Saturday, April 23, 2005

Celebrity Powder Room

Just over a month ago, a filming crew came to our school to film some scenes of a pilot for a TV show. All kinds of rumors were flying around the school about who was in it and what it would be about. It drove home to me how racist American TV is because they brought in droves of cute happy white high school kids to play the high school kids--not a single member of our largely black population made the cut, even though we've got cute happy kids too. But this posting is not going to bemoan racism in major network television. I'm writing about the magic transformation of the women's faculty restroom.

The women's faculty restroom has two stalls of disproportionate size. I think one is supposed to be wheelchair ready, but you'd have to be an acrobat to actually wheel a chair into it. It has its own sink inside. The other stall is built with wall all around and has a real door, but the sink is on the outside. At some point in the past, the art teacher put a couple of abandoned student canvases inside to decorate, and I think someone put a fake flower in a vase full of marbles inside too.

When the film crew came, dramatic changes happened in the large wheelchair-ready stall. Most notably, a bathmat appeared on the floor. A big, loopy, sky blue one. And up on the shelf a nice selection of beauty products appeared: mostly various lotions and a tube of petroleum jelly. Our lowly faculty restroom had become Powder Room to the Stars!

The film crew left, but the restroom improvements stayed. Over the next month, they became commonplace: something to chortle about silently in the back of my mind as I took care of business. All this until I walked in yesterday to find more "improvements": Ladies Home Journal next to the lotions and paper towels, a new tube of hair goo to keep us from unsightly female baldness, and a bathmat in front of the other sink. Finally, after a month of inequality, users of the walled-in stall are free of the burden of shame of actually standing on the ground.

Equality for all.

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