02 August 2009

Public Restrooms

Some thoughts from last summer's vacation...

After spending 5 days in New York City I have come to the following conclusions about public restrooms.
1. There will always be a line in the women’s restroom. I have long claimed this to be one of the Grand Laws of the Universe. Much like gravity, the line in the women’s restroom will always exist. It’s not always a long line, but it is always there.
2. I have never ever ever seen a baby changing table used for changing a baby. I’m sure it’s happened, and I’m sure that someday I will be the one using it for said purpose. But to this point in my life I have never witnessed the changing table being used as it was intended.
3. I strongly prefer paper towels to hand dryers. Despite this preference my environmentalist friends still like me. This makes me happy.
4. There is not a preponderance of public restrooms in New York City. The potential for problems is alleviated by the fact that drinking fountains are also severely limited.
5. An airport will never be a convenient place to use the restroom. Since “the current security threat level is orange,” and no one would ever think of leaving their luggage unattended at any time, many rolling suitcases find their way into the confines of a public restroom that is already overcrowded by the ever-present line (see #1) Getting into the restroom requires successful completion of a rather complicated obstacle course. Exiting the restroom requires feats of agility and strength known only to the most adept escape artists. In spite of the best coaxing suitcases and stall doors do not play well with each other. No matter how you try to rearrange things the suitcase will insist on being in the way and the stall door will refuse to completely open. You will get caught in the middle of the ensuing struggle.
I don’t think I will ever walk into an airport and hear an announcement that says, “May I have your attention please. There is currently no security threat level. Please feel free to leave your baggage unattended wherever you would like. Thank you.” Since this will never happen I think that they should just make the stalls in airports large enough to accommodate a person and a suitcase. Or at least change the doors so that they open out.

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