Do You Use Public Restrooms Regularly or Only in an Emergency?

Week of June 25, 2003

Diane Wondisford
Producing Director, Music-Theatre Group, New York City
"There aren't many suitable public restrooms in New York -- you can't just go to a park or a store. You have to be very planned about it if you're away from home. And you have to buy something in the store, but the store employee is always making sort of a judgment on the person who walks in. If they're homeless, likely the key is not going to be offered. Someone like me, a business person, it's easier for me to get access."

Latrece Evans
Student, Harris-Stowe State College
"Only in an emergency because they're so filthy. I'm scared of disease and everything so I just try to avoid them. And if I ever do go in one, I stand up -- I never sit."

Steve Gould
Sales Clerk, Slim's Used Ace Bandages and Whatnot Store
"It would have to be at least as clean as the bathroom in my mom's house and that's immaculate -- I mean, you could probably eat a sandwich off that floor. I'm worried about germs, so if a restroom is really disgusting I just wouldn't be able to go."

Rommie Martinez-Bass
Proprietor, Rommie CD Salon
"Absolutely not. No way. If there was an 'emergency' I'd find a nice, secluded spot in the woods rather than use a public restroom -- yuk!"

Chris Beavin
Social Worker
"Routinely, but not because I want to. It's just that I'm often out in the neighborhoods where nice restrooms are scarce, although I have found that QuikTrip restrooms are fairly decent. You can either hover or use multiple layers of toilet tissue, depending on the level of grossness. But, you know, any port in a storm when you're desperate."

Austin Zimmermann
Former Prison Librarian
"I use them all the time, they're like a second home. Plus, you get to read while you're doing your business -- all the graffiti makes you think about all the people who go to the john with pens. You get your guys who write some shit like, 'the Bears suck,' and then you get the guy who marks underneath it, 'you suck!' See, that's humor. There's artwork, poetry ... it's actually a cultural experience."

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