I recently went to a 'Taster Day' for an institute of higher education which will remain nameless. It was one of those places that only I seem to find myself in.
Firstly, all the walls were painted. When I say painted, I'm not talking two coats of magnolia, I mean that they were actual paintings. So in one room you were in a forest, complete with sky and clouds on the ceilings. In the toilets, each cubicle was wrapped in climbing plants and flowers. I got an incling that this wouldn't be a run of the mill evening.
I took my seat ready for a lecture, and the speaker was a big burly man with a beard. The kind of man who you just dip in your pockets and give your purse and keys to, while reciting your pins and passwords, because it makes the whole inevitable stabbing thing quicker and more painless. I was surpised therefore, when he opened his mouth to sound almost exactly like Michael Jackson, but with about an inch thick layer of camp smeared on top.
"And so, we made some creations from lego, always trains. Always drawings of trains. Where are the trains going? Of course, I realised, they were trains to nowhere. Sometimes they crashed, and you know what? We celebrated Crash. Crash is OK"
Perhaps you re-read that in an attempt to understand it and make some sense of it. You were right the first time - it's just bollocks.
We then moved to an area of the room where there was a bit more space, and were asked to take off our shoes. This was a clear signal to me that we were about to do something physical and public and embarassing and insane.
I was right.
9 adults then unquestioningly skipped about the room pretending variously, to be walking on a hot pavement, cooling ourselves in a puddle, splashing, jumping, looking at things that weren't there in rapt wonder. Yada yada yada.
I'm sure you can imagine, this is exactly the kind of situation where I feel most comfortable and at ease, lacking in all self-consciousness or desire to run away as fast as I can (which, if anyone has seen me run, would not put much space between me and Fat Michael Jackson anytime soon).
Next we had to paint our feelings. Of course. I did some trees.
FMJ "Now, I want you to choose an object, or rather, let the object choose you".
A rubber snake chose me.
I then had to give my object a voice, and tell this story to my neighbour, who silently nodded while remembering what she had read that Freud thinks about snakes, and judging me.
We then had a group interview, which went something like this:
FMJ: Why are you here today?
Candidate no. 1: I'm here because I'm on a journey? And the experience I've had today has just been really amazing because I've really been in my body?
Everyone nods (except me).
Candidate no 2: Yes, it was incredible how released I was in the act of using the paints. My emotions just flowed out of me. I just feel really....centred?
Everyone nods (except me).
Me: I'm here because I'd like to do my job better.
Everyone looks at me. When they realise that's all I'm going to say, we move on.
FMJ: Can you tell me about some of the neuroses you developed in childhood, and how you address them as an adult?
As you may imagine, everyone did. At very great length and in painful and alarming detail. Everyone except me.
The next day I received a letter saying that I had not been accepted for a place, but that they would consider me after a year of humanistic psychotherapy.
Which makes complete sense, because the obvious conclusion to draw from all of this is that I am mentally ill and need help to get a better grip of reality.