In one smooth motion, I somehow squeeze through the 2 inches of clearance between the arc of the opening door — an arc fatally abbreviated by the front edge of the toilet — and the industrial-size toilet-paper dispenser. It’s a clearance graciously provided by the building designers, presumably the better to meet regulations by squeezing one more stall into the space squeezed out of the space that has revenue-generating potential.
Am I at a sports arena? A highway rest stop? An airport? An arts or community complex? I can’t remember.
Am I in Canada? In the USofA? I forget.
In truth, commercial restrooms all look and function pretty much alike.
As I prepare to, umm, settle in, I look around to see if I’ll be holding my purse on my head, or if there’s a hook provided on the door.
Do not use the hooks on the doors in the stalls.
Thieves come along and lift off the jackets.
The cautioner is a gendarme standing at the entrance to a restroom in a French airport; the cautionee, a former colleague of mine with a perpetual twinkle and a delight in the absurdities of the world as it is.
We remove the hooks,
but the thieves, they put them back.
His Gallic shrug says it all, without a word. “What can you do?”
As I note the remnants of the hook installation in this stall, my reaction swerves erratically for just a second. I watch dispassionately to see where it will land. Irritation? Amusement? Frustration? Anger? Relief?
But changing the world’s absurdities — whether it’s poor restroom design or poor maintenance or poor behaviour — is likely beyond even my extensive powers. So as I balance my purse on my head, I shrug. Missing a Gallic flair by just a hair, I’m sure.