Sunday, January 25, 2015

The People Watcher's Public Toilet: Sulphur Springs, TX

I have issues.  Bathroom issues.  I have been married 27 years and I get irritated if David is in the bedroom when I am in the bathroom.  And it doesn't matter what I am doing in there.  I could be curling my hair or brushing my teeth and I would still be annoyed.  I need privacy.  I not only close the door but I also lock it even when no one is home. 

But earlier this year I jumped off of a trapeze platform, something I was sure I would be afraid to do so in the continuing spirit of conquering fears, I decide to check out the unique public bathroom in the town square in Sulphur Springs, Texas.

Sulphur Springs a small town (population about 15k as of the last census) east of Dallas but it is far enough out that I wouldn't call it a suburb.  I started out the day in Plano (north of Dallas) and drove to Whitehouse where I spent the day.  On the way back to the Dallas area, I decide it isn't terribly out of the way to run by Sulphur Springs.

It isn't exactly on the way either.  But this side trip will take me down lots of back roads and I will never be required to drive on 635/LBJ which I am very happy about.  Even when I lived here I hated driving on LBJ.  It is perpetually under construction and people drive like maniacs.  I thought I would have a nervous breakdown on the way out of town this morning.  So, for me, Sulphur Springs is decidedly on the way.
There isn't a lot to see driving between Whitehouse and Sulphur Springs.  It is a lot like driving the back roads of Montana near where I live only it is flatter with less snow and more rebel flags.  I did pass through Lindale, the hometown of Miranda Lambert, a fact you will know they are quite proud of when you get there.  I am always on the lookout for a photo op but this route is woefully lacking.
I did stop to take a picture of this shining example of country ingenuity.  I bet these mailboxes don't succumb to high winds.  Or teenagers with baseball bats.
I am not 100% sure where the bathroom is so I have my GPS take me downtown.  Sulphur Springs is the county seat for Hopkins County.
There is a typical town square for this part of Texas (reminds me of Waxahachie or McKinney) with the courthouse in the center surrounded by antique shops and restaurants.  There are veterans monuments placed around the courthouse square and it is very clean and well maintained.
There are several places on the square to stop and have lunch or a game of chess.
Including two large chess boards on the ground.  I am slightly surprised that no one has run off with any of these large chess pieces.  While I am considering the next move, I realize I have found the bathroom.
That mirrored box is it.  There are actually two of them, the other one is identical and just across the square.
You cannot see inside from out here but I didn't consider whether someone was INSIDE watching me before I started taking pictures.  Luckily, no one was. 
This is the same chess set from INSIDE the bathroom.  You can see very clearly in all directions.  All the way to the courthouse steps even.
It is clean but industrial inside.
There is information on the web that says there are police monitored cameras in the square to make sure no one does anything to deface the restrooms or to do something to see inside like shine lasers or other kinds of penetrating lights.  I assume to document stolen chess pieces too. 
I stand around inside trying to decide.  Do I?
But then I notice this.  That is a seam between the glass door and the panel that holds it.  It has some weather stripping but still.  Someone could see through that.  It makes no difference that from both inside and outside of the bathroom I can see that there is no other person on foot in the entire square.
Of course that only occurs to me later - when I am well down the road - that if someone had been trying to sneak a peek I would have seen them coming well before their eyeball was trained on me through this tiny crack. 
I go back to my car and text David and send him pictures of the inside and outside.  "I don't think I could go in there" he replies.  I respond, "I went in there but I didn't GO in there."  No fears were conquered in Sulphur Springs.
Time to move along as I am due at a play in Richardson - about an hour and half away - and I have just enough time to get there.  About 30 minutes down the road I am wishing I had been a big girl and gone to the bathroom when I had a chance. 
Driving the Texas back roads isn't always easy for someone with bathroom issues who has had 3 people use her bladder for a waterbed for 9 months apiece.  How much further is it to Richardson?

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