Something strange happened on our trip to Halifax. It's taken a couple of days, but I've decided to write about it. That day's drive began in Bangor and would end, according to Ted, our GPS, seven and a half hours later. In northern Maine, things slowed down, a blizzard hit. The speed limit was 75 mph but we barely went 40. We saw our arrival time get later, then later, then later again. By the time we reached the border, we were both exhausted from the tension of driving in those conditions. But, with the only option being onwards, onwards we went.
We approached Moncton both desperately needed to 'make use of the facilities'. Ted had been set to take us to a mall there and when we saw it we were relieved that we were near being relieved. Joe pulled up beside the mall's entrance, unclamped my chair, slid out the ramp and then watched me come down safely. I headed into the entrance of the mall and waited for Joe to park. Together again we found a directory, found where the washrooms were and headed off.
I noted to Joe that a benefit of being a wheelchair user is that I didn't have to 'walk funny' anymore when I really had to go. Because if I was walking, I'd announce that I had to pee with every awkward step. I didn't say that I noticed that his knees were rubbing as he quickly walked beside me. We saw the washroom in the distance and almost cried out in excitement.
Here's the strange part.
We went into the washroom and they had, I think, three stalls right at the entrance, the urinals were further in, and the disabled loo was at the far end, set off by itself. There was a line up of men for the other toilets but the disabled one was completely free. It wasn't in use. I knew I would be thankful and thrilled once I had the capacity to feel anything but the 'need.' I was out of my chair and then into the stall. As I was getting back into my chair, which was in the stall with me, this loo being properly constructed, I heard Joe tell a fellow that there was someone in the stall.
I hurried to vacate the stall, I opened the door and saw the smiling face of another wheelchair user, waiting for the stall. There was still a fair line up of some for the other stalls, and even so, none of the men had come over to line up for the one I'd just used. It was clearly like they saw it as for disabled patrons and was leaving it just so. They had several options and not a long wait, the were just using those options.
We had a bite to eat there before leaving and I noted that there were a fair number of people who used a wide variety of mobility devises. I wondered if I'd just run into a number of really polite men, or if this was the norm in that mall. But whatever, I can say that until Moncton, I'd never, ever been in a large public washroom where the disabled loo was treated the same as disabled parking.
On a day where having to pee had filled my conciousness \(if you are under 60 you may not understand this), I needed that stall so badly, I want to thank the men of Moncton for their toileting skills!