5 years ago I was struggling down Goodge Street two A2 advertising portfolios in hand. It was dark cold and raining and it was a year to the day that my Mum had died. Head down I noticed a sign. "Free stress tests" it said. I stopped to adjust my portfolios, coat and handbag. "Excuse me. You look pretty stressed. Would you like a free stress test?" said a kindly concerned voice.
I was vulnerable. It looked like a health centre. In fact, I'm not really sure what it looked like. I was an emotional wreck. I didn't care. Besides he sounded like he would help me - sort me out - give me a cup of tea. Anyway, like Hansel and Gretel, I went inside.
They sat me down and gave me electrodes to hold connected to a dial. Then they asked me to think of people in my life. First I thought of my boyfriend. The needle on the dial twitched. "Looks like there's stress there?" observed the kindly man.
"Nope I said", everything is great.
"Think of someone else", suggested the helpful man. I thought of my Dad. The needle swung to the right.
"There's a lot of stress connected to that person", said the man. "Why?"
"He's on his own. I worry he's lonely. I want him to be ok but I know he's hurting", I said.
"Think of someone else", the man said. I thought of Mum. The needle swung to the very end of the dial.
"Wow, there must be a lot of tension in this relationship", said the man.
"She's dead. She died a year ago today" I said. And then I burst into tears. And that is how Scientologists persuaded me to buy their "bible" and why 5 years on I still get text messages from Charlie at the Dianetics centre inviting me to events and to come in and talk. 5 years!!! These people do not give up. And no. I never read the book anyway. Mum's biggest fear in life was that I would join a cult. Heaven knows why. All I had to do was go to a Carol service in my college and she'd be all a tremble. So Scientologists listen up. It ain't gonna happen. Give up. Save yourself the cost of a text.