Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Along the Broken White Lines

I'm back home, but not quite back in the groove. I wanted to post a few pics, but I can't find the cable that connects my camera to the computer. So without pictorial accompaniment here are a few random observations I made while on the road.

I'm no economist, but I do know prisons are big business here in Texas. As you travel throughout the state it is common to see the sign, DO NOT PICK UP HITCHHIKERS IN THIS AREA. It seems like one out of every four towns with any size at all has a state prison in it. We have two right here in Amarillo. One of which is named after a former governor,William Clemens. Which brings me to my point.

Who wants a prison named after them? Is it really an honor? Highways, bridges, overpasses I get. But a prison? That has to rank at the very bottom of the honorary totem pole. Just below having a tollway named after you.


Sorry for the confusion over this week's My Town Monday. Next week will be back to normal.


I hate the air hand-dryers in bathrooms. Is a paper towel too much to ask for? A good eighty percent of the roadside bathrooms are nasty enough anyway, but then you got to stand there while lukewarm, recycled bathroom air is blown on your clammy paws. The floor beneath these machines are always stained and nasty from so many dripping hands and I'm always to impatient to wait for my hands to completely dry so I end up finishing the job with the back of my pants. I can live with the smelly dirty yellow urinals, the poorly spelled graffiti message, the John Wayne toilet paper, but for the love of God, give me a paper towel.


Here's a related question that arose on the trip. If you stop and use a business's restroom are you obligated to make a purchase?

I say yes. Our friend who joined us on the trip said no. What say y'all?

More as soo as I find that dang computer cable.


The Anti-Wife said...

I say if you need something the store sells, it's nice to contribute more than just the contents of your bladder to them. However, when you have to go - you have to go - whether you buy something or not.

David said...

Oh, yes, I strongly agree about paper towels. I hate those hot-air blowers.

Brooke said...

I always at least try to buy a soda or something. If it is a full out food service operation I say that a purchase is necessary.

Unless they have a hot air blower in the bathroom...then you should just steal something on the way out.

Ello said...

I always buy something when I use a businesses' restroom. And I actually carry napkins, paper towels in my bag for exactly this reason!

Hope you had a great time!

WordVixen said...

the poorly spelled graffiti message

Clearly, you do not frequent the public restrooms that I do. :-D

1. Totally with you on the paper towels. My preference is for the people that put both air dryers and paper towels in restrooms. Though I give a vote of coolness to the air dryers that practically blow your skin off.

I do the same thing by the way, but it's embarrassing to walk out with wet pants.

2. If it's a small/privately owned shop, then I say it's polite to at least look around. Actual restaurant? I usually appologize profusely and try to tip someone- unless no one notices that I'm even there. If it's a chain store/gas station/McDonald's- no big whoop.

3. Interesting. Everyone seems to have lost their camera cables recently. Is this a conspiracy? Are little gnomes sneaking out at night and eating them? Or collecting them to hold the entire blogging world at ransom? Could make for an interesting story.

Mom In Scrubs said...

I hate air dryers. Sacrifice a tree or deplete the ozone? It's a toss-up so give both options. I've even gone in and gotten a portion of the industrial-strength TP to dry my hands with instead of hassling with the blowdryers!

And yes, I think you should purchase something. A drink, a pack of gum, something. If it's anything higher-end, then at least feign interest.

deborah elliott-upton said...

I'm just happy you're washing your hands. :-) Hey, you're using the facilities someone else has to clean and pay for said supplies, someone has to pay the ulitily bills for the room, someone is paying for the toliet paper whether it is or not your choice type, someone is paying for that insepid dryer, too. And let's not forget the rent for the whole store, which in this economy is ridiculous. I say we owe them something for the convenience. For Pete's sake, buy a Coke or something. Do unto others, folks.

Penelope said...

In all honesty, I'd rather have a prison named after William Clements than a school.

Did you realize he was still alive? I just looked him up and he's like ninety.

Hope your trip went well. You should have traveled further south another five hours-- we've had great weather the last couple of days.


alex keto said...

It's a weird deal that our country which prides itself so much on freedom manages to throw more people in prison than any other western nation and not by a small margin but a really wide margin. We're up there in the big leagues with only countries like China being even close to us.

I don't really know why this is happening although jackass ideas like zero tolerance are, in part, to blame.

Anyway, it's too bad and maybe the country will be able to find it's way back to finding solutions to problems other than throwing people in jail.

Phats said...

Totally with ya I hate hand dryers they suck!

Brackets are up, best of luck.

Did Nebraska make the NIT?

Sam said...

Prisons are big business.
I read in the NY Times (or Washington Post) that 1 out of 100 adults were in prison in the US. It's the highest percentage of incarcerated people of any country in the world.
So business is booming!

The Duck said...

Hmm, I'm not sure that you're obligated to make a purchase if you use someone's restroom, but maybe you're obligated to at least take a look around as if you were thinking about making a purchase and then decided against it. You know, just to make the whole thing more plausible. That way, if they confront you, you have the out of, "Hey, you don't stock Brillo pads! It's not my fault!"

This of course does not apply to stopping and using a McDonald's restroom, or any other fast food "restaurant", as of course they are all demonic corporations, and you are making a statement by copping a squat and then leaving without contributing to their evil empire. Bonus points for not flushing.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

I sometimes try to buy something, but if it's one of my kids in an emergency, then screw it. It's human kindness to let someone go. Besides, the folks who work at most of those convenience stores aren't owners and could care less.

Bina said...

I agree. Having a prison named after you just CAN'T be a good thing.

I also agree on not stopping at a business to pee and not buy anything. I have no idea why. No one ever told me the proper Etiquette on this, but I always imagine going in to use the bathroom, and then as I'm walking out the door, I hear someone yell "Oh, so we're good enough for you pee in, but not buy anything from, huh?"

I would just die!

Charles Gramlich said...

Hum, I'd rather have the blowers than the paper towels. If people threw them away right that would be one thing, but they scatter 'em everywhere over the floor and I find it rather disgusting.

There's a prison along the road that I always take to go home to Arkansas and it's weird seeing those signs about hitchhikers.

Glad you made it home safe.

Lana Gramlich said...

Considering how corporate Amerika is selling the global environment down the river so that a few self-important idiots can line their pockets with the illusionary power of "money," no. They can kiss my fat @$$.
If it's a small/local business, however, I'll try to get at least a soda or a bag of chips. By the time I stop for a bathroom break I often need a snack, anyway.
Ultimately it's up to the business whether or not they'll leave the bathrooms open for public use, of course. If not then yes, you clearly have to buy something.

Danette Haworth said...

I would buy a red Sharpie so I could edit the graffiti.

Melissa Marsh said...

On my trips along I-80 in Nebraska, I think I've stopped at a few places that say, "Restrooms for customers ONLY." So I always make sure and buy something.

I use the back of my pants, too, because I can't stand those stupid blow dryers. They probably are more eco-friendly than paper towels, though. And those old towel dryers? URGH. We had those in school. I can just imagine how many nasty germs were on that endless towel.

Glad you're back. :-)

Debbielou said...

Glad that you had a good break.

I prefer hand towels - I always use one to open the external door with - to avoid getting somebody else's unwashed toilet hand germs on my clean hands !

Yes I think you should buy something too

Josephine Damian said...

I'm with AW, when you gotta go...

Screw them for wanting you to buy something.

I think those air blowers are to enhance sanitation, but I never thought about how much longer they make you linger in the public loo, which cannot be sanitary....

Josephine Damian said...

FYI: I used to take a lot of road trip and found that the Pilot gas stations have the cleanest bathrooms.

Britta Coleman said...

I always try to buy something, too. A pack of gum, a diet coke, beef jerkey.

Amen on the paper towels. I have to think that the amount of energy wasted in those air dryers would justify a small recycled paper good. And it definitely helps avoid the I-just-wiped-my-hands-on-my-pants look.

Skiingred said...

Where can I get some John Wayne TP?

I say yes to your query... unless it's designated as a public restroom, at least by a candy bar or a pop.

I wouldn't want someone coming into my home just to use the bathroom, but I'd probably let them if they left me some currency - for example, John Wayne toilet paper (unused of course) in exchange.

Reid said...

I always buy something when I stop to go to the bathroom. It's usually a big 32oz Coke, which starts the process all over again.

And I sure wouldn't want a prison, fat farm, or methadone clinic named after me. You know what naming conventions always bothered me? Memorial hospitals. I'd rather go somewhere that kept people alive, rather than just honored them postmortem.

AaroN said...

Absolutely on both counts!

Paper towels and purchasing something from the business. I bet he doesn't let strangers poop in his can and leave just because the door is open...