Wednesday, February 14, 2018

H.R. 620, One More Time

Happy Valentine's Day!

I know I just talked about H.R. 620 on Friday (here), and I talked about it a few months ago here, but I realized I never really gave a clear example about why I feel so strongly about this. So I thought I'd tell a story from my DC trip last year to explain.

I talked about going to DC here - it really was a great trip, and the city in general is pretty good with accessibility. But we did run into an issue one night when we went out to dinner. It had been a pretty relaxing day - we went to the National Geographic Museum, and then just planned to walk around a bit before meeting a friend for dinner. We weren't too far from the Washington Monument, so we decided to see if we could make it there before dinner. As many things are in DC, it seemed a lot closer than it actually was - it's so huge that it doesn't seem so far away from a distance - but then you keep walking closer and it seems to stay just as far away! So, we were hurrying to get to the restaurant to make our reservation on time, and didn't have time for a restroom stop before we got there.

Now, for anyone else, this wouldn't be an issue. All normal restaurants have bathrooms for customers! Even Starbucks has bathrooms for customers! And while I had checked to confirm that the restaurant itself was accessible, I hadn't thought to check that they had an accessible bathroom... which, of course, they didn't.

So now, we're in DC, it's time for our dinner reservation, and we're scrambling - pulling out Google Maps on our phones to try to find somewhere nearby (our first search is ALWAYS for a Starbucks. They are consistently one of the most accessible places you can find!). After five or ten minutes of this, and some walking around semi-aimlessly just hoping to run into something, we end up at a T.G.I.Fridays. So, we have to do the awkward thing that restaurants hate, and go in just to use their bathroom, and then head back to our original restaurant to eat. It was annoying, and stressful, and just unnecessary. All of this just to pee!

So that's why I feel so strongly about speaking out against H.R. 620 - because it's things like this that are still my reality, even now. And I really do not want to live in a reality where I have to call ahead everywhere I go to ask about the accessibility of the bathroom - just let me pee in peace!

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