SCENARIO: You park in the disabled spot at a take-out place. A family of five or more parks after you do. It takes you so long to get out of your vehicle that they all walk in before you despite parking farther away and unloading personnel. The last one maybe holds the door for you. You then stand in line behind all of them while they order. Key word there: STAND. Substitute: see how long you can stand there until the pain gets too much.
SCENARIO: You are hobbling toward the bathroom as fast as you can. An able bodied woman walks quickly past you. She enters the bathroom, rejects all of the standard toilets, and takes the disabled one. You arrive in time to hear her tinkling/crapping/getting onto Facebook, and wait.
[When I first became disabled, I used to step outside to wait. I felt like it was rude to stand right there next to the door pressuring someone to get out of the toilet, plus it’s TMI. I had the above scenario and stepped outside the door to wait, thinking to go back in when she came out. Another able-bodied woman entered the bathroom and they apparently crossed paths, because the second one also took the disabled stall. I wait inside now.]
SCENARIO:You are a person who appears generally more or less able bodied, but has extensive pain, can’t stand or walk for very long, and needs extra space and hand rails to get up and down from a toilet.
You walk into a bathroom, needing to pee. As you enter, you see however many open stalls — four, six, more sometimes — and exactly one stall that you can use. That stall is in use. So you wait.
It’s both lucky and unlucky if the person in there isn’t even toileting, just messing with her cell phone, taking some “me” time in the executive lounge. It’s lucky in that listening to someone grunt, and smelling the results while you stand and stare at a row of empty toilets you cannot use (while your pain ratchets up like the tick of a clock) wondering what her timeframe might be, is less preferable generally overall IMHO.
It’s less fortunate because even the most paint-peeling, entire-orchard-fertilizing dump is probably quicker than if she’s, for example, one of the able-bodied woke baes of Jezebel, who may have brought her lunch in there. Then you must either find another facility or actually confront a stranger in a public toilet.
You say several times, “Excuse me, ma’am? Are you going to be long?” She doesn’t answer beyond occasionally sighing and moaning in a way that doesn’t seem like she’s either in distress or masturbating. Is she deaf? 100 years old? Non-English speaking, doesn’t get that you’re talking to her? You hear rustling, but no flush. She steps out, and is taken aback to see you standing there glaring. She is on the phone; that sound was her “mm-hm” while her friend yakked. She didn’t hear you when you used your inside voice in the tiny room. She didn’t know you were there.
YOU: (Obviously angry) The disabled toilet is for disabled people.
HER: (Into phone, over her shoulder) Some bitch, who knows. Anyway —
You immediately think of at least three ways to do so as she walks past, and nobody’s looking, but you are not allowed to kill her with your cane under Virginia law. You really, really need to both pee and sit down. What do you do?