Engagedly Inaccessable by Charlotte Bennie

Engagedly Inaccessable

When you think about it, the term “Disabled Toilet” is a bit silly. I don’t wish to cause offence, but disabled means something isn’t working as it should. I much prefer the term, “Accessible Toilet”. Of course, you all know exactly what I mean by an accessible toilet. Good lighting and colour contrast, tactile tiles indicating the position of everything important and none of those malevolent automatic taps which skoosh water all over you, leaving your arms soaked right up to the oxters.
Except, has anyone actually found such a loo? am I the only blinkie who has spent more time than is necessary bumbling around a bright, White room, unable to find my way out? Or, even worse, have found myself in an eerie, dim blue light, knocking bits of myself against surprisingly sharp corners of unidentifiable objects.
Naturally, an accessible toilet has to be accessible to people with a wide range of disabilities. However, I’ve never, ever, found one designed with even the slightest nod towards us blinkies.
Why has no one ever considered colour contrast, for instance? Painting walls and door a markedly different colour from everything else isn’t rocket science and wouldn’t even add anything extra to the cost, so, why isn’t it standard? Likewise, how about a change in the texture of the flooring around the loo and the sink? I’m not suggesting the bobble slabsfound, sometimes, at drop kerbs. Just a different texture underfoot. The only place where I have noticed this was at Rome airport. Actually, it has a proper name but there’s no way the screen reader and I will attempt to spell that. The entrance hall there has paths of differently textured tiles running every which way. Presumably, if you follow one of these, either by testing it with your feet or judging the reaftion of your Canadian cane, it will take you somewhere. For all I know, there are signs excplaining all this. Perhaps, the Caeci Romani are given special information so, when they arrive there, they know exactly what to do and where to do it.
Then, there is all the stuff stored in disabled toilets. It’s bad enough, having to share the place withal the paraphernalia relating to cleaning up babies. Why do we have to share anyway? Why can’t babies have a proper place for themselves? It’s all the other impedimenta. Big machines with awkward, sticky oot bits, used for cleaning and stored, goodness knows why, in disabled toilets. Expertly positioned to do maximum damage to anyone blundering about.
Once, I dislodged what was possibly a tastefully arranged pyramid of toilet rolls. Waving my hands under a hand drier, I sent the whole shebang flying and, of course, I hadn’t the remotest clue as to where they had gone. Or, it’s wee bottles of skooshy soap, precariously balanced on totie, narrow, wee shelves. Somehow, some part of my anatomy can always find such a bottle, hurtling it floorwards whereas, if the soap is being dispensed from one of those wall mounted contraptions, I can never, never find it.
And, what am I supposed to do with paper towels? Only rarely is the intended receptacle placed directly under the dispenser. Nothing so obvious! No, the bin can be anywhere, which may be fine for the fully sighted but extremely annoying for the likes of me. I would prefer to be tidy, really, I would but it is rarely possible. So, I drop the scrunched up paper towels directly underneath their dispenser, in the vain hope that whoever is in charge of the toilet twigs the reason.
Okay, some toilets have had to be squeezed into whatever space is possible in a building erected when the concept of plumbing was non existent. But what about those in modern buildings? Surely, it would be easy enough, in such places, to have a standard code relating to where things ought to be? Combine that design code withcolour contrast and tactile surfaces, and Bob’s your Plumber. Sorted for us blinkies whithout costing a fortune and, I’d hope without causing problems for people with other disabilities.
Until then, however, if you find the floor of a disabled toilet strewn with bits of paper towel and unwinding toilet rolls, all dissolving in a puddle leaking from a dangerously emptying bottle of skooshy soap loitering on the floor, well, you have my abject apologies.

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