Saturday, 18 January 2014

In the Spychiatrist’s Chair

I explain to my spychiatrist that the phrase psychiatrist’s chair is a misnomer, as it is the psychiatrist who sits in the psychiatrist’s chair: the psychiatrist’s patient sits in the psychiatrist’s patient’s chair, not in the psychiatrist’s chair.

“Don’t you mean spychiatrist?” she asks.

I suspect humour is afoot, and I laugh. I find my laughter to be unwelcome, like a mouthful of cream bun of Day Four of Your Latest Diet.

My spychiatrist tells me about a new offer: All You Can Say for £150 with a free diagnosis at the end. I tell her that I can do this at home by saying all I want to my bedroom wall and then diagnosing myself as having Borderline Personality Disorder, all for less than a tenner.

We move on to the subject of medication. “Polo mints, fruits pastilles or Jacob’s cream crackers,” she says, and hands me a leaflet to read. I learn that an added benefit of Jacob’s cream crackers is that they deter dragon attacks. This is news to me.

“I’ve been reading your blog,” she says. I am so slow on the uptake. Spychiatrist. Of course.

I have to explain to her that the spychiatrist in the blog is not the same as the spychiatrist I see in front of me, and that the narrator in the blog isn’t really with it. I explain that I’m getting fed up with having to construct sentence after sentence of indirect speech which, as the astute reader will have observed, is how I report what I have said whilst I am at the spychiatrist’s; the spychiatrist is the only one of us whose speech is reported directly (apart from the odd italicized phrase which indicates direct speech from me). I explain that I don’t think the spychiatrist in the blog is really saying enough.

I wonder whose fault this is.

“So, you’d like me to say more for this blog?” she asks.

I explain that this would be very helpful, or possibly useless, depending on what she says. And all the while she’s listening to me, she isn’t talking, leaving all the work to me. But such is the nature of spychiatry that I fear she may not be able to make any contribution beyond the occasional open-ended question.

“Have you noticed the time?” she asks.

I glance at the clock, get up, and leave, slamming the door on my way out. I kick the bannisters on the way down the stairs, misspelling the word “banisters” in my fury, and, quite literally, throw my toys out of the pram, metaphorically speaking.

Later, I realize that banister can be spelt bannister or banister, and I send my spychiatrist a can of Pepsi Max by way of apology, with a note which says, “Don’t read anything into that remark about Pepsi Max by the way; it’s just a coincidence.”

Perhaps I should feature more apology notes; they seems to be more loquacious than spychiatrists. 

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