Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Fabulous Flying Commode

Sometimes slogging through life as a cripple can be so disheartening that I just want to give up.

I felt one such dark moment of resignation recently in an airport bathroom. I had to piss. There was only one cripple stall and of course, as is always the fucking case, the door was locked and there were two feet inside the stall. And the feet were pointed away from the bowl, which meant that the person attached to those feet was settled in. He wasn’t just taking a quick piss. He wouldn’t be in there pissing with his back to the bowl. And if he was in there pissing with his back to the bowl, that would be even more disheartening.

When I see two perfectly good feet in a cripple stall, especially when they’re pointed away from the bowl, I feel a great sense of futility. I wouldn’t even mind if all I saw was a single foot in the stall or one shoe and one cast or two feet wearing goofy-looking, corrective cripple shoes. But when I see two perfectly good feet in perfectly fine shoes, I say to myself “What’s the point in going on?” I mean, even after all these years, some people don’t know or care enough to save the cripple stalls for the cripples.

Ours is a cold, cruel, insensitive world sometimes. Thus, cripples need to make contingency plans for everything, even a simple thing like taking a piss. Like one time I was on the mall in Washington D.C. I had to piss. No worries. There was a line of port-a-pots yonder. But when I got there, all the double-wides with the cripple symbol on the door were locked! I’ve heard other cripples complain about this situation before. The city fathers think homeless people will sleep in the spacious cripple stalls. So they lock the doors. And if a cripple has to take a shit, tough shit!

And don’t even get me started about the airlines! You know how cramped airliner bathrooms are. It’s like trying to take a shit inside a chimney! So if you’re a cripple, forget it! No potty breaks for you! Your contingency plan is to dehydrate the hell out of yourself until your innards turn to dust.

It’s no wonder I had this wonderful dream where I was riding around in a motorized commode. Yep, it was a fancy motorized wheelchair, just like the one I ride in now, but it was also a commode! And this commode could fly, too! It was beautiful!

I’m sure the fabulous flying commode was a symbol of my fantasy of living in a paradise where cripples can take a piss whenever they so desire! I felt so powerful in my fabulous flying commode, so in control of my destiny. It was so liberating!

But alas, I woke up and realized it was only a dream.

37 comments:

  1. Totally get it - need to clarify a point. I have a condition where I sometimes very suddenly need to go to the loo and if I don't go NOW I run the serious risk of shitting myself. (This means I have a very good knowledge of where the majority of public loos in my city are and position myself on the basis of proximity to said loos.) If the only loo free is a disabled access one - is it fair to use it? Or should I wait & just risk it? (Am not being facetious - have been yelled/glared/tutted at many times.)

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    1. I feel your pain, Anonymous. If my 6-year-old has to pee and my choice is to have her use a handicap stall or wait until a regular stall is open and hope a giant, devastating accident does not happen, I'll tell her to use the big stall. Because no one wants that to happen to them.

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  2. When we once took our kid to a Disney World bathroom someone started banging on the door and rudely implying we were improperly hogging the handicapped stall. As soon as we came out the guy immediately saw that we had even more justification for using the cripple stall than him (I guess severely CP kid in wheelchair trumps guy on scooter) and he immediately went po-faced and wouldn't look at us. I don't like playing the "nyah nyah we're more crippled than you are" game, but sometimes you take your satisfaction where you can get it!

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  3. It's a 'handicapped accessible stall', not a 'handicapped only' stall. It's not meant to be reserved for the handicapped only.

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  4. Yes, anonymous, but people always go in there to poop, and the more GI issues they have, the more likely they are to use it and sit and sit, even when clearly nothing's happening and there's time to change stalls. People who need to poop never use the smaller stalls. Meaning the disabled toilet is always the grossest. And sometimes we never get to go the bathroom at all, because it's the only stall we can use. I've waited 20-30 minutes before, with no luck at getting people out.

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  5. The accessible stall is often the only one with a grab bar.
    Lots of people like me have issues with dizziness that are worse during bouts of GI illness. That grab bar is what stands between us standing and falling on our faces, even though most of the time we can stand and walk just fine.

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  6. Can't go with you on this one. It's not like handicapped parking. I've waited 20-30 minutes myself.

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    1. Agreed. We've all had to wait, and if that is the only stall available, I will use it if there isn't a disabled person waiting. We women want to keep that line moving b/c our lines are always longer.

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  7. Fact of the matter is, not all forms of debilitation affect the feet but may still give one a perfectly legitimate need to use the handicapped stall. You can't judge until you have walked (or rolled) in another's shoes.

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  8. If there are other stalls available, I will absolutely choose to use one of those instead of taking a cripple stall. That said, if the other stalls are taken, and if the situation is an 'emergency' - so to speak - then yes, I probably am not going to wait to use a regular stall. Perhaps this is insensitive, but honestly, I can count on one hand the number of times I've been in a public restroom at the same time as a crippled person. Statistically, it just doesn't happen that often. Obviously, there IS a cripple in the room at the same time, I would wait to use a regular stall. But I won't refrain from ever using the cripple stall just on the off chance that a cripple could possibly enter the bathroom while I'm in there.

    As someone has already mentioned, it is a 'handicap accessible stall' not a 'handicap only stall.' You have made tremendously insightful points in the past, but I'm not sure I understand your argument here.

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  9. Beat this story...took my 27 year old son (wears a diaper), non-verbal, non-ambulatory to an effing Boston Red Sox game. Wife and I had to change in 2nd inning; it takes two us. Well, there is a handicapped stall in the men's head but they wouldn't let my wife in to help with the change. There is a handicapped stall in the women's room but no men allowed to help change. So what do you do...you tell the attendant that we both go in with son and chair to either or we'll change him in public. They let us into women's. Never watched another Red Sox game again; happy they are in last place!

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  10. I am a woman with severe RA; I'm 49 and have had it since I was 1--so alot of experience here with the cripple toilet. I don't mind when people with legitimate reasons for using the handicap stall do so--and that includes a non-disabled person using it because all the other stalls are occupied. BUT--in my experience--I often roll into the bathroom and the ONLY occupied stall is the handicapped stall. And most of the time, the person in the stall does NOT need to use it. How do I know this? Because they often come up with such "reasonable" excuses.
    . . .I was only going to be a minute
    . . .I like this one cause it's bigger
    . . .I was making a phone call (really--more than once)
    So, if you don't get it, what I (and I assume Smart Ass) resent is that out of an entire bathroom full of empty stalls, someone who COULD use any stall walked past all of those empty stalls and CHOSE the handicap stall. Hey, I don't get to choose. I don't just like the bigger stall; my other choice is to piss myself. See the difference?
    So, if you have a real reason to be there, it's all good. Just don't be a selfish jerk.
    Also, as a woman, I often encounter the dread bathroom line. Interesting thing about that, since there's a line, all the stalls, including the handicap stall are in use--OK, good so far. But when it's my "turn" I often have to let people behind me skip ahead because the now open stall is NOT the handicap stall. Ok, I can live with that, and apparently no one else seems to think that's a problem. But, if the handicap stall comes open while I'm not at the head of the line and I ask if I can skip ahead in line to use it (because it's the only one I can use), you should hear the complaints! Just throwing that out there--food for thought.

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  11. The architects that design these bathrooms aren't obese, because the ADA stall is often the only stall in which a fatty can wipe their ass.

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  12. The answer...IMHO, is to make every damn stall useable by anyone, regardless. Forcing anyone to having to crap in a coffin (which most of the modern toilets are) is scrimping and saving in an area that we should be willing to pay more for.

    I am not talking about Gold Seat here...but I think everyone could use a "Brass" upgrade...for their ah...backside.

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  13. This is a silly argument. Not that I don't have any sympathy for the "cripple" with a full bladder, but do you or any other physically handicapped person seriously expect the rest of us to just hold our business if all the other stalls are being used? Those stalls are designed to be "handicap accessible" not "handicap only". Obviously, people shouldn't be using the handicap stall just because they like the extra legroom or whatever and those people are first-rate jerks, but otherwise I find this complaint to be without merit.

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    1. How can you say complaint has "No Merit"?? Think about it from cripples view, not your physically healthy-upright on two feet view.
      Example: I'm 3rd in line of full capacity women's public restroom with 10 occupied stalls. There are 15 women behind me waiting in line.
      Lady #1/#2 will take notice of my wheelchair. Sometimes they will automatically offer/suggest that I "cut in line" ahead of hem should the Wheelchair/handicapped accessible stall becomes available... Occasionally, I'll initiate plea of "Would it be ok with you if I move to go next at Wheelchair Stall"? I do explain that I've bladder problems and am grateful for their kindness comsidering I cannot stand/walk into regular stall (narrow doors for wheelchairs).
      If only regular stalls empty, then of course the ladies ahead of me go in, and so do the ladies standing in line BEHIND me (I'll keep forfeiting regular/inaccessible stall to others until wheelchair stall becomes available to me).
      I've experienced women in disabled stall making/having cell phone conversation, taking suitcase/luggage into stall for sole reason of keeping suitcase with them, breastfeeding moms, diapering baby, changing clothes (including changing socks & tying shoelaces, which isn't exactly necessary to be done in private) espially considering there'd 18 ppl including 1 Cripple in wheelchair who's getting freakin' pissed off because any second a single cough or sneeze will cause them to piss themselves like a geyser at Yellowstone National Park.
      And while it may seem impolite to say so, but the breastfeeding woman could sit in restroom lounge sofa to feed baby, we're all female & won't gawk/ogle her. And beside, I keep thinking, "Why's she so shy NOW to feed baby when she spread her legs to get knocked up in the first place? Kinda hypocritical, stupid that she/mother feigns Modesty. *sigh*
      On the off-chance I can't hold my urine any longer, I'll park my wheelchair as deep into a regular stall as I can, grab the door, toilet paper dispenser, (anything to hang onto, and drag myself to the toilet seat. The stall door is wide-open since wheelchair is parked/blocking. How comfortable are YOU being a peep show to Total Strangers while peeing/poopin in a public stall, literally in total view/observation of others as you undress (unbuckle & lower pants or raise skirt/dress up) pee/poop, change/insert Kotex pads/tampons when on menstrual cycle, wiping/cleaning yourself, redressing, flushing toilet and dragging/crawling from toilet back to your wheelchair?? And during all this, besides in full view of adults, you also have preschool aged boys and girls as your audience, often times, staring at you with their mouth hanging open.

      Now, You tell me, "Anonymous"... do you Still have the audacity to claim that complain made by SmartAss Cripple/cripples in general is "without Merit"??? ... Double Phooey!! Pfft! *raspberry*

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  14. Thank you for this blog. I, admittedly, have used the handicapped stall for such ridiculous reasons as have been mentioned. I now realize the complete lack of consideration and thoughtfulness that have gone into this action, though I fortunately have never encountered anyone who needed the stall whom I actually inconvenienced. I'm glad I came across your blog, will abstain from using the handicapped stall in the future, and will be sure to enlighten any friends or associates should I find them making such inappropriate use of facilities reserved for people who need them.

    Incidentally, if you want to have a laugh at the expense of someone who needlessly uses a handicapped toilet and suffers the consequences, I recommend watching "The Work Outing" episode of The IT Crowd.

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  15. SmartAss, I'm laughing at your way with words (shitting in a chimney!) but also feeling quite indignant on your behalf about the LOCKED double-wide port-a-pots and other such malarkey you're subjected to by businesses who call themselves Accessible. (Not to mention the slow crappers who surely can wait one more minute for a skinny stall to open)

    Anonymous 2:13 - good point - those of us who can use the skinny stalls should at the very least check the line *behind* us before taking the handicap accessible stall.

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  16. I especially love how women who use the handicapped stall need to pee on the seat, thus guaranteeing that the handicapped woman who uses it next (who is unable to hover and must sit on that seat) has to clean up the toilet before using it.

    I was in the cripple stall a couple of months ago, when a mother and her 9 or 10 year old daughter came into the ladies' room. I know this because the mother announced (loudly enough to be heard out in the restaurant) "Well honey, I guess you'll just have to use one of the little stalls ALL BY YOURSELF!"

    "Moooom!" the daughter moaned quietly.

    "Because THE BIG STALL IS TAKEN!" mom bellowed.

    "Mom, ssstop!" the girl hissed.

    Mom continued to berate the evil selfish person in the big stall while her daughter somehow managed to pee all by herself, without mom to help. I had my ugly, noisy cane with me (I forgot the dress cane in the car--I usually don't take the noisy one into restaurants), so I skipped the sink in the handicapped stall and went out to use the other sinks, where mom was leaning and announcing her displeasure.

    "But you know honey ANYONE CAN USE THE BIG STALL--"

    (*clink!*) My cane tapped on the floor.

    "AND... um..."

    (*clink!*) (*clink!*) (*clink!*)

    I washed my hands, mom looked away and cleared her throat.

    (*clink!*) (*clink!*) (*clink!*) out the door.

    I could hear the daughter laughing as the door closed.

    Yes, sometimes cripples do get to use the "supervise your middle school student peeing" stall.

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    1. I LOVE what you wrote!! And yes, why can't women/ppl with obnoxious kids Aim properly or in very least, be considerate enough to Wipe their mess before leaving(pee INSIDE toilet and not all around the seat, on the floor or Gawd forbid, smear poop on the outside rim that meets your knees/pants). TOTALLY DISGUSTING!

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  17. You make some good points, but I have to say that as someone who has an arthritic knee, sometimes I need the cripple stall even though I don't look or act like a cripple. It's not that I need the space, but when my knee is acting up or severely swollen, I use the bar, and the taller height of the toilet makes it easier to sit down. I hate when I come out of the cripple stall on days like that only to find someone glaring at me; I wear jeans and sweats a lot and it's hard to tell when my knee is the size of a watermelon. Of course, someone who is in a wheelchair might need the stall more than I do, but if there isn't a line or they're not in said line when I go in, I feel like I have a right to use that stall as well. I am truly sorry that I don't look like I need it, but some days I really do, and I hate when people come to the assumption that I don't need it.

    tl;dr--I don't look like I need a cripple stall, but when I'm having a bad day it has advantages that are the only thing that allow me to stand up again after I pee. Please don't glare at me! D:

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  18. the irony is that while I have often felt that. I frustratedly wait for the ablebodied to get out of the NA stall when I have gone into bathrooms (I have joint issues that mean I need the wide stall, and the higher toilet. I have epilepsy, and for 2 or three days after a seizure, I need the grab bar both ways). But I am certain that should you ever see me in the bathroom, you will just assume that I was fucking you over.

    Please don't assume you know what my hygiene needs are. You'll be right a lot of the times, but sometimes you just make it so much harder for those of us with invisible disabilities. Please don't play the 'more handicapped than thou' card.

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  19. And as everybody knows, the only people who are disabled use a wheelchair. A person couldn't possibly be disabled unless they were using one.

    Get off the pity-pot, your leg bag won't explode.

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  20. I've used the handicapped toilet, and I've never had a handicapped person enter at the same time. If they did, I would be glad to terminate my business and move to the next stall immediately.

    On a related topic, I've always wondered what good is that bar? I swear to god you'd need to be an Olympic gymnast with a silver medal on the pommel horse to get out of a wheelchair and sit on the pot. It's like the contractor said to the builder, 'Dude, the contract says it needs a bar, just put it there.'

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  21. When I am at a mall or restaurant with my 2 daughters, we all pile into the handicap stall together and take turns. That way we are not taking up 3 stalls and I can more easily hurry them along. Plus I don't like them in a public place anyway when I am behind a closed door. However, I am never one to linger in a public bathroom and I hate using my cellphone in one. I (sometimes we) are literally only in there for five minutes at the most and in all those occasions, never once has anyone in a wheelchair come in while we/I were in there. Obviously, if I saw wheels approaching under the door, I would make a hasty exit.

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    1. Yeah, you're only using one stall, but you're using it THREE TIMES AS LONG.

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  22. My mom had MS back in the pre-handicapped-anything days. She couldn't leave the house... rather like living in most of the areas of the world today, if you are handicapped.

    I am thankful for hot and cold running water and heat that kicks-on automatically in my house (I don't have to chop wood). I am thankful I don't live in the part of my country that is jammed-up with folks who still fly the confederate battle flag and think the South will rise again. I am thankful for the years of my life spent in service to humanity as a nurse, but appreciate my current retirement and SS benefits. And I really appreciate the fact that my body still works reasonably well.

    Love your sense of humor, crippled-person.

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  23. I have lived with a brain injured hemiplegic former genius for the ten years since injury (and before)....all disabled stalls not equal....he needs bars on right side where he has use....?how many of us are left handed?

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  24. No comment yet about the airplane toilets - guess SAC is correct when he says his best option is to drink nothing during a flight.

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  25. While I can sympathize that handicapped accessible porta potties are locked when others aren't, I have to join the chorus of those who say it's handicapped accessible, not handicapped only. Frankly, if you arrive in the bathroom and have to wait a few minutes, that's what you'll wanna call equality, my friend. Everyone has to wait sometimes. For those who would see a handicapped person in line for a handicap stall and not let them ahead, that's questionable. If it was an actual emergency and you said so, they should let you up there. The same as anyone having a real emergency. But most of the time, we're not having emergencies, are we? I think it's a little presumptuous to assume that the handicap stall will always be available. As several others have said, not every handicap comes with wheels or even a cane. I've got a knee that needs to be replaced but they don't want to do it because I'm "too young"... so I can keep hobbling around on a painful knee that's unstable and which makes it difficult to get off a lower toilet. The grab bars make all the difference. That said, I don't go in and settle down to read a book or have a phone conversation. That's rude no matter what stall you're in. (And, honestly, who on earth would want to spend more time in a public toilet than necessary? Ack.) On a related note, I never park in handicap parking spots, even when it sometimes seems there are a disproportionate number of handicap places. I haven't gone to get a handicap tag, so it's not my right. Even when I'm hobbling around on crutches, I park in a regular spot. Rules are rules. They're handicap only, and I will respect that. (Though it's frustrating to watch some folks park there with their handicap placard and they literally hop out of the car and go scooting up to the store without any apparent need for the spot. Yes, not all disabilities are visible...but even if you've got the placard, if you're in shape to go scampering up to the store, you're abusing the privilege, IMO.)

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  26. When I'm in line in a restroom, as soon as the handicapped stall opens up, someone in front of me, or behind, but usually more than one someone, ALWAYS calls to me to go in! I use bright pink crutches....I suspect that is why ;-) I really do prefer the handicapped stall, but I can usually manage (with pain) in the regular stalls. I really don't know why people are always kind to me, when so many others report otherwise.

    I must be counted in the camp of "handicapped accessible, not handicapped only", though, because, well, suppose there is only one stall...it must be accessible, and if two, one is, does that mean everyone else must share only one? Unless there are at least 20 stalls, the handicapped accessible are fair game. But if there is a person who needs it (requests or visibly), they get first dibs.

    As for parking...I have a tag, and I don't always bring in my crutches. When I hop down from my van, and go into a store I might look Just Fine. But when you see me come back out...I'm usually limping quite severely. A friend has a placard....you might always see her walking along perfectly well. But she is missing a leg, and is quite skilled with her fake foot. She qualifies...although she doesn't always use the spaces, she is certainly allowed to. I always try to park close to a store, if there are spaces a couple away from the H spaces, I'll take one of those, saving the others for others, since if I take an H space, and an AB person takes the open plain space, the next person who needs a handicapped space may be out of luck.

    But, people using their deceased Grandma's old placard? I hope Karma catches up with them.....

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    1. I like your comment, common sense & fairness & I love your fashion sense - Pink Crutches!! Very cool IMO!! I've a purple/black "opalescent" manual wheelchair - the color is actually called "purple haze".

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  27. For those getting indignant at Mr. Cripple for glaring at probably-able-bodied-feet under the cripple stall door, bear in mind that you have the luxury of choice. If you choose the nice spacious one when there is another available, you are automatically a dickhead. Only if all other stalls are occupied does it become fair game.

    And while talking about glaring at those probably-able-bodied-feet, while there are some people that are 'pass for upright' crips, I bet 99% of the time the glare is right on the money.

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