I think a lot… its probably why I write, I found a home for some of the things on my mind that never make it to my lips. Naturally I also have endless questions, some which I cant even find the words for…
I am curious about life; the body, mind and soul; one is the machine, the other the cogs that run it and last the ghost within it.
Left hemisphere, right hemisphere, frontal cortex, pre-fontal cortex…
After a particularly gruelling set of exams, I was walking in the city with a couple of friends when we saw a building with a sign advertising Free Stress Testing
Hey lets go get tested for stress, someone suggested on a whim…
So, we went into the building, up the stairs and enquired at the reception area, where we were signed in for the tests. I had expected the stress test to be more like a medical examination, stethoscopes and blood pressure checks maybe even some sort of cat scan, NMR, EEG, ECG, QRS and other letters of the alphabet… it wasn’t.
Instead, the test was more like those invasive personality quizzes you read in magazines or see online; which celebrity are you most alike with, find your power animal, what profession are you most suited for…
There would be a set of scenarios and a scale of responses with how you would react or feel given each situation. The last section of the test was more like a general knowledge multiple choice quiz, with a mixed bag of questions that included a couple of math problems, word problems, word definitions, geography, even some riddle-like questions.
Oh, we had apparently also signed up for an IQ test too, it was a clause somewhere in the test release form and that the results would not be disclosed unless otherwise indicated. Sneaky bastards, but I had agreed to this.
The entire test was maybe half an hour-long tops and afterwards, we were asked to wait in the reception area for our results. We were informed we would be called in one by one for brief counselling with the results. One after the other, my friends were called; the process didn’t seem to take more than a couple of minutes.
I was called last.
I went and knocked at the door indicated and got in; was asked to take a seat, I sat. The man in the office told me how my results indicated stress but nothing alarming however he had called up his senior because there had been something interesting about them…
What do you mean interesting?
Before he could answer the question the senior had entered. I had been instantly aware of her the moment she walked into the room, she had the kind of signature scent that made a statement without saying a word, and she cut quite the imposing figure in her two-tone maxi dress… I promise I wasn’t staring or at least I tried not to.
She had shaken my hand; her grip, firm, her hand, smooth and said it was an honour to meet me… Her scent lingered on my palm, I smelt it as a brushed away beads of perspiration building on my forehead. I could feel the warmth of where her skin had touched mine.
Every time she said my name, my heart skipped a beat; maybe it’s the way she said it, and she said it like a lot; punctuating every sentence with my name. She introduced herself as the Team Leader of the Zimbabwe division of their organisation, and they happened to be hiring.
My test results had been surprisingly high, second only to hers, out of all the people who had been tested thus far. This meant I had potential to be second in command or even Team Leader as she would soon have to eventually have to leave the country to go and set up another such center in another country.
Wait, what? I needed time to process, I needed to breath, had I been holding my breath? I wanted to check up with my friends, if they had also been offered such chances..
“No they haven’t and I informed them not to wait for you as you might be here for a while” She had volunteered; well, that was thoughtful of her.
She had explained how her organisation was part of global movement vested in the business of knowing about knowing or the science of knowledge. The human mind was a phenomenal organ capable of limitless potential and they offered various courses, texts and therapy which would help one unlock their greater potential. If I took a couple of the basic short-courses I would be interned to run the executive arm of their communication branch, apparently, my evaluation scores showed that’s the hat I was suited to wear.
Of course I had to sign some confidentiality form including how the fees for the courses would be waivered on account of being staff-in-training.
What was I thinking? I wasn’t thinking really I mostly just wanted to see her again.
For the week that I took the short courses, I hardly saw her though. She was a busy woman but always stopped by for a quick chat to check how I was getting along, my thoughts about their organisation and if it all made sense. Scarily, it all made perfect sense, if you have read psychology texts you could pick up some of the psychological rhetoric like how past trauma can manifest in present and future like PTSD or even illness.
After the crash-course induction week, I had been summoned to her office for a debrief. She had told me how she had been pleased with the progress I had been making and starting the following week I would head the new crop of volunteers…
“You doubt your leadership capabilities?” she asked. She had stood up from behind her desk and come round to the front beside me, then sat on the desk facing me.
“Beaton” she said my name in that way that made me hear a thousand marching voices chanting.
“Have you ever dated someone who is difficult to reach through to but you know that once they let you past their defences they are for keeps, that’s the vibe I am picking up from you.” She had leaned in to lightly tap my shoulder for emphasis.
She was dressed impeccably as always, a veneer of barely concealed sensuality, her eyes, like twin pools that one could drown in if one stopped fighting it, and of course her signature scent, its been years but I remember it. Its true what they say, if a moment engages all your senses; sight, sound, taste and touch; it stays etched in your brain… and I think she was trying to invade mine, willing me to stop resisting.
“I need commitment from you” she pushed. I couldn’t separate if she meant professionally or otherwise or both.
Before I knew I had a pen in hand and was looking at a billion year contract to join what she had termed the most elite ranks of their organisation.
“Don’t worry the billion years is more of a symbolic pledge” she had explained from behind me where she now stood close, much too close as she read the contract from over my shoulder. As if she could read my mind she was giving a running commentary on aspects of the clauses, “Oh, that simply means etcetera…
“..about that, there is a strict dress code policy, men are required to have short crew cut hair… this will have to go..” she said wistfully running her fingers through my hair.
All along I had been free falling but suddenly I found my anchor and deal breaker…
“Let me think about this” I said handing back her pen. I excused myself and left office, then the building and never returned.
A few months later I received a letter threatening me with legal action if I did not pay up for the week of courses I had taken with them… unless I was willing to reconsider and resume my responsibilities.
I sent them their payment.