As this is Labor Day Weekend, I’m thinking of all the avenues of “labor” that are pursued: manual labor, of course, comes to mind. Certainly the work force of America has to be addressed. Women “in labor” can’t be ignored since, after all, they supply the future laborers of our country … and there are those who labor in science and the arts and others who do so in questionable professions.
Today, however, I find myself “laboring” over a particular problem. And though I know you don’t expect me to write about a private problem, I am doing so because I believe we all encounter it in so many public places.
I hope, too, that by writing a less than ultra serious blog at a time when so much around us is so terribly serious, I am offering you a moment to reflect, to smile, and perhaps even to come up with a solution.
This is what I am laboring over:
Why is it that a simple human necessity is ignored and/or not made available to us as often as it should be?
For instance: why is it that in so many offices (doctors offices, in particular) the “ladies room” and the “men’s room” is located – we are told without any apology –“outside the office, down the corridor to the left, swing right, then left again and, oh, by the way the code to enter is 243*4?” Yet, by the time we reach our much needed destination, we often can’t remember the code. We try every conceivable combination of numbers and, if we‘re extremely lucky, someone walks by who knows it and we’re then able to take care of our “need.” Otherwise, forget it, we’re in real trouble!
Then there are the times when we’re in a restaurant: We have truly enjoyed the meal, but having dallied over desert we really need a rest room. This time we're told it’s down a long flight of stairs and in the basement. Either we don’t feel very safe going down into a dimly lit basement area or, because we can’t manage that flight of stairs with our bum knee, we simply suffer because it isn’t worth the additional pain. We opt to torture ourselves and wait until we leave, then walk down the street in the hope that we will pass a store or another restaurant that clearly has an easily accessible rest room.
Another example: Have you ever thought about why movie theatres have only one ladies room with one stall (insuring the fact that several woman are apt to miss several scenes from the movie they’ve come to see) or why establishments such as local banks don’t even have one rest room? After all, some transactions take a long time and can also be very stressful. Would it not be considerate to have at least a unisex room (even if the manager is in charge of its key, should a customer be in need?
What does this tell us about our society when such a basic necessity is not considered? Do professional office staffers or business executives not respect themselves or their patrons enough to take such a need into consideration?
Let’s face it. This is a problem which many of us (as one of my daughters recently reminded me) have experienced since as early as when we were in kindergarten! Often, when we had to go to the bathroom, we were told to “wait” because a teacher was too busy to find someone to escort us or couldn’t be interrupted at the precise moment when we just had to be “excused.”
So, the problem I’m laboring over may not be one simply of space but also one of attitude. And, yet, it seems there must be a simple solution. Unless we create work environments or leisure environments that take into consideration one of the most essential human need, we’ll continue to be at the mercy of those who construct and those who purchase thoughtless structures which can't possibly be accommodating.
Surely there must be a way for us to rise up and revolt! Peacefully, of course!
Keep smiling! And do consider how we might better address society’s attitude and, in turn, attend to a very real deprivation!