Is it crazy that that drove me crazy? There are certain places where I spend money that I expect to be dirty, or dirtyish: a mechanic’s garage, say, or the Petco grooming department. I can even forgive my local post office for appearing a bit shoddy from time to time, what with all the revenue the USPS has lost with our incessant emailing and texting. (I still make my kids send thank you notes in the mail. Does that make me positively Downton Abbeyish?)

But I do not expect an expensive coffee shop to be dirty; nor the salon where I get my hair cut; nor my company’s cafeteria; nor the waiting room of a fancy doctor on a fancy street in fancy New York City. Is that wrong of me?

Now anyone who works at Real Simple and reads this blog may be sniggering behind her hand because, truth be told, my carpet (at least the carpet under my desk chair, where I eat lunch more often than I would like to admit) is not exactly pristine at all times. But I am not in the health field, and I don’t require anyone to take their clothes off in my office. At least not that I can remember.