Structural Impossibilities


July 11, 2014

Structural Impossibilities

This is the fourth week I have been on the road this summer. I am more than ready to return home. The kids are worn out, camp doesn’t seem so fun right now, and I need my own kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, eating out can be kind of fun – at first. Now, I am stretching my waistbands to the limit, gulping down the pink acid-reducer pills, and ordering salads. When visiting it seems that we automatically create visiting opportunities around food.

I have enjoyed every minute of the visits but that is not the reason I write this missive. No, I write to say that in the process of visiting my relatives and friends, not only have I encountered too much food, I have also encountered many restaurant, airport, and rest stop bathrooms. First of all, I am absolutely thankful for each and every bathroom I find along my route. There are times, I pray for a bathroom to magically appear at the side of the road.

However, I am a little perplexed about the construction of these bathrooms. I know they are public and so the expense needs to be contained, but still and all, a fully mature woman needs to be able to actually get into the stall to take care of business – if you know what I mean.

One of my pet peeves is the lack of hooks. Men might not understand this as they don’t usually haul around purses and diaper bags, but a woman needs a hook. It can be on the back of the door, on the side, or even on the back wall somewhere. But a hook is a necessity.

Here is the absolute truth. Most stalls are door-width from front to back and then the dang door opens to the inside. I suppose it is some kind of unwritten rule that the door must brush against the front of the toilet seat creating a zero space environment in which to operate a very hurried business.

Sometimes, I have to push the door up against the toilet paper holders (another story entirely!) and back my way in. I cautiously edge inside and try to turn but my leg is caught between the toilet paper holder and the front of the pot. Gradually, I make my way to the front of the pot, turn, force my leg between the door and pot, then straddle-walk backwards until my rear bumps into the back wall. Then, and only then, can I scrape the door back across the front of the toilet and latch it shut. I lift my purse to get it out of the way and see a ragged hole in the door at eye level. NO HOOK! It is difficult enough to sit down in a stall that is tighter than an MRI machine but to hold onto my purse at the same time is almost criminal.

With my knees up against the door – and I am very short – I don’t really have a place for my purse except on the floor and I can’t lean over to place it there or I will bump my head. So, I gently thread the purse through my knees and lower it inch by inch until it touches. I take care of my business and then reverse the process.

Even then I have to be really careful because trying to get out is just as difficult as getting in. To be fair, I can see where a hook might NOT be the best accessory for an MRI stall because when one straightens after flushing, the hook could accidentally jam into the back of the head causing extreme word usage and frustration.

Often stalls are good sized but have other problems. When the larger-sized ones don’t have operating closures it is impossible to slip a toe under the door to keep it closed and a patron can actually – GASP – wish for one of those smaller stalls. Other times I have been in bigger stalls only to have the toilet paper dispensers so far behind me that I caused the automatic flusher to go off several times while trying to grab the loose end of the paper.

In the larger scheme of things, these are but small complaints.

When all is said and done, I have learned some new variations of particular words and the idea of “close reading” takes on a new meaning.

Happy Summer! Be safe Traveling!

About Fawn Musick

Writings to make you Smile and Think. Fawn is an award winning newspaper columnist. She is an avid writer, blogger, and mom. Her advice comes from her years of mothering her eight children.
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