A few months ago, I was selected to be in a focus group. Yea, you heard me right – focus group. About the LIRR. Specifically, their bathrooms.
Yahtzee. As we’ve discussed in the past, the Long Island Railroad – while vastly impressive in the number of people it hauls to and from the great City of New York, leaves a lot to be desired.
Some of the issues with the LIRR are not railroad problems – they’re people problems. I could talk for days…and days…and days…about some of the freaks I’ve encountered during my 10 years (and counting) commuting from different areas of the Island into the City. I’d type them all out, but I’m already terrified I’m going to get carpal tunnel, I know that will 100% push me over the edge.
I digress. Focus, on the focus group. Now, I’ve never participated in a focus group before – at least not a real one. Telling everyone my opinion regardless of them wanting it can sometimes be considered “rude” or “annoying” (HELPFUL). These people want to hear what I have to say, and they’re going to PAY me for it. Effn. Awesome.
There was one caveat. We had to actually use the rest room in Penn Station and on the train before going to the group.
If anyone has ridden any train, or been in Penn Station, you know these are two places you do NOT want to go. Especially not as a woman. During rush hour. Does it count if I sneak into Penn at 4am and go then?
My first stop was the restroom at Penn. Now, I’m a bit of a germ freak, and I have a phobia of public bathrooms. I hate them. I hate the floors being sticky, I hate other people hearing me pee, I hate the thought of all the heineys that aren’t mine this toilet bowl has seen, I hate the idea I may or may not have toilet paper in the stall when I’m ready to go. I mean – there’s a lot more that I can’t stand about public bathrooms, so this is the just the tip of the iceberg.
In any event, I’m not expecting much from this restroom (boy did they deliver!), but I am keeping in mind the fact that the restroom services so many people a day…it truly does have a very hefty job to accomplish. With an open mind, I wait on the oddly long line for the ladies room (slightly before rush hour… I can only make so much progress in a week, guys). As I approach the front of the line, I notice an entire wing of the ladies room not being used. And a bathroom attendant leaning against the wall looking at her phone. Word, I’ll go back here.
If you think public bathrooms are terrifying, public bathrooms with little light are even more terrifying. Or better, I guess, because you can’t really see whats going on…so I rush in and out, careful not to touch anything…spraying hand sanitizer in front of me on the way out to block me from any airbornes…and walk directly into a homeless woman (I assume) washing her feet in the sink.
I’m out. Sorry.
The one on the train…well. I guess I’ll save that for another day.