Wednesday, September 03, 2008

FUN! in the Airport!

The Scene: A Women's Restroom

The Cast: Meno and a Long Line of women, all hopping from foot to foot, waiting their turn in a 4 stall bathroom.

Action: When it's my turn, the handicapped stall opens up and in i go. I felt a momentary thrill, the likes of which i seldom get when travelling because i prefer the handicapped stall because there is a little more room.

I accomplish my goal (HEY! Am i the only one who feels as if those self-flushing toilets are a violation of my free will?) and exit the stall.

Sitting right outside my stall is a woman in a wheelchair, who was not in line and was not there before.

She YELLED at me, "That stall is for handicapped people only and you should not be using it. It's hard enough being in a wheelchair without having people infringe on our accommodations." (That is a direct quote, she used the words 'infringe' and 'accommodations.')

I just looked at her, as i had maybe made her wait for, oh, ten seconds. Plus it's unseemly to argue with a woman in a wheelchair.

She continued to yell at me as i washed my hands and left. I believe the word BITCH was hurled my way.

Was i wrong? I don't really think so, but maybe those stalls ARE sacred. It just seems silly to let one stall sit empty when there is a line.


Gordo said...

My feeling is that they're not devoted to the disabled. They're just made to accommodate them.

Personally, I think carrying that kind of chip on one's should is far more unseemly.

Princess in Galoshes said...

I don't know what the real etiquette is... but that sounds unreasonable to me.

Should she get to go straight to the front of the line? Yes, I think so. Should regular people be able to use the handicapped stall when no handicapped person is around? Yes, I also think so. We are all human, we all have bladders that need releiving.

I would have done the same thing.

flutter said...

Do you require a placard that registers you to use the handicap stalls?


There is your answer. Doesn't sound like you were the bitch in the situation.

Melessa said...

I think when there is no one else, they are fair game. But when I exit one I am always terrified I will find someone in a wheelchair waiting on me who will act just like that. I'm sorry it happened to you. And while it isn't cool to yell at someone in a wheelchair, she definitely had it coming.

My uncle was a WWII vet who spent 40-plus years in a wheelchair. He used to say there were people who used their chairs to get places and people who used them just to 'get.' She just told be with her behaviour which kind of user she was.

Mignon said...

She musta had to go real bad.

TTQ said...

I was in a wheelchair for about 6 months and the only thing that bothered me was bathrooms that had handicapped signs but you couldn't get a wheelchair in them.

There is no wheelchair line at the bank..just like Gordo said it's to accomodate not to (pardon the pun) wipe their asses for them..

When you gott ago you gotta go..I would have looked at her sweetly and said next time the handicapped stall is open with no line and not avaiable for anybody but people in wheel chairs, I'll just hop onto the sink you wash your hands in.

meno said...

gordo, a good distiction. If this ever happens to me again, i'll know what to say.

princess, that's because you are so reasonable!

flutter, it was tempting to call her a bitch right back, but really, why bother.

melessa, see, now you know that someday someone MIGHT be lying in wait for YOU! Your Uncle sounds like a smart man.

mignon, or else her girdle was pinching.

ttq, now i know JUST what to say to her, next time.

Mrs. Chili said...

The woman was out of line, ESPECIALLY if she wasn't there before you took the stall - if it wasn't YOU she was yelling at, it would have been the next lady who ran to the first open stall. You were not wrong; it's not as if the handicapped have a secret code that lets them into those restrooms - first come, first served...

tt said...

Wrong??? Absolutely not!!!
If another handicapped person was in that stall she would have had to wait anyway. Sounds like she gets her power trips because of that chair. What a sad woman. Doesn't it feel good to take the high road? Perhaps Karma has already paid her a visit?

QT said...

Yeah...the handicapped stall doesn't mean you don't have to *wait* if you are in a wheelchair.

She must have been having a really bad day.

H.E.Eigler said...

It's not like you pushed her out of the way to get in there...and I'm sure had she just come in at the second you were going to use it you would have let her ahead of you. They aren't parking spaces for pete's sake.

The Real Mother Hen said...

I applause you for not reacting Meno.

I was told by a person (who wasn't handicapped) that I should NEVER use the handicapped bathroom.

Hhmmm, this sure sounds like the type of question we should send to Dear Abby and see what the etiquette is.

Now I'm curious.

SUEB0B said...

She is a psycho. It is totally unreasonable to expect 99 percent of the population to NEVER use the handi stall.

Anonymous said...

actually, I remember having a discussion about this, probably at some sort of training group. we came to the conclusion that it was OK to use the stall if there is a line and that the handicapped do not have to wait in line, i.e., they would form a separate line for the handi stall. Of course, this was the opinion of a group of non-wheelchair bound people. And you can't go by me because if the restroom is a single, I'll even use the men's if I have to go bad enough. I do also use the handicapped stall even if it's not the only one open because I usually have others joining me (heh) and there are days that I just can't bring myself to try to jam in a regular stall with a three year old when the odds are that I'm not going to inconvenience a soul.

patches said...

I don't think I would concern myself until the authorities post fines on the door.

She could have been nervous about flying. No woman I know who has flown in excess of twice wants to be in a woman's restroom at the airport a second longer than necessary. Some people have no interest in resolution, just complaining.

Stucco said...

The next time I'm in a ladies room toilet stall (that's handicapped), I'm peeing on the handrail.

ETK said...

I totally agree with everyone here. Why should you wait when there is a perfectly good restroom to use and no disabled person around? Geesh - it's not like you knocked her over on your way. Get a grip.

Sure, she could have had many reasons, but none justify yelling at a complete stranger for something completely normal to do.

ETK said...

And - kudos for not reacting.

jen said...

dude you totally took down a chick in a wheelchair.

Brad said...

It's all been said here. (what a great group of readers you have)

She's wrong and there ain't no right here. Well, only if someone would have caught her in her diatribe on tape and played it back for her so she could see what an ass she was.

Ahem, sorry, carry on...

Anonymous said...

Meno, you were absolutely in the right. That was a horrible instance of bad behaviour and I'm sorry for you and for her,

Scott from Oregon said...

Hooey. Piss away.

Vanessa said...

You were fine, she was bitter. Handicapped I think I could adjust to but I'd hate to go through life bitter and alienating people like she did.

Say It said...

She was a bitch. Personally, she could wait until the stall was free. Its not like you took the paper in with you and emerged 20 minutes later with a wild funk for her to breath. Jeez, it was just a piss and she didn't have to wait the 10 minutes everyone else did.

Carolie said...

So....what happens in a restaurant or other place of business with a "one holer" that is handicapped-accessible, like my former workplace? Is it ONLY for the use of those in wheelchairs?

Here in Japan, there are western-style toilets, "squatty potties" (porcelain troughs over which one squats) and then often a completely separate handicapped-accessible toilet room. It's expected that only those who can't use the regular stalls will use this separate room...those in wheelchairs, harried parents with several small children to corral, the very elderly, etc. I like that system.

In the US, or anyplace where there is a "handicapped" stall, if there is no one else in the bathroom, or if there is a line and no handicapped person who needs the stall, of COURSE I will use it! (And of course, if I'm in line, I would allow a handicapped person to move to the front of the line!)

It's NOT the same thing as a handicapped parking spot, for which someone might have to wait's a minute and a half, tops! Being in a wheelchair or on crutches means you are entitled to ease of does not mean your bladder needs trump mine.

Mamalujo said...

You were completely within societal norms on this one, as well as, I'm sure, whatever rules or regulations concerning handicapped restrooms there might be in this instance. I'm afraid you've simply been the target of another person's poor manners. Chin up my friend.

Marshamlow said...

I use them all the time. But I do drive past all the unused handicapped spots in the parking lot I wonder if this is the same thing. I have found that in many establishements the diaper changing table is located in the handicapped stall. Does that mean only persons in wheel chairs can change their babies?

Gina said...

After having my husband in a wheelchair for a while and realizing how few places are truly handicap-acessible, etc, I can be a little sensitive about the subject. But as for restrooms - I feel that they are for everyone as long as there is not a handicapped person waiting to go in.

I will pass one by if another is open, but if there is a line and it's the only one open, I will use it. I am also more likely to use one if I have my daughter with me because the regular stalls are too small for 2 and I won't let her wait outside the stall for me until she's a little older.

meno said...

mrs. chili, i too think she would have yelled at anyone.

tt, it is sad. To be so angry all the time.

qt, and no sense of humor either.

he eigler, well, maybe just a teeny shove. Just kidding.

mother hen, you send it off to Miss Manners!

suebob, it does seem wasteful of that real estate.

de, i would totally have let her bypass the line, had she been there before i went in that stall.

patches, heh heh. Fines for using the handicapped stall. What, say $50 a gallon?

stucco, ooooh, how i envy you that ability.

etk, it was surprisingly easy to not react. It was like watching a performance of ridiculousness.

jen, and i'd do it again in a heartbeat. Bring her on!

brad, and they're all extremely good looking too. It would have been a great time for a video camera.

sally, i was surprised at how little it bothered me, as i hate being yelled at. But it was just so WEIRD.

scott, no shit!

vanessa, i can only hope she is usually in a better frame of mind.

say it, guess i should have taken my time. :)

carolie, i remember those squatter potties. Man, most women have terrible aim. And i would NEVER park in a handicapped space. That just sucks.

mamalujo, maybe i should carry around copies of Miss Manner's book to give people.

marsha, next time i have a baby to change in public, i will find a handicapped person to do it for me!!!

gina, people with small kids go in there all the time. Thise regular stalls are just to small.

emily said...

I can't believe she yelled at you for such a long time! I wouldn't be so surprised at a heavy sigh and roll of the eyes, but come on...

And wouldn't I be remiss if I didn't point out the real-life re-enactment of the hilarious Curb Your Enthusiasm episode? I can't believe I'm the 30th comment and no one has mentioned it! Maybe you'll run into her someday at the airport using a *regular* stall and you can hurl that B-word right back at her.

peevish said...

First off, if you hadn't gone into it, someone behind you in line would have.

Secondly, the architects & builders figure out how many stalls they are required to provide, and just make one of them in each restroom handicapped-accessible. It isn't an extra one to be reserved for them, it is intended to be used by others when all the regular ones are full.

Gah! Brush it off. It sucks to be her. Not because she's handicapped, but because she's so damned angry.

luckyzmom said...

I recently had hip replacement surgery. I used a walker for three weeks and since have used a cane (soon to disappear also). Before my surgery I used the handicap stalls because of the difficulty I was having with my hip. I will say this, if you are handicapped in some way, it takes longer to get to the bathroom after the urge hits you and you are sometimes desperate to get to the toilet. That does not excuse that woman's ugly comments. "Some people have not interest in resolution, just complaining", says it all though. I did have an experience where I walked into a restroom with just one handicap stall at the far end and maybe ten empty regular stalls before it, behind a young woman who quickly went straight for the handicapped stall. I waited. I smiled at her when she came out.

Tink said...

I'm with Gordo.

Maybe she's in a wheelchair because someone got sick of her smack and hit her with their car.

egan said...

She's totally right. Those bigger stalls are only for the handicapped. I also think she's totally justified to chew you a new one. My thinking is she's probably one of the nicest people you'll ever meet until you cross her. Then she erupts in rage and calls complete strangers bitches.

So how do I really feel? You were in the right. The stall was empty and she wasn't there, plus the line factor. Have at it. I'm going to guess she didn't win over many folks in the airport bathroom that day. Please tell me you chuckled a bit as you exited the bathroom though.

egan said...

I will add this though. My thinking is she doesn't have to wait in the normal line because of the limited handicap facilities. She should plant herself in front of said handicap stall and then when it's available, she'd be next in line.

Bobealia... said...

I am with Egan.
I believe I wrote something with the word bitch in it, but deleted it...

Robin said...

i work with people with disabilities every day. i also use the handicapped stall when it's available. i also walk up the ramps into buildings. no, i don't think you were wrong. but i do think she was rude (or possibly just had to pee really, really bad?)

Eve said...

Nobody gave the legal facts, so I will: there are no federal guidelines governing usage of wheelchair accessible bathroom stalls, merely the existence of them in certain public buildings. Unlike clearly marked handicap parking places, bathroom stalls are not legally protected and off-limits to people without permits.

The woman in the wheelchair was out of line, from a legal standpoint.

Michael Knight Rambo said...

I need to use the handicapped stall to give enough room for my massive girth.
If she would have bitched at me, I would have tipped her over and hopefully she would have landed in a pool of piss (or pile of SHIT!).
Or maybe given her a Stone Cold Stunner and waggled my head at her and dumped a beer on her stupid head.
(...I think you were in the right.)

Anonymous said...

No, you weren't wrong. IF there is a line up, all stalls are fair game.

Anonymous said...

A two parter. But I can also appreciate how the woman feels. I spend a lot of time with my mum who is disabled and requires those stalls and Katie and I use those stalls because it's hard to fit two grown women into a regular stall and Katie can't go by herself. I do get frustrated when non handicapped people are using those stalls but that's because I'm already frustrated by the time we get to the bathroom. Although things are supposed to be wheelchair accessible, many places are not, or very agile people take up the handicapped parking spots. So I'm usually in a pissy mood, which seems appropriate really, by the time we get to the bathroom. Maybe the lady was just tired of all the shit that goes along with being handicapped and took it out on you.

Sending you a hug.

caro said...

I'm with Egan and Deb. And my hats off to you for keeping cooool.

Josh said...

Just because someone is handicapped doesn't mean they can't also be - and I use the highly clinical term here - a total wack job. You were 100% in the right. That's my opinion and I'm sticking with it.

meno said...

emily, it took a lot of energy for her to be that nasty to me. I'll have to check out that episode.

peevish, i was just the lucky one who happened to be there when Her Royal Highness arrived. It didn't really bother me for long. I thought it was funny.

luckyzmom, i wonder if she got the message.

tink, ha ha! I should have asked her that.

egan, how you crush me. Okay, now i'm over it. :) And i did smile a bit, but only after i was on the plane and made sure she wasn't.

bo, bitch seems to be getting quite the workout here.

robin, if she hadda pee so bad, she sure wasted some time yelling at me.

eve, thank you for that. Very interesting. Now i know what to say to defend myself.

M K Rambo, oooh, harsh! But i am smiling at the mental image. Kind of like cow tipping.

deb, that's what i always thought, but i have never been yelled at before. It's good to get another perspective too. I am glad i didn't yell back. All hugs gratefully accepted.

caro, i was more puzzled than anything, not angry.

josh, you sound like a total proffesional with your scientific term!

crazymumma said...


she was not there when you went in.

i believe you were just making the line move a little faster.

still tho. Ouch. No reason to abuse you.

Cagey said...

I think Gordo's comment was KEY. They are an accommodation, not meant to be devoted. Besides, how often to you use a restroom that only has 2 stalls? That means only ONE stall is to be used for the majority of folks? That seems silly.

I use handicapped stalls ALL the time, particularly now that I have two children - there is NO way we could fit into one stall together. Obviously, if someone was handicapped, I would give them priority.

Diane Mandy said...

I have always wanted to know this. If I had been in that situation, I would have used it as well. Sorry you were the victim of bad timing!

sari said...

well, I know I'm comment #47 but some people just like to have a chip to carry, you know??

Irrelephant said...

I arrived way too late to the discussion to make any sort of real contribution, but Gordo said it perfectly right there at the top: accomodation, not devotion.

You should have kicked her chair over. *grin*

Mrs4444 said...

So, handicapped people don't have to wait in line like everybody else? Sheesh! I do the same thing all the time, though I look around for handicapped people first, heehee.

Daphne Enns said...

I'm getting in late here.

I think that it would be polite to allow someone who because of their wheelchair or difficult mobility to skip the line to use the handicapped stall, otherwise they may be waiting much longer than everyone else who may have more options of stalls to use.I don't use a wheelchair (except last month when on holiday) but I value the fact that the toilets are taller (I bet that you like that since you're tall) which means they're easier to get up from.

The fact IS that airplane washrooms do not accommodate wheelchairs, meaning that people going on overseas flights have to hold it until they land. Can you imagine having to hold on for 8 hours or more??? In a plane where the air is dry and you need to drink water to keep from becoming dehydrated? Airports and airplanes are not easy places to maneuver.

I noticed that most people who commented were able bodied and only knew of someone with a disability.Sometimes

On that note I don't think that the handicapped stall should go unused by more able bodied people. That would be pointless, however I would consider them to have priority.

It's too bad that that woman flipped out on you. Obviously she was taking other things out on you...