Our roads are crumbling, people are concerned about their safety from terrorist attacks or crazed people with guns, our weather has been acting unpredictably, our food is laden with questionable stuff, the environment is compromised, we all still can’t afford health care and college, and Americans are mad at our politicians in Washington and their own states. Yet what are we talking about? Bathrooms. Are you kidding me?
I expect this to be a major topic of conversation with my grandchildren, not our politicians. Children are fascinated with all the fun playthings in bathrooms like the water, the ability to flush things away, and the process in general, but why, I ask, is the focus of some legislatures literally in the toilet?
As you all know, I have a lot of opinions on public bathrooms. In fact, I judge them using a detailed point system I invented. (Each item is weighed equally for simplicity.)
- Cleanliness- Nothing is ickier and more disgusting than a dirty bathroom.
- Neatness- As we know, a bathroom can be filled with an overflowing wastebasket of paper towels, yet still be clean.
- Pocketbook hanger. How annoying it is to close the door to the bathroom stall to discover there is no hook from which to hang one’s purse.? Doing one’s business while hovering over the toilet and holding a pocketbook is a challenge.
- Filled Soap Dispenser- It is never enough to wash one’s hands in a bathroom with only water. We must have our soap. Also, one must wash long enough to sing the ABC song to be clean.
- Clean changing table with garbage container nearby. When changing our precious cargo, do we want to expose them to ick, and then have no place nearby to toss the dirty diaper?
- Plenty of paper towels. I used to think that having the super duper dryer, also known as the Vortex, was the best, until my friend, Mary, explained that they spread far more germs than paper towels. A study by the Mayo Clinic says paper, blowers and the ever-so-gross towel-on-a-roll all are equal in drying your hands and staying germ-free. I never knew this was a controversy, so given the choice, I say choose paper.
- Doors that open out. Who wants to wash their hands while singing the ABC song, dry them on paper towels, and then have to touch a germ-infested door handle?
- Locks, Locks, Locks. Having a door with no lock is awkward. End of discussion.
- Room to spread out, particularly at airports. Newark Airport scores a zero here as compared with Columbia and Charlotte, where there is plenty of room to maneuver my suitcase and me. And in Charlotte, there is a nice lady dispensing mints and a friendly “have a nice day!”
- A tight door. This is crucial and, according to Casey, having a large door gap, where people can theoretically “peek while I take a leak”, is worse than having a LGBT person in the Ladies Room, and I must agree. This is an obvious no brainer!
So my all-time favorite bathroom is located at the North Charleston outlets. Not only do they score a perfect “10,” but they also score two more points. First, because they have a roomy handy dandy shelf behind the toilet to store my packages, and second, there is a private area with rocking chairs for nursing mothers. How thoughtful!
The bathrooms in London and Paris had full length doors (no gap at all) with an indicator on the knob so you do not need to bend over and twist your head to see if the stall is occupied. And the bathrooms on the streets of Paris get cleaned after each use. How cool is that?
So there you have it. My ten-point rankings of public bathrooms. That should be it, but it’s not because bathrooms have gotten political. This is nuts!
It started in North Carolina, when the governor signed the bill to require their restrooms be used only by people whose biological sex at birth matches the sign on the door. That leads to the question by everyone: “What’s your plan, Governor?”
Is this his answer to unemployment—bathroom police? Will the police be receiving a rash of complaints from individuals who were just trying to tinkle and then approached by fellow tinklers, who question whether they should be in “the other room?”
What are the determining factors: too tall, too manly looking, not enough muscles, a mustache on Grandma, hair too short, hair too long? How does it go down? Does the accuser quietly step outside and report to the “pee police,” and does that mean that we must all carry papers to prove we are where we should be? I see the potential for lots of punches in the face.
This sounds like the world Grandpa lived in when he was a young man in Russia, and he was required to carry papers to prove he was in the correct place. And this is why his sister was ultimately imprisoned, where she ultimately died, because she didn’t have her papers.
We can make jokes, and get offended or mad, or for some people, feel happy. But is this really the USA we really want to live in now? This is a very slippery slope. I hope it stops.