Wednesday, April 23, 2008

¿Dónde está el baño?

As a woman, I spend much of my time in the restroom and always like to know where to find the closest, cleanest toilet. When I was pregnant, I was frequenting the ladies' room so often I could map out every one in town as well as along any route to Portland, including Washington Square.

Now, notice I said I like to find the 'cleanest.' This isn't always easy and there is a wide variety of hygienic standards, ranging across the board from gas station grossness to the posh powder room with rows of perfumes and the lady who sits there all day waiting to turn on the faucet for you. Personally, those are my least favorite. Knowing there's someone out there listening to me pee and then treating me like an invalid when I'm done. I can't look her in the eye, but that somehow makes me feel like an elitist old hag. And do I tip because she did something I'm perfectly capable of doing for myself? It's just uncomfortable all over the place for me.

Now, sometimes the restroom stereotype doesn't always hold true. Take, for example, the gas station we rolled into on our last trip to Victoria, somewhere in Washington. It was around 4 a.m. and the prospect of using a gas station restroom at that time wasn't exactly appealing. However, such a pleasant surprise awaited us. Clean! A lovely, burning scented candle! Pretty pictures! Bible verses on the mirror? On second thought.....

And then there are the places that one would expect much from only to be sorely disappointed. One restaurant in town, which shall remain nameless (just think of the place with notoriously bad service - aka snotty waiters), graced me with one of my worst experiences ever. It was a wine-tasting night out for the girls. Lovely evening - wine, cheese, chocolate. When we were done, of course a trip to the ladies' room was in order. The restroom, unfortunately, was out of order. Really out of order. The floor was flooded, the guilty toilet filled to the rim. We had to skip that one. I walked to my car in the cold, dreaming of my nice, warm, dry bathroom at home.

Finally, there is the Spoon. I am not a fan of the Spoon. Recently my girlfriends and I went to High Tides for lunch. A bottle of wine, some Thai soup, luxury on a Friday! Until I needed to use the restroom. With the key. Hanging on a spoon. Non-gender specific. I somehow don't feel clean carrying around the Spoon. Just because I wash my hands afterward and use a paper towel to open the door doesn't mean everyone else does. And the spoon negates any handwashing because who knows who had it before you? Yeah, not a fan.

Restaurants, please take notice. You are being judged on the quality of your restrooms. Please clean them. Make them smell pretty. And please, I beg of you. Eliminate the Spoon.


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