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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bathroom etiquette

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Now, down to business...



When my kids were small I used the handicapped stall because, let's face it, having kids handicaps you in a unique way. There was more room in there, so I could roll the stroller right in. Often, that's where the baby changing station was anyway so I didn't feel guilty about it when I had kids.  But they're grown now, so I don't really have an excuse.

Nice girl that I am, I try to be understanding, and bathrooms are no exception. When a mom enters with a child doing the Potty Dance, I let them cut in front of me.  Heck, I've done that for adults who seem to be in more desperate need than me! I've let moms with babies take the bigger stall knowing they needed the extra room.

Awhile back I was waiting in line in a ladies room with 6-8 stalls.  You ladies know how long this can take, right?  So when the handicapped stall opened up, I took it.  No one in line behind me appeared to be disabled, infirm, or with baby, so I was safe.  When I exited, there was a lady in line in a wheel chair  giving me the stink eye for using 'her' stall.

So, was I wrong?  What's the etiquette here?  Is this the equivalent of a handicapped parking spot?  Is it strictly off limits?  If there is a disabled person 2 or 3 spots behind me, should I let them cut in line?  If so, how far back in line does this cutting privilege go?


YES, I know I'm over thinking this...but if I'm wrong I want to correct my behavior before any more stink eye is flung my way!

20 comments:

Carole Anne Carr said...

My answer would be 'stop beating yourself up', we all do things we are not happy with from time to time, but we learn to accept ourselves more fully, the older we get. Hugs and love.

Lenny said...

us guys dont have that problem. ha ha. youre a real nice person and sounds like youre always thinking about other people first. you didnt see that lady so you didnt do it on purpose. just keep being the nice lady you are.
...smiles and hugs from lenny

Jen said...

Oh my gosh we both spoke about bathroom rules today... mine was a little more of a rant than a story but I still had fun with it and I'm smiling that you and I had the same thought!!!

So regarding that issue, do not feel bad, that stall is not to remain open for someone whose handicapped and no one else can use it. You double checked to see if anyone was impaired, when you saw that you weren't you did what you should have done, moved the line along. Simple as that. Don't beat yourself up, let her give the stink eye.

Susan Fields said...

I use the handicapped stall if it's the only one open and there's no handicapped person in line, and I don't think twice about it. I've never heard about it being like a parking space, and really, all it means is that she had to wait a little longer, like all we ladies do all the time in public restrooms.

Mason Canyon said...

I'd do the same thing you did. I don't think I've ever heard or read where bathroom stalls for handicaps can't be used by everyone. Like you said, that's where the changing station is sometimes so if it was off limits could only handicap parents change diapers? You checked, no one was in line.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Here's my two cents (currently worth only one cent, due to the economic crisis): You didn't do anything wrong using the handicapped stall, since you checked the line and verified that no one needed it more than you. If the next person in line when you came out was not the wheelchair-ridden woman, but she was in the queue, then the next-in-line person would have been wrong to go in, instead of deferring the stall to Wheelchair Lady.

I had this conversation, sort of, with the kids when we were on the Metro in Paris. We took seats reserved for handicapped persons, senior citizens, disabled veterans, etc. (There was a long, comprehensive list pasted on the window.) The kids wondered if we should vacate the seats, since we didn't fall into any of the posted categories. If such a person boarded the train, I told them, we would stand immediately and offer said person our seats. But until then, why stand on a train when there were perfectly good seats available?

Same with handicap bathroom stalls -- more so, even!

Wendy Ramer said...

It is not the same as a parking spot, mostly b/c no police officer will stand outside that stall, wiat for you to exit, and give you a ticket. As for common courtesy, if there's no handicapped person in sight, I always use it. Like you said, more space. However, if a handicapped person appears while I'm in the stall, she'll have to wait a couple minutes like the rest of the world. They say they want to be treated like everyone else, and waiting to pee is part of being "normal".

Matthew Rush said...

Hmm, Jen was talking about bathrooms this morning too ... I went on a bit of a rant over there, but I'm over it now.

Candyland said...

What is it with bathrooms today?!!!

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

You so disn't deserve the stink eye. What is it with all these bathroom rules about you can't use the larger stall?

Janet Johnson said...

I always use it currently (aforementioned stroller and small children), but if there had been a handicapped person waiting, I wouldn't have used it.

In your case, I would have done the same thing . . . you looked, no one was there. We're all only human.

KarenG said...

I've often wondered that myself. I slip into these stalls since they are roomier and I always hope there's not a wheel chair bound individual desperately waiting when I get out. It hasn't happened yet to me knock on wood. I can't imagine there ever being a sign on the door or a fine for using one like a parking space. One reason is because it's a much faster stop than parking one's car and shopping.

Dawn said...

Honestly, I've gotta go, I've gotta go... Of course, if there's someone in line who clearly needs it, I'll cross my legs and wait. But almost always, the handicap stall is RIGHT near the door. If it's open, I'm using it.

aspiring_x said...

you checked. she wasn't there. it would have been rude to hold the line up when there was an empty stall. so you used it. you took the only non-rude action available. maybe she was having a bad day. (or maybe that was just the way her face is?- i don't mean it to sound mean, some people just always look angry even when they aren't)

Talli Roland said...

Is there something in the bathroom air today? Jen wrote about bathrooms today, too!

I do the same as you. If there's nobody using it, I say go for it.

Jaydee Morgan said...

Yep, don't fret the stink eye - I say that you did nothing wrong.

Tahereh said...

nah the thing is -- you CHECKED. if she wasn't there when you checked, that's not your fault. YOU ARE A GOOD PERSON.

<3 youu

Mary McDonald said...

You were fine. It's not like you dashed around her and cut her off as she was wheeling in. lol.

Lola Sharp said...

I'm with everyone else on this one...you didn't do anything wrong. Had you hesitated, the next person would have taken it, and she would have got the stink-eye.

Sometimes you just can't win for trying.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I agree with everyone...You looked around and didn't see anyone with a special need for that stall. You did the right thing... Don't worry about the lady who gave you the ugly look. She probably gets mad when they give out free samples at the grocery store and she gets a smaller piece of free pizza...