I started using disabled toilets a few years ago when I got my beloved scooter and hadn’t realised there was so much to consider when using them.
A toilet’s a toilet, right? Wrong!
I find the best ones have plenty of hand rails to heave yourself up with and, most importantly, enough room to do a 3-point turn for an easy escape. I got stuck in one at a children’s soft play venue once as there was no room to turn around. The door was also far too heavy so I was left with no choice but to ram the door by reversing into it, only succeeding in opening it a tiny fraction while my wheels span uselessly on the floor!
Eventually my husband noticed I’d been gone far longer than was necessary and rescued me. Unfortunately, he opened the door just as I was reversing particularly aggressively and I ran over his foot! I trundled out, all hot and bothered and didn’t notice for a while that I was trailing a long piece of toilet paper along the floor from my back wheel.
Another observation I’ve made is people’s bizarre and often amusing reactions when they’ve been “caught” using a disabled loo! They never expect to be confronted by an actual, real life, disabled person when they sneak out and I sometimes pretend to be mildly outraged just to maximise the reaction!
Some will jump out of their skin when they look down at me and will then fall over themselves trying to be helpful, opening the door elaborately and closing it afterwards while muttering apologies. Others will look so mortified I can’t help but try to make them feel better and find myself saying, “it’s fine, it’s not my toilet” This is particularly relevant at work as the staff toilet is also a disabled one so it’s not exclusively for my use. People can’t help getting all weird about it though and I think it may be a British thing!
One perk of needing to use disabled toilets is the glorious radar key. Once you have one of these magic keys you’ll never have to queue for hours at an event again (unless it’s a disability conference or something!)
My sister and I were in the bar of a local music venue once and I whipped out the key from the depths of my bag just as we spotted the mile-long queue for the ladies. I couldn’t resist a smug backward glance as we opened the door to the large, clean toilet which also boasted a full-length mirror so we could make sure we still looked fabulous!
There have to be some perks!
I’d love to hear some other stories related to disabled facilities! Ever had any funny incidents?