This doesn’t seem well planned…

8 Apr

In the O’Hare airport bathroom this week I encountered this sign:

Does anything about this strike you as odd?

How about the fact that it’s written in braille? Now, I might not be visually impaired, but I think it’s safe to assume that a blind person isn’t going to walk into a public restroom stall and start running her hands over every surface, looking for a plaque that tells her how the toilet works.

Once I processed that image, I thought about the alternative: imagine the poor person who comes in and blindly sits on this toilet without knowing the odd mechanics involved with this toilet seat.

First, it feels like it’s lined with plastic baggies.

Second, it’s quite likely that it will start moving while the person is sitting on it, since it’s triggered by a motion sensor.

I’m pretty sure that’s the kind of experience psychologists are talking about when they use phrases like “emotionally scarred.”

Now that’ve had a chance to think through it, I hope that the braille on that sign isn’t simply repeating the printed instructions that people can see. Instead, when the toilet seat rotates a seated blind person around it and she sticks out her hands for balance and finds this sign, I hope it says:  You might be disoriented, but at least you’re not sitting in someone else’s pee.

Or maybe even: Carnival ride is over. Please dismount and deposit a nickel in the bin on your right.

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