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Personal Space

The doctor is in



The corner of Pikes Peak and Tejon Street is not likely to be confused with a bustling pedestrian thoroughfare. But in a city as auto-dependent as ours, it's the next best thing. That's why Christine Bodus chose it as the site of her personal growth experiment.

For Bodus, a St. Louis resident, the risk was obvious: set up shop on a downtown sidewalk of an unfamiliar city and field questions from curious onlookers.

Reminiscent of the 5-cent psychology booth of the Peanuts' Lucy Van Pelt, Bodus' makeshift desk bore the curious proclamation: "The Doctor Is In."

When passersby asked what she was doing, she informed them that the answer cost a dollar. "They have to give up something or they wouldn't be taking a risk," Bodus said.

Bodus, however, is much more qualified to diagnose your checkbook than your innards. An accountant by trade, the recently laid off 36-year-old came to Colorado Springs to participate in a personal growth and development training group. Setting up a booth downtown was an exercise in confronting her fear of conversing with strangers.

While Bodus reported that no one was upset by her false advertising, she did report being on the receiving end of a lot of funny looks -- not to mention a random inquiry whether she "had any cocaine" (she did not) as well as two pickup attempts (both unsuccessful).

"Some people were suspicious, some people thought it was really cool," Bodus said. "I'm not out to solve anyone's problems because I can't."

Nevertheless, over the course of a hot August day strangers disclosed their problems, both professional and personal, along with other tidbits Bodus decided to keep to herself.

Around 3:30 p.m., after reaching her nominal goal of $25 -- which she says she'll donate to charity -- Bodus packed up her desk and left downtown, if not more confident, than certainly more sunburnt. Though she described the day as a success, it's not something she plans to repeat in the near future.

-- by John Dicker

photo by Cathy Maykut

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