a real mother

Sign of the Times


In all my years, I have never, ever had any incident in a public restroom that prompted me to think that is SO weird; it must be captured on film. But on a recent trip, that’s exactly what happened.

I think it’s safe to say that upon entering the stall, a woman’s first and foremost concern is to check for the availability of paper. When it was my turn, I was no exception to this rule. I also caught a glimpse of a sign above the toilet but didn’t pay much attention since it’s usually the “What Not To Flush” admonition. But when I turned to give the handle a flush with my foot, I examined the posted placard more carefully and couldn’t quite believe what I was reading was real. In fact, I checked other stalls thinking that it might be a joke. But it was clear this official posting was not done in jest. It was so bizarre that I couldn’t stop myself from whipping out my Nikon to record perhaps The World’s Strangest Sign. Ever. The sign read: RECLAIMED WATER IN TOILET! DO NOT DRINK!

No one would argue that people get thirsty while traveling, sometimes at inopportune moments. Many of us habitually tote a water bottle like an extra appendage. But I can never fathom the occasion that ANYONE in a public restroom would think I’m mighty thirsty and would you just look at all that water served up in a cute little porcelain bowl before dropping to all fours to stick their head in to quench an inconvenient thirst. If I hear slurping noises coming from the adjacent commode, when I look over, the feet I’d better be seeing are four furry ones and a wagging tail. If I see a woman dressed in sporty capris and leather mules on her hands and knees, she’d better be making a refund, not a purchase. Otherwise you are so busted.

And just when I thought the signage on this trip couldn’t get any stranger, I encountered bizarre sign number two which again required the use of my camera. Sitting in the hotel Jacuzzi, I started reading the gigantic blue notice advising me of all the things that could go wrong as I sat shoulder-to- shoulder with my fellow vacationers. So when I got to the line “the Jacuzzi shall be immediately closed for cleaning in the event of an accidental fecal or vomitus discharge,” I started to panic. Perhaps I’m a stickler for semantics but this implies that there is a different rule if these actions are intentional. But it only got worse. The sign continued “all bathers shall be ordered to leave until such substances are removed.” This wording contemplates that someone might actually be inclined to stay there with a Baby Ruth bobbing nearby unless someone with authority tells them it’s time to vacate what is now a heated toilet bowl. I can only imagine one of the guests remaining in the hot tub while telling the hotel staff, “Oh I’m not leaving, that was just Edna. She does that all the time at home.” I don’t know about you but if I see anything remotely resembling a Twix bar hovering near the surface, I will move faster than Marion Jones while stepping on your head to get out of there. And I will then promptly shower in betadyne, torch my swimsuit and check out of the establishment.

So on future trips, I’ll always be sure to keep a full water bottle handy. You can also bet that I’ll avoid all hot tubs that offer access to the public. Guess it’s a sign of the times.

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