I have a spare-therapist

Last night I was at Book Slam, where I sat between a woman who was the doppelganger of my therapist (which was both comforting and disconcerting, and made it difficult to stop staring at her) and my housemate. One of the many excellent things about Book Slam is that they give you bar/toilet breaks between each performance. I don’t mean to sound self-centred, but it really is perfectly designed for me.

‘OK,’ I said, as Simon Armitage left the stage to thunderous applause. ‘If you go to the bar, I’ll pop to the loo, and we’ll meet back here.’ ‘But I need the loo too,’ My housemate complained. She looked at me warningly as I leaned towards my spare-therapist (total stranger who had the misfortune to be sharing our table) to ask her to go to the bar. ‘OK,’ I grumbled. ‘We can go to the loo together.’

I would now like to briefly explain the layout of our flat. You enter by the front door (I know, we’re boringly conformist. But when I get rich I’m making myself a pirate bed, so there’s still hope), and straight ahead is the living room. If you turn right you pass the shower, then the kitchen, and then the toilet.

The bedrooms are on the left- though calling my little sister’s room a ‘bedroom’ suggests she keeps it in a state fit for human habitation, rather than as a perfect replica of a crack den. It is not a large flat (though, luckily, my bedroom is), but the acoustics are such that it is moderately difficult to hear people unless you are in the same room as them. Or, as we quickly discovered, you wee with the loo door open. (Our flat can be quickly defined by its occupants’ most prominent features- an endless supply of wine, a penchant for inappropriate jokes, and a terrible fear of missing out).

‘I’m so pleased I got to hear Simon Armitage live,’ My housemate said happily as we popped to the loo.

‘You know his poem, ‘Poem’?’ ‘Yes,’ I replied, undoing my belt in preparation for my wee. ‘Well, I think about it a lot,’ My housemate continued. She then launched into an excellently intimate and well-thought out discussion of how she has used this poem when faced with difficult patients. ‘Everyone has a right to life, She declaimed loudly as we entered the toilet. To be greeted by the startled face of a fellow loo-goer, who was not expecting two, variously dressed women to burst into the public toilet, apparently discussing abortion.

‘It is possible,’ I mused to my housemate as we left the toilet hurriedly. ‘That we need to work on boundaries. At least, I’m pretty sure that’s what my actual therapist would say.’ We headed back to our table, where my housemate hastily prevented me from asking the stranger I had appropriated as my spare-therapist what she thought.


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