My latest Psychiatric Assessment landed through my letterbox yesterday. My initial response is to get frustrated before I even open the obvious NHS envelope. I always want to rip the paper up before I’ve read the words. I see the image of a huge rubber fist bounding out of the envelope on a powerful spring. Every time. Nothing good ever comes from opening a Psychiatric Assessment. Personally speaking.
I’d been hiding from the Meter Man all day since he pounded on the front door in the morning and pushed through his card. I know the design on the card is meant to confuse and reassure in equal hateful measure. It’s a trick of the psychologically-graded Corporate trade. But my Meter Man always strays away from the script; he writes his own messages “I’ll be back tonight,” or “PLEASE….I really need to gain access.” One time I caught him trying to scale the seven foot gate at the back of my home. The battle always ramps up. Yesterday was an opening shot in the latest one, by someone with more powerful friends than I have.
The Psychiatric Assessment was the usual shit: “Objectively angry…. subjectively aggressive…. paranoid strongly held values…” Nothing to see here. I laughed off his assessment of my appearance – “Reasonably kempt ” – and filed the papers in a tray on a sideboard marked “Brown Mushrooms”. He was right about most of the stuff he’d said, as usual. But he wasn’t on the mark with his assessment of my appearance. Old clothes, ragged, crumpled, straggly beard. He was just being kind. Maybe that’s because he’s leaving next month. Or maybe he just has low standards. Or, just maybe, he’s telling the truth? Hard to tell with these people. They are always dressed better than me.
As it got dark I lit the three candles on my brass candlestick. It’s harder for people like Meter Men to see me through the window in the gloom. And mirrors don’t work as well. I popped out some tablets. Sipped at some Heineken. The Meter Man would be at home sharpening his arrows, preparing. He would saddle his iron war-pony and regain his strength before setting out on the plains of my small village with dreams of my scalp.
Next morning I closed the curtains and waited for the banging and pleading once more. It had been a tough, mostly sleepless night. I looked in the mirror for the first time in ages. Nah, the Psychiatrist was wrong. It’s hard to be kempt when you’re hunted.