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Wednesday, Sept. 03, 2003 | link
There was this article that I read on the sadly now-defunct Chick Click way back in like 1998 that still comes back to me with surprising frequency: It was a diatribe from a woman in a wheelchair, about how the handicap stall was NOT, contrary to the habits and beliefs of all the vertically mobile girls, the specially designated shitting zone.
Ever since then, I've noticed the truth of that article over and over again. So weird. What is it with the scatting in the handicap stall? Is it that we believe its relatively palatial proportions will absorb whatever offensive sounds and smells we manufacture? Or is it the reduced traffic that appeals to us, lessening the chances that we'll be rushed, or interrupted, or run into someone as we leave, someone who might blame and shame us for whatever lingering surprises we leave behind (or worse, blame us for the previous occupant's work)? Or maybe it's the handlebars? To help with the straining?
Or maybably, deep down shitting makes us feel vulnerable, and we need the quiet, private, tucked-awayness of the handicap stall to feel safe. We are such animals.
Another thing I've been noticing about public bathrooms (where, clearly, I now spend 87% of my time) is a proliferation of defunct toilet-paper and seat-cover dispensers. I guess the bathroom paper supply business is a pretty shaky one because those companies seem to go under with alarming regularity. And when the properly configured paper products suddenly cease to be available, the public bathroom overlords are forced to switch brands and install an all-new setup. But why keep the old dispenser? Lying fallow there, right next to the new and improved dispenser, for me to claw at fruitlessly until I tumble to the upgrade? Maybe they're hoping that when the new bathroom paper supply company goes out of business, the next company's refills will fit one of the increasing number of artifact dispensers. Or maybe they simply can't find matching tiles to fill in the hole left by the torn-out toilet-paper dinosaur?
I'll keep thinking.