It isn't often that a senator changes how I see the physical
world, but Larry Craig did.
Connecting through the Minneapolis airport for the first
time since his arrest, I had to use the facilities, and wondered, "Is this
the one?" They should put up a plaque. Or name it the Larry Craig Memorial
After sitting down, I became hyper-aware of my surroundings,
now that I knew the secret foot-tapping codes. Not wanting to inadvertently
create an incident, I kept looking at the sides of the stalls and worrying that
if I sat slightly too widely, the vice cops would come charging in.
Then I realized that I'd have to sit painfully widely to reach
someone else's stall. And without gorilla arms, it would take a contortionist
to reach beneath the divider accidentally.
With my newfound awareness I've noticed the same in other
restrooms as well. In fact, in three decades of flying and using airport men's
rooms, no one has ever reached under my stall. Reassured, I'm now able to do my
business as usual and head off for my flights.
I do want the problem to be solved, however, since our
restrooms need to be made safe for democracy. I hear the Minneapolis airport is
now stepping up to the task by overhauling
the suspect men's room stalls, spending $25,000 to install extended metal dividers
that will shave nine inches off the current foot-high gap. But I have a cheaper
solution: Why not just place some stickers saying "No Republican
Senators?" That would solve the problem.
Rogat Loeb is the author of "The Impossible Will Take a Little Whil"e
and "Soul of a Citizen." See www.paulloeb.org.