Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Mental as anything

Patrick Jane is mine. Hands off, all you other sad and lonely women who live for Monday nights. The Mentalist is a perplexing hit and I, with direct access to its star, understand why. Australian Simon Baker plays Patrick Jane, a fake psychic with a tragic past seeking redemption by helping hapless cops find the killer. Jane is able to 'intuit' what's happened by making a series of observations and engaging in some pretty basic pop-psychology.

The reason he's so popular? Are you kidding? He is gorgeous, smart, damaged, cocky, vulnerable....everything women look for in men. But more than that, he is knowing. He knows people. He looks right into their eyes and tells them truths about themselves. Every Monday night I wait for him to turn and see me through the tv screen and 'know' me.

"Sacha, you're struggling to understand why your life has taken an unexpected turn. You're a disappointment to yourself having failed to achieve anything much of note and you're longing to get a second chance to use your talents for a greater purpose. You adore your husband and family but would run away with me if only I said the word."

Well, of course I wouldn't. But you couldn't blame him for asking. John Eales used to regularly appear in my dreams begging to marry me, and George Gregan also carried a torch for me during REM but once I met C these subconscious fantasies subsided.

What is it about us that longs to be known without the effort of communication? Like most women I wish the men in my life just 'knew' what I needed at any given moment. How hard can it be, right? Am spewing, need lemonade. Am lying in bed, need cold flannel and hand holding. Am gorgeous, need telling so. We expect that these things are so self-evident they don't need communication and that if men had any respect, love, or hope of sex, they'd get these simple things right.

Which is why we love Patrick Jane. Whenever C offers to do whatever I need, if I'll only ask, he makes the comment 'I'm not a mind-reader' whereas Patrick would never say that, because of course he is. A mind-reader.

And it's not just husbands and partners who suffer from lack of insight disease. My Dad, so wise about so many matters, was particularly slow to realise that one of his parenting stratagems was never going to work. K and I used to get rides to school with Dad and dread them. "So Sach," he'd say, trying desperately for a casual tone, "How is your soul? Talk to me darling, open up." Yip, that's going to happen. Better chance of Bishop Tamaki steering his Harley Davidson collection through the eye of his own diamond-crusted needle.

This criticism, or insight as I prefer to label it, of men who don't 'know' stuff is for the most part completely unfounded. The desire for Patrick Jane to see into my heart of hearts is a school girl selfish indulgence. Why should another person anticipate our every need if we are incapable of expressing it ourselves, as in words actually said out loud to the exact human being we wish would fill that need?

Each time I hear myself saying to a girlfriend 'oh I wish C would just....' I ask myself if I've given him the courtesy of telling him first. And then I challenge myself to add up the number of his needs I've 'intuited' or 'known without asking' in the last week.

The principle works exactly the same with the fantastic team I work with. Sometimes I get frustrated that someone isn't doing something exactly the way I had envisaged it would be done - but if I hadn't bothered to communicate that, discuss it, negotiate it, and agree it, where do I get off being bothered that it's not to my liking?

Patrick Jane is perfect for Monday nights on the post-chemo couch. But we live in a world where everything doesn't get nicely wrapped up in 48 minutes. It is lovely when an unexpressed need or desire is met unexpectedly by people we love, who love us. But going mental when it doesn't happen is dumb. If you want to win lotto, at the very least you have to buy a ticket. And hope that Patrick turns up in your dreams to tell you the winning numbers before you do.


Sandra said...

I laughed outloud when I read the bit about your Dad in the car, because I could hear his exact tone of voice and how he would have said it!
Life on a small rock in the middle of the Pacific means I have no idea who Patrick Jane is, but I must google him:-)

Hariette Jansen said...

Normally I don't get quickly into movie stars, but Patrick Jane is one hotty at the moment. I already knew him from previous serious him being a lawyer.
I share you feelings!
Also I am sorry that you have to be so sick all the time, but memory is an important game!!
Thinking of you a lot.

Hariette Jansen said...

Sorry typing error serious = series

Kyla said...

I think you do have psychic powers because just last night I was saying to PRM in a really whiny voice 'you should know what I need right now' but of course he very gently reminded me that I do have to tell him. Now, I can tell him that it must a genetic thing but not to worry because my wise and beautiful sister has also reminded me to get a grip.

John said...

Hi Poppy..'watz up'
After all these years I have decided to move on from the 70's. I love you.