|R. I. P.|
It happens a whole lot more than it used to, but that's not news--for me or anyone else my age. I'm on the street somewhere or in a restaurant or, like Saturday, in a grocery store, and suddenly, without due warning, I've got to pee. Just had a physical, blood test, most of the whole nine yards--I'm fine. Don't be worrying. But more often than not these days, suddenly what matters more than anything is that I find a bathroom.
Saturday I was hunting down bulk granola in Hy-Vee when some switch got turned on inside. It's not as if I can simply wait it out. When you got to, you got to. So, looking for relief, I followed the outside walls of this massive grocery store and found nothing. Once upon a time it may have been an embarrassment for me to ask. No more. No sweat.
Two kids--16 barely, I'm sure--are stacking a thousand cereal boxes. Now Hy-Vee puts employees' portraits on their trucks, for pete's sake--the chain wants to be known for their helpful help. Most people in the region know the tune to "a friendly smile in every aisle." One of these cereal-packing kids is not only campaigning for employee of the month, he's bucking for Eagle Scout at the same time because he as much as takes my hand and brings me there, even though I'm not wielding a walker. That kind of sweetness was unnecessary, but then to him I probably looked more than a little ancient.
Just off the bakery is a hallway where there are two water closets, two doors, both marked simply "Rest Room." They're right beside each other. Two of them. You have a choice. Neither is "gendered." I got to go. I choose the first. Door's not locked. I go in. Case closed.
Right then, I couldn't help feeling sorry for Kohler Company, Kohler, Wisconsin, although they don't need my sympathy and never have. If Hy-Vee is the new normal, Kohler will be turning out far fewer urinals in the future, and someone's going to be out of a job. As you can likely guess, there warn't no urinals in that Hy-Vee "Rest Room," which means the next customer to stop by could well have be someone named Rosanna.
The American Family Association, who knows more about fear than almost anyone on the planet, has determined that the good Christian people of this nation should boycott Target stores because Target has made it clear that everyone can use the restrooms in their stores. They're not going to station one of their red-t-shirted employees beside the john to check your and my genitalia.
No good Christian people were protesting or handing out leaflets near the Hy-Vee grocery pickup when I walked in, although I'd bet even money that lots of the customers last Saturday afternoon were buying buns and hamburger for Sunday dinner after church the next morning. This was Sioux Falls, not Sodom.
Maybe some righteous South Dakotan should write the sanctified few at the American Family Association to let them know that the only choice I had when I had to pee in the east side Hy-Vee was between two "Rest Rooms," no gender distinctions. Can you imagine? Right here in the Heartland. If the AFA knew, they'd be asking for a Hy-Vee boycott too.
When so much heat rises from something that's really never been a problem, someone somewhere is blowing a lot of hot air.