Posted on the Bathroom Mirror this Morning
"We think of it as a system," said Dr Terence Cloth, of the BMRC at the University of Minnesota. "It's a group dynamic, really. Often you'll have one family member -- you know, supposedly well -- who'll be picking a wet bathmat up of the floor three, four, five times a day. Enabling. It's sad, really -- they think they're helping, but of course they're just perpetuating the cycle."
There is hope, adds Dr Cloth. "At the Bathmat Rehabilitation Center we've had significant results from negative feedback training. What in layman's terms you might call 'whoppin 'em upside the head.'"
Researchers at the Dry Foot Clinic in New York City, however, which also treats the disease, take a different approach. According to Dr Tinea Pedis, "We're finding two lines of research promising. The fundamental theoretical problem of Bathmat Neglect is, why does it happen at all? After all, what could be easier than picking a bathmat off the floor and hanging it up? One line of research suggests that the underlying cause is a fear of completion. The patient doesn't want to admit that he's done getting ready for the day, so he puts off hanging up the mat, and puts it off, and puts it off, until he's late for work and rushes from the room -- leaving the bathmat on the floor, of course. We've developed some excellent mindfulness techniques that seem to help with this.
"The other line of research has to do with perception. Some people, we hypothesize, are so accustomed to having the mat on the floor that they quite literally don't see it. We ran an elegant little experiment in which people leaving the bathroom were interviewed about its contents: a surprising percentage showed no awareness of the bathmat at all." Her colleague, Dr Srinivas Fungal, is experimenting with helmets that force patients' heads forward, so that they look always at the floor. "So far," he admits, "patients don't seem to like to use them."