The Thinker

overcoming fear of the blank page

Often, when the world seems a bit much, I’ll go to the toilet, sit down and have a long hard think. The toilet is a great place to have a 2 minute power nap at work, or a cry, or just a quiet sit down.The Thinker,

Kansas woman Pam Babcock sat down on her boyfriend’s toilet for a quiet think two years ago, and was removed this week when her boyfriend finally called the police. New reports indicate that she may not have been sitting on the toilet the entire time, but may have actually managed to get up and bathe herself occasionally. Her boyfriend claimed that

his girlfriend moved around the bathroom, bathed and changed into fresh clothes he brought her. He claimed they had conversations and a normal relationship – except it all took place in the bathroom. (Telegraph)

After the initial report of “woman spends two years on toilet” the excitement around this story has died down and the coverage has been anything but journalistic. A satirical columnist at The Times brands Pam as the world’s first “half woman, half toilet”. Commenting on a woman’s apparent prerogative to be irrational he asserts that “it is every woman’s very real right to become a woman-toilet hybrid creature if she so wishes”. (The Times) Clearly, a person doesn’t just confine herself to the toilet because she is a woman; this is a case of mental illness or trauma.

It’s still unclear at this stage if her boyfriend will be charged.

Woman at Her Toilet, Henri de Toulouse-LautrecIn the meantime, I really feel for Pam. When I’ve been especially hungover, I find the comforting allure of all that clean porcelain and soft tissue paper utterly irresistible. At my previous place of employment, a woman from the floor below would retire to the ladies toilet twice hourly to have a good sob (I found out afterwards that she’d just had a bad breakup), which was occasionally disconcerting if you were in the cubicle next door.

I don’t (believe I) suffer from any sort of mental illness myself, but I can totally sympathise with someone finding very real refuge in a toilet. I only hope that she and her boyfriend get the care they obviously need.

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Nat Newman

Nat Newman is an award-winning writer of short stories, content, podcasts, feature articles, drunk text messages and, soon, a novella.


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