Shelter Island Town Council has approved the installation of a public restroom on Bridge Street in the little parking lot by the town dock. It’s about time. As far as I know, the only public restrooms for visitors now are the ones located at the ferries. Two public facilities for the whole Island isn’t enough. Thank goodness there will be a new one in the middle of the Island. I hate it when I have to buy something just to gain access to a restroom, it seems so unfair.
I hope the new facility stays nice and graffiti-free, for a while at least. It’s funny, when I was younger, graffiti didn’t annoy me. In fact, it was like the ticker that runs along the bottom of the screen on CNN giving you a stream of news.
Graffiti, at least in the girl’s bathrooms, would inform you of who was dating whom, usually encased in a lovely heart motif. You’d learn whose boyfriend was cheating and was now on the death list. Often there was amusing poetry. Once in awhile a profound quote from someone whose existential angst was sated with a Sharpie marker on the wall of a stall, showing the true depth of her enlightenment.
But some restrooms can be an emotional experience. My all-time favorite public restroom was the women’s lounge in I. Magnin in San Francisco. You walked into a beautifully furnished, spacious lounge with plush furniture. The bathroom stalls were floor-to-ceiling green marble. You stepped into a roomy stall and closed this polished, cool, stone door behind you. It was sound proof. Plus each stall had all the female amenities you could imagine. It was a spiritual experience every time. If I could’ve had Chinese food delivered there, I would have moved in.
I always appreciated restrooms with a changing table. When you’re wrangling babies, having that shelf to change a diaper is a godsend. My favorite restrooms are the ones marked, “Family Restroom.” That means there’s room for everybody and you don’t have to leave the kids outside and hope they don’t wander off or get abducted while you’re in the bathroom. Well, that’s what most people hoped. But for me, my kids were always there when I came out, I’ve just never been lucky.
I’m hoping the Town puts in a Family Restroom at the dock, but Island-style, well ventilated, with sand on the floor and blue and green colors and the traditional shell designs here and there. Something nice for tourists and others to use that is reliably clean.
Yup, life gets better on the Island every day.