Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Odds are I'll walk into a women's restroom someday - Lessons from the HBLL part I

Every once in a while I have these completely irrational fears. Though my fears are hardly plausible, if they were, they would bring serious consequences.

I encountered one of these fears in the library today. Usually I use those single room, huge handicapped bathrooms. Not that I'm handicapped, but I assume that since the sign shows a person in a wheel chair, a person in a dress, and a person in pants, any of the three types of people (uhandicapped, unhandicapped-Male, and unhandicapped-female) can use the restroom with such a sign. Perhaps it just means that both male and female disabled people can use the restroom, I don't know. But that is neither here nor there. This time, however, there was a woman standing outside the restroom. Whether she was waiting for someone in the restroom or not, I don't know. I didn't want to risk embarrassment though so I aborted by course for the handicapped restroom and charted a new one. Bathrooms aren't that hard to find usually. There is something about their placement that is intuitive. Maybe the architect just walks around the plans in his mind and feels "I should put a john here," and pencils one in. Perhaps its a human intuition akin to a mother's intuition. I don't know. Water fountains are the same way. This is most likely why it is so frustrating when we are standing in a place that seems bathroom or water-fountain worthy and yet there are none in sight.

So I walked on and saw a bathroom sign on the door. I took a quick, cursory glance at the sign and started to walk in. The instant I cracked the door open, however, fear flooded my mind. This bathroom was a pastel yellow. Thoughts raced as I continued to open the door (I was committed at this point): "Aren't boys' bathrooms usually blue?" "What color are the other bathrooms on campus?" "Are girls' bathrooms yellow or pink?" This last thought threw me for a loop. The only time I could remember being in a girl's bathroom was cleaning the church years ago in Pennsylvania. How was I to know what colors girls' bathrooms were? I had very limited experience in this field. I was rather confident that the sign I had glanced at had a man on it, but then again the only difference between men and women on those signs are obtuse angels on the woman's midsection apparently representing a swallowed triangle or a dress. I've misread things or seen things incorrectly many times in life. Was this one of them?

I proceeded to open the door and began to see the edge of a person's profile. I heaved an inward sigh of relief as I noticed it was a man. Either he was a pervert or I was in the right bathroom. As I used the facilities I began to think of the statistical odds of entering the wrong bathroom. It is quite easy to misread something or to mistake one symbol for another. We use public bathrooms quite frequently. Statistically I am bound to walk in a girls' bathroom one day. I just hope it's when I'm old and I can get away with common mistakes.... and swearing.

No comments: