Clouds & Minestrone.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
I'm not a fan of public restrooms. Something about them just screams at me, "Germs! EVERYWHERE! Don't touch ANYthing. Don't even breathe!" Outside, I'm not by any means a germophobe (I've even been known to occasionally subscribe to the 5-second rule), but inside the den of fecal microbes, I'm like pre-vacation Bob.
Still, if one is to leave one's house for any significant length of time, there will be moments when one must rely on the restrooms of strangers. Unfortunately, the issue of equality for women has not trickled down to public lavatories. Given a similarly equipped men's room and ladies' room, the men will enter and leave with ease while the women do the pee-pee dance in a 45 minute line.
Having reached the end of such a line once, I recall hearing the complaints of a woman who was obviously the caretaker of a mentally handicapped (challenged? retarded? what's PC here?) middle-aged woman. The caretakee was not wheelchair-bound, but was obviously unable to care for herself, which likely required the use of a larger stall.
Fortunately (or at least thanks to the ADA), there was a stall reserved for handicapped lavatory users. Unfortunately, it was in use by a presumably non-handicapped person.
The caretaker was complaining loudly, under the guise of speaking to her charge, "Yes, Milicent. I know, it's TERRIBLE when people use the special stall! They're just BAD people who don't care about others! It's not right that they use the handicapped bathroom when they're not handicapped!"
Here are my thoughts on the situation:
Is a handicapped restroom stall like a handicapped parking place? Should one avoid the stall at all times, even during times of heavy bathroom use? Should the stall remain open and clear for any handicapped people that might want to use it? Should handicapped people - be they wheelchair bound or otherwise - automatically get a free pass to skip the line and use the bathroom set aside for them?
Or is it just a stall that can accommodate them, but can also accommodate anyone who waits in line for it?
Am I just a callous person for even pondering the issue?
posted by hilary at 1:57 PM |
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