DISHING DIRT FROM MY SOAPBOX
If you hear me crying through the closed door of a public toilet cubicle, don’t be alarmed. I’ve not discovered anything ‘untoward’ whilst in this very personal of situations. It’s unlikely I’ve just received bad news, as I make it a rule not to look at or answer my phone whilst sat on the loo. It won’t be because there’s no hook to hang my bag on as I’m all psyched up for that one before I even enter the cubicle and depending on type and size of bag/bags, options will have already been pre-determined. It will be because I can’t work out WHERE I’M SUPPOSED TO STAND WHILST I OPEN THE DOOR?!
Who designs these things? I appreciate the need for an inward opening door, no-one wants to be flinging MDF out at people, cross-legged in their moment of need. But in the world of toilet cubicle design, no-one seems to take into account that not only does there need to be somewhere for the door to go, what little space is left has to accommodate you, your bags, coat, scarf, optional small child and that perfume sample stick that you’re desperately trying to keep hold of and not put in your pocket or purse in case you really don’t like it and the smell lingers forever so you really would appreciate that hook on the door so that you can at least hang some of this stuff up (maybe not the child) to leave at least one hand free to pull up your knickers.
What is more puzzling is the amount of room usually found in the ‘communal’ area of public toilets. You could roller-skate around the place (a less boring way of drying your hands). If you’ve ever been stood in a queue for a public toilet, how many times have you seen every sink being used whilst every toilet is occupied? Doesn’t happen. No need for all those sinks and the space they take up. I think the ‘internal toilet cubicle area/number of sinks’ ratio has been miscalculated. I’m no mathematician or architect, but I can’t help wondering if whoever drew up the plans on which All Public Toilet designs are based, maybe got confused with their volumetric conversions.
When the opening of the door fills the space all the way back to the toilet itself, it doesn’t take a degree in geometry to realise the occupant’s only option is to hop up on to the sanitary bin or trap themselves behind the now open door necessitating a jump over the toilet to escape. And that’s when the crying starts.