I won’t go into too much detail, but I recently undertook a psychometric test. There were something like one hundred and seventy questions, ranging from “I enjoy theories” to “I hate parties”. As the test proceeded, so my positive responses were clustered together, as were my negative answers. So things I like (books, people, shouting and watercress) all appeared in the same question, forcing me to make a distinction. Similarly, all the things I hate (golf, getting up, Wotsits and rabies) were thrown together to make me differentiate between them. Imagine if you were asked whether you hated Wotsits more than rabies, could you decide? Rabies is nasty, but you are rarely offered any. Wotsits, they pop up all over the place, those horrible, disgusting, floury, yellow puke pods.
At the end of all this, I had to sit in a room with an expert who told me how nuts I was. She laughed until she cried as she described the huge variations in my responses. “You are a silent loner,” she said. “You sit outside of the circle, looking in. You hate Wotsits more than rabies. That’s very weird.”
“Ah,” I replied, “but I love watercress more than shouting!”
She filed my report away and told me, no, I couldn’t have a copy. For once in my life, I wish I could have been normal. It must feel so good. To like people more than poetry, and parties more than stationery. I can only wish.
But as I spend hours alone, making things up, it is unlikely that the outside world would consider me a balanced, rounded human being. I am not, and I don’t want to be. I want to the eccentric that I am, because in that way the world is an endlessly entertaining series of the bizarre, the surreal and the utterly incomprehensible. If I were organised and rational, possessed of that dubious quality ‘common sense’, then I am certain I would be incapable of dusting myself off and walking away after a computerised psychometric test had determined I was an introspective watercress loving loner.