From My Ivory Stall

Pardon me for taking this conversation back to the toilet.  Ever since I wrote that post about accidentally using a public men’s room, I’ve been much, much more observant, probably a severe case of PMRS–Post Men’s Room Syndrome.

To reiterate, please understand that I did not walk into a single-toilet men’s room where I could lock the door and no one would be the wiser.   Nope, I breezed into a large restroom and marched into a stall without so much as a glance around me.  I had no clue that I was in the wrong place until I walked out to see three men standing in front of urinals.  Gave a very literal meaning to the phrase, “standing around with his dick in his hand.”

Now that I’ve become preoccupied with public restrooms beyond whether or not they’re clean and their toilet tissue is recycled sandpaper.   For instance, the neighborhood pub where my Dearly Beloved and I go for fish and chips has three bathrooms in a row– Men, Women, Unisex.   We’d never noticed that Unisex option before.  It’s obvious why it’s there: for overflow, so to speak, not to mention that no one has to certify their sexual orientation.

I had another unusual restroom experience recently, on our last return trip from Atlanta.  I was washing my hands in a ladies’ room when a white-haired woman of soft voice and gentle face peeked in and asked was the handicap stall empty.   It was.

She explained that she needed that one because she had to bring her husband in so that she could help him.   A  tall, frail, elderly gentleman waited just outside the door.  Of course  I knew that mothers take their sons into the Ladies’ Room, but I’d never considered that help may be needed at the other end of the life cycle.  Bathroom designers must not have, either, coming up with stalls so small that anyone of ample proportion may need to back in.

Image 1  (No wide stances, Joe Bender!)

Remember pay toilets and the terror when you didn’t have a dime or later, a quarter, before the days of change machines?   I’ve read that by 1970,  America had over 50,000 pay toilets.  Ten years and some lawsuits later, there were almost none.  However, just last year a a system in Midtown NY offered– for a membership fee and $24–a three-day pass to clean restrooms.

Talk about a stinky deal!

Ever been to a locked restroom in an establishment where the key had to be requested from the cashier at the front counter. . . and it was handed to you attached to a broom handle or yardstick so that you had to walk to the back of the store carrying the monstrosity?   Oh yeah, good times!

Rest areas along Interstate Highways in our area don’t have Unisex bathrooms, but they usually do have offer roomy stalls.  The nice ones have staff to keep them clean and safe.  That makes them a target of legislative budget cuts.

You’d think that a post about toilets would surely have an end.  This one doesn’t.  What do you think?  The public restroom situation could use a good cleanup, but I don’t have any answers.  Do you?  Think on it and then, as the sign on the inside door of a bathroom stall advises. . .  Rise, go forth, and conquer. 

  • You know an odd feeling? Sitting on the toilet eating a chocolate candy bar. – George Carlin
  • It’s not hard to tell we was poor – when you saw the toilet paper dryin’ on the clothesline.
    George Lindsey

Whack the Hack!

The year is not even half over and there is a four-letter word ending in -ck that is about to push me over the edge.

No, not the F-bomb. People wouldn’t even be able to communicate without that one any longer.  It’s decidedly imprecise, like an effin’ car that won’t start.  What IS an “effin’ car?”  Or even “WTF.”  WTF does that even mean?!  Colorful, creative cussing has been replaced with a single, boring word.

Well, poot!  (that one is a favorite of my friend Dirtwoman, who doesn’t seem to have succumbed. )

But I’ve digressed.   H-a-c-k is showing up everywhere, replacing some much softer and more accurate words.  Remember when “runway” was where a plane sat, until until some British reporter used tarmac and every American reporter swooned?  There’s nothing wrong with tarmac; it was simply the speed at which it took over which surprised me.   These days, the only thing a runway is good for is modeling clothes.

Sheesh!  I’ve digressed again.  Perhaps my brain waves have been hacked.

Hack has a negative connotation to me.  If a surgeon does a hack job in removing a tumor, one thinks malpractice. When a cat hacks up a hairball, who wants to keep it around?  If a stylist hacks up one’s hair, there goes the tip.  There are dozens of other uses, involving axes, hoes, horses, cab drivers, computers, sports penalties, shin kicking. . ..   And we’re supposed to switch gears and embrace that?

How did this happen so fast?  Who made that decree?!  It’s an invasion of the body hackers!

Life Hacks, Household Hacks, Gardening Hacks?  Really?   I’d prefer mine in HINT form, thank you.  Any other way is a hairball.


To Pee Or Not To Pee

The City Council here had a policy discussion on gay rights last month and much of the ensuing kerfuffle centered around bathrooms and whether or not an individual had the right to use the bathroom of one’s sexual identification rather than the bathroom of one’s genitalia.    Eventually, they took bathrooms out of the discussion. . . then decided to vote down the whole proposal anyway.

I’m perplexed as to why a person chooses to vote against someone solely because of their sexual orientation.  I’m for putting equality on the front burner and leaving sex to simmer in private on a back burner.   My gaydar antenna is still in the original wrappings.  I don’t care whose team a person plays on–just make the rules fair for everyone.

As for the bathroom issue, I admit that I’d be taken aback if Bruce Jenner walked into the Cracker Barrel bathroom right behind me, but at the same time, I don’t think someone should have to drop their drawers to prove where they’re allowed to pee.  Just make sure the bathroom is clean.

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, my Dearly Beloved and I enjoy going places together, but we have different ideas about the road trip.  While I’m for stopping at interesting places (okay, they usually involve shopping) along the way, he points a laser beam to his destination and would prefer not to stop for anything.   I like to wait and buy gas in South Carolina, where it’s about 20 cents a gallon cheaper.  He fills the tank here the day before we leave and it’s fine with him if we reach our destination on fumes.

He does, however, know that bathroom stops trump everything.  In fact, he even asks me, “Do you need to go to the bathroom or should I keep going?”  because parts of our trips often go through No-Bathrooms Land.

During a pit stop on a trip a couple of months ago, Dearly Beloved pumped gas at one of those Gas/Fast Food/Junk stations along I-85 while I went inside to use the ladies room.  I walked in and headed into a stall like I always do, used the toilet, and walked out.

It was like I’d entered The Twilight Zone.  Although I don’t recall anyone else being in there when I went in, there were FOUR MEN using urinals went I walked out.  I was flabbergasted, but it was minimal compared with the stunned expression on their faces.  They froze.

How had I managed to overlook the Men’s Room sign on the door and the urinals on the wall on my way in?   If I could miss all that, might I have been so intent on my mission that I overlooked a guy or two standing around?   For all I know, Bruce Jenner might have been in there.

I didn’t look up and I certainly didn’t look down.  Nothing for me to do except say, “Pardon me!” and get the hell out of there.  I didn’t even stop to wash my hands.

So. . . I’m not about to attempt to solve the problem of who gets to use which bathroom, but other people have much interest.   I understand that some states are working on laws to ban transgender folks from using the bathroom of the sex they identify with.   Might I have been arrested for an Oops?

I did learn one thing from the experience:  If unisex bathrooms ever become commonplace. . .  as long as they’re clean, I may not even notice.

k6319110 slide_280979_2110572_free






Get A Room!

When my friend Beanie took two of her grandchildren to the Washington Zoo in the fall, she was expecting that she might hear questions from them about some of the 1800 animals in the zoo.

But she WASN’T expecting to run into this Aldabra tortoise scene right by the entrance.

Get a room?  I carry it with me!

Hard to tell him to get a room when he already has a house on his back.

Looks like that makes her a two-story.

(Many thanks to Beanie for the picture.)


As The Worms Turn

Okay, I know I’m being lazy here, but I’ll bet that some of you probably know the answer to this without my having to interrupt my Netflix movie .

My Memphis Friend, DirtWoman, asked me a question, not that she’s expecting an answer from me.  But maybe you know.  Why, after a heavy rain, does she find earthworms all over her garage floor?  She says there are two dozen or so where the garage door comes down and many more in deeper parts of the garage.  She feels that there is no way they can wash in there, with all the brick edging, walls, doors, thresholds, gaskets, etc.

We’ve had heavy rains, too,  but haven’t seen any earthworms in our garage.  I do see them on sidewalks after a rain, but that’s easier to understand.  Of course, I have our garage so full of junk that even a blind earthworm might seek neater quarters.

Now a silly question from me. . . .

Does anyone else read Brooke McEldowney’s comic strips?

Even though I don’t always understand them, I am fascinated by the way this man’s mind works.  Yes, MAN, although I thought woman for a long time.  He writes two strips, quite different, with brilliant artwork in both.  I’ve been wanting to mention them to you, but when there is a continuing story line, one can’t just start in the middle.   Pibgorn, for instance,  retold Romeo and Juliet in absolutely charming, non-traditional drawings several months ago.  Other times, always on a weekend, the cartoonist may come up with a single thought, without a drawing at all.  It’ll be a zinger, frequently religious or political,  always clever.

Then there is the always fun at 9 Chickweed Lane, the sassiest address in the comic world.  The strip has just enough different characters to sometimes confuse me about the relationships, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying it.  There have been stories about double agents having affairs, a pretty young vet stealing mistreated cows and starting an affair with her Scandinavian handyman right there in the barnyard.  The romance angle continued long after the cow issue was resolved.  There are ongoing panels about a hot-blooded couple who are often in concert.

I’ve never seen either of these strips in a newspaper and I’m sure the papers that do carry them get letters, but the cartoonist has won multiple awards and his drawings are perfection.  The artwork is what drew me to the strips in the first place.  I read them on go

Reading online comments about comic strips is like turning over a rock;  Lunatics Anonymous lurk there, waiting for the next panel to appear.  (That’s odd, because blog commenters are almost always lucid and delightful.  Seriously.)   Anyway, Mr. McEldowney  disallows comments on either of his strips.  If you don’t like ’em, don’t read ’em.  I like his logic.

His comic strips may not win you over, but give them a few days to see if they grow on you.  I suspect you’ll love them or hate them–nothing in between.   As for me, I find that a  little chuckle every morning is a very good thing.

Heh, heh.







Temporary Insanity

Last week the weather forecasters in our neck of the woods predicted that we would be getting T-E-N inches of snow.  Ten inches of snow in this part of North Carolina has lower odds than a $10,000 scratch-off lottery ticket.

The city sent out a letter letting us know that they were slagging streets, salting sidewalks, putting transit personnel on 12-hour shifts, and advising us to prepare to hunker down.  Schools were closed before the first flake fell.

I went about my hunkering preparations by making sure there was plenty of wine, toilet paper, and bread.  Yup.  We were good to go stay.

Then I looked outside at our tacky assortment of suet holders and bird feeders.  Practically empty!!!  Worse, so was our supply cabinet.

There were no lines at the hardware store because everyone else was at the grocery store at the other end of the shopping center buying bread and milk.  I selected a variety of suet and two different kinds of bird seed, then walked around the display to see what else might be helpful.  On the bottom shelf was a large bag holding peanuts in the shell, dried corn kernels, and an assortment of other nuts and grains.  My mind waged an argument inside my head:  don’t do it!  vs. but it’s going to be 10 inches!   The but it’s going to be 10 inches! side sent out images of a backyard littered with furry frozen you-know-whats.  I shoved the bag into my cart.

God help me, I was buying squirrel food.

Next morning,  the ground was white all right, but it was less than half an inch and already beginning to melt.  I looked out at the feeding station and saw the birds waiting while a squirrel suctioned a bird feeder like his name was Dyson.  The clay saucer of squirrel food remained untouched.  I rushed outside, screaming and clapping my hands, and the offender jumped off and sauntered up the pine tree, but only a few feet, leaving no doubt that it was only a temporary detour.

Sure enough, I had barely sat down again when he swaggered down the tree, flexed his muscles under his fur jacket, popped his knuckles, then made a gymnastics leap (I’d give it a 9.4) onto the bird feeder.  He latched on immediately, like a suckling pig.

The sympathy truce is over.  There will be no refilling of the squirrel feeding station.  This is war.

I’d like to pass the rest of the food bag on to that squirrelly weather forecaster.






Travelin’– Or, As They May Say In Michigan, ‘Raveling.

Whenever we go on a trip, I tell myself that I’m not going to take any photos of weird things along the way, then I see situations that tickle me and I change my mind, but by the time I pull out my phone and aim the camera I end up with a series of blurred photos.

Here are my blurs and blobs, with explanations:

IMG_0259  The license plate on this car says “UDontNoMe”

This one says, “YOUKNOWIT.”  IMG_0262

I know that in the South, we have a tendency to drop our G’s at the end of words.  This truck is from Michigan.


Notice anything missing?

And last but not least, since this story made the front page of the Wall Street Journal last week, I thought I’d include a photo of the peachoid along I-85 in South Carolina.


Although it looks like it’s wearing a winter bonnet, the Gaffney, SC water tower has actually been under repair for some time.  The Journal article pointed out the town had “hoped to get cracking last fall,” but it wasn’t that easy to find an artist who can mix the 12 shades  and paint in the air like that.  It isn’t just a simple one-color job and the end is not in sight.

Depending how you look at it.