Today I'm writing about toilets.
It's a secret that I don't want to let out but we, disabled people, can be a little obsessed about toilets. Sitting outside a long line of toilets, empty, the only accessible one being used by someone sitting on the toilet texting or talking. Trying to use an accessible toilet before taking a flight and having it almost always being used by someone who works at the airport, relaxing in there while on break. Coming into an accessible stall and finding the seat completely covered by someone's urine. Once, at a movie theatre, the toilet seat was covered in blood. Toilets are a bit deal.
As I speak in a lot of convention centers or a lot of hotels, I have 'toilet' experiences a lot. Joe hates it when I have to go to the toilet. He has to come with me, wait with me, with men coming in and out, often looking at us oddly as if they can't see the guy in the wheelchair sitting outside the wheelchair stall and figure out why I'm waiting. I need Joe there because I won't leave my wheelchair unattended. Long time readers will remember when I had my wheelchair stolen from the door of an airplane - I don't trust anyone anymore when it comes to my chair. I want him to stand guard or I am simply to anxious to ... well, that may be too much information.
People who would never park in a disabled parking space have no problem in parking their butt on a toilet in an accessible stall and doing a crossword, making a call, reading a paper, and, surprisingly common, sneaking a smoke. The movie theatre I often go to has 9 stalls for regular folk and 1 for people with disabilities. Mine is always full, the others always empty. Go figure.
But I didn't write this to complain.
The last few days I've been doing a series of classes on dealing with problem behaviour (by the way for readers in the Toronto Area, I'm doing this again this summer for YSBMS in Barrie ... my tenth, and last, Behaviour Summer School for them. So if you want to come this summer call Patty at 705-728-9143). Anyways, after that little advert, at breaks I head out to the accessible washroom, blue badge guy and all on the door, and it's never once been taken. All of those in the class, and all of those in the church, walk a little further down and go to the washrooms provided for y'all.
It's not nice because I feel special and I get to go to the washroom without waiting, though that is nice, it's nice because people are leaving it free for the purpose it was designed for. Architects and building planners can only provide the space, people have to use it properly. I have to say that this is the first time, ever, I've been in a building with lots of people in it and the accessible washroom is used only by those who need it - all others go to the regular spot.
It's weird to write a whole blog about a toilet.
It's even weirder to feel really grateful that I don't have to sit outside a stall waiting for someone to think of a seven letter word for 'jerk,' or text a message to a friend about cancelling an activity because it's pissing down rain.