Thursday, May 1, 2008

Do Not Enter

Ladies, there's a big, fat, stinky difference between a handicapped parking space and a handicapped bathroom stall. An able-bodied person who parks in a handicapped parking space will receive a fine. An able-bodied woman who parks her butt on a handicapped public toilet will only receive the relief that comes with going number one or number two.

But, for some reason, there are a frightening number of woman who believe that handicapped bathroom stalls are not merely accessible to the disabled, but exclusive.

At a Philadelphia Airport women's room yesterday morning, I once again encountered this strange breed of uninformed yet overly-caring females.

As I entered the crowded ladies room and dutifully stood in line, I quickly realized that two handicapped stalls were unoccupied. In the past, I had tried to assess why.

The first time I found myself in this situation, I asked the women in front of me if they had planned on using these stalls. "Oh no," one woman said with a straight face, "they're handicapped." The second time, instead of inquiring, I suggested that the next woman in line head for the handicapped stall. My idea was met with icy stares.

Since then I've learned to keep my trap shut, bypass the line and just head for the stall with the big doors and the parallel bars. I figure if I'm going to be viewed as evil anyway, I might as well at least have an empty bladder. (The next time, I plan on giving a speech. From inside the stall. They have great acoustics, which will really enhance my oratory skills.)

I'm happy that public bathrooms are now wheelchair accessible. I can't imagine how hard life must have been for a wheelchair bound person back in the days of tiny doors. But, if they were meant solely for use by disabled people there would be a sign that says, "Handicapped Use Only. Violators Will Be Subject To A Fine."

Of course, I would never push a disabled person out of the way to use the stall but I think that goes without saying. I would also never use a handicapped toilet if a non-handicapped toilet were available. But, if I'm standing in line and there are no disabled women in sight, you'll know where to find me.


Simon Jester said...

At the Ren Faire I run, I always make sure that there's a handicap port-a-potty near the office I use. It's entirely available to the visiting public. (Has to be. Those things are too expensive for personal privilege.) But it means I never have a wait, and I get to use the cleanest facility on the site.

Michele T. said...

I so totally agree with you Traci. I don't get the stigma except wasn't there a Seinfeld episode about this years ago? Maybe people saw that and believed it.
Handicapped stalls are great for moms with small children. You can fit them in with you (I even used to get Z. in with a stroller when she was really little) instead of making them stand outside the stall and talking non-stop to them and hoping they don't bolt out of the bathroom before you've finished peeing!