Saturday, October 25, 2008

To the Loo!

Nick’s goal is to venture out into the world and return home without ever having to use a public restroom. I, on the other hand, thanks to my miniscule bladder, have visited every bathroom from here to Miami. Public restroom facilities vary greatly. The bathroom at Nordstrom at Tyson’s Corner, Virginia wins top honors. First you enter a sitting room which could easily pass for a very elegant parlor. The comfortable furniture and soft lighting invites you to rest awhile, maybe reconsidering that sweater you saw on sale, or plan your strategy for your shopping day. As you enter the inner chamber, the usual metal stalls and stark lighting are absent. Each toilet is completely enclosed in its own closet with its own sink. This lovely loo sets the standard by which I measure all public bathrooms. Regrettably, I have never had the pleasure of visiting another one like the one at Nordstrom.

Let me take my soapbox for a moment. I wish I knew who designed the typical public bathroom because I would like to slap his face. And yes, I am sure a man designed it because no woman would have thought that we should take care of the most personal of business with partitions that don’t reach the floor and doors with cracks the size of a Buick. At least we have stalls; some men’s rooms have urinals that look like drainage ditches with no partitions at all. I am a very private person, okay, I’m a prude, but I see nothing wrong with a little modesty. I refuse to accept the belief that because I choose not to parade around naked in the gym I have hang ups. Who decides this standard of behavior, anyway?

Now that we’ve cleared that up, I can continue. Last week we were traveling on Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park. We had packed lunch and ate at one of the picnic sites. Here’s a picture of the outhouse I had to use. As far as outhouses go, it wasn’t too bad, definitely better than risking a tick bite on the hiney! The worst part was seeing the brand new modern restrooms that were not yet open! Also during our vacation, I found the worst bathroom I have ever visited. This one was at the Shenandoah Heritage Market. The aqua green wooden partitions were very short, so short that the toilet seats were visible. So I guess the idea is someone might see your hiney, but at least your face is hidden. EWWWW!

My other pet peeve about bathrooms is the new toilet paper holders. These are seldom installed in a convenient spot. Many times I feel like a contortionist while trying to reach the paper, and then it usually comes off the roll in one or two sheet sections. How I miss the old fashioned toilet paper rollers! At one time or another we all must visit a public loo. I suggest not patronizing businesses that do not provide adequate facilities, but sometimes, when you have to go, you have to go!