Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Stuck in Batman’s Bathroom

Filed under: Accessibility 100 — by at 5:28 pm on Monday, June 8, 2009

Partying in Batman's bedroom atop Hotel 71, overlooking downtown Chicago

Accessibility 100Friday evening during SOBCon: Biz School for Bloggers found us partying in the movie Dark Knight’s location used for Batman’s bedroom, which had a great view of Gotham City, also known as downtown Chicago.

Glenda Watson Hyatt and Chris Brogan
(Photo credit: Duong Shehan)

Sitting with chaplain Jon Swanson and watching the many words happening around us, I gave him cause to pause and reflect when I asked: how many were actually meaningful? Culture smith Cheryl Smith kindly helped me with a Klondike Bar – the official snack of Liz Strauss’ Open Mic Nights. And, Chris Brogan and I shared a moment over a rum and coke. Quite a fulfilling networking session, I’d say!

Bean Fairs and Mark Carter discussing ideas

Sunday morning found us back in Batman’s bedroom to do some masterminding for SOBCon’s fantastic sponsors. Our task was to come up with ways for the sponsors to use social media to begin a social conversation about their products or services.

All that I can say is that the sponsors definitely need social media guru Mark Carter! What better way to start a conversation than with laughter. Both Mark and I were laughing so hard that we both had tears streaming down our faces. Everyone else was wondering what was going on at our table.

The session ended none too soon! After laughing so much, I really had to use the bathroom. Thankfully there was an accessible washroom right there. (In other big fancy hotel top floor ballrooms I’ve had to go all the way back down to the lobby to find the accessible washroom.)

batmanbathroomI drove straight in to the bathroom (rough sketch to the right), but even with my scooter nose right against the far wall, the door wouldn’t close. I backed up and tried pulling in beside the toilet. However, a small table and waste paper basket were next to the toilet – dumb place to put them! I was able to squeeze my scooter in between the table and toilet, barely. But now the metal garbage can was at risk – and I couldn’t reach it to move out of the way. It was either the garbage can or a dire consequence.

Sadly, Batman’s stylish metal waste paper basket was round no more!

Then, because I had to drive into the bathroom on an angle, my scooter was wedged in between the toilet and the closed door.  There was no point hollering for help because the door couldn’t be opened. There I was, after successfully trekking all the way to Harpo Studios alone, stuck in Batman’s bathroom! it took me ten minutes of going back and forth to straighten out my scooter enough to back up to the sink.

Note to establishment owners: in accessible washroom, please keep the open space beside the toilet open. This space is necessary for parking the wheelchair.

LIz, Terry, my apologies if SOBCon was charged extra for a vandalized garbage can! I’ll pay for it.

Accessibility 100 is a series of 100 easy-to-implement, free and inexpensive tips for improving accessibility for people with disabilities. This is a community project. Feel free to leave your comments, questions and ideas for future Accessibility 100 posts.

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Comment by Jon Swanson

June 8, 2009 @ 7:05 pm

I’m still thinking about our conversation. Thanks.

Comment by MOM

June 8, 2009 @ 7:52 pm

Thanks for making me laugh! We have shared many of these adventures over the years.I think this one is right up there at the top. This one ties with Finland 1985. Maybe someday architects and designers will give up their templates and actually try out some of these facilities. I’m still giggling. MOM

Comment by Glenda

June 8, 2009 @ 8:56 pm

Mom, yes, we’ve had our adventures! Teetering on 2x4s in the “Plastic Palace” ranks right up there! Thanks for the valuable lesson “Oh, just hang onto the air!” I’ve used it many times.

How long have we been at this, Mom? And they still don’t get it! I probably have enough content for an entire blog on “accessible” bathrooms. Wonder if Crane or American Standard would sponsor it. Hmm.

Comment by Marti_L

June 8, 2009 @ 9:27 pm

Oh Glenda, I have been waiting to hear this story since you mentioned it at an Open Mike Night! You make me smile, even while I feel such great sympathy for your predicament. Thank you for sharing and I hope the designers of accessible restrooms take heed!

Comment by Mary

June 8, 2009 @ 9:31 pm

I wish I could’ve made it to SOBCon to meet everyone in person! At least you were finally able to get into the bathroom, if not get out!

Most people just don’t seem to think about things that they have no first or second-hand experience with; or it’s all ‘by the book’ rather than using common sense. As a kid I worked in a nursing home; that was my first encounter with accessibility needs of a mostly elderly population and one resident with CP. Early in our adult lives my husband drove a wheelchair van in Boston and we volunteered at a CP activity center one night a week. Much later my own mom was confined to a wheelchair. We now own a restaurant and I’m happy to say that we’re fully accessible – not according to us, but our many patrons who have not only complimented us but showed their appreciation by returning time and again. No stairs/ramps, chairs (rather than booths) that are easily relocated to make room for a wheelchair/scooter, and a wide, clear path to the bathroom with plenty of room to ride in circles if you’d like.

Maybe you should write an article that could be placed in a professional journal for architects – explaining the common sense issues around planning? And then a second one for the hospitality industry to make sure service workers in hotels, restaurants, and other public facilities know why it’s important that objects not be placed in certain spots that were meant to remain clear!

Comment by Lillie Ammann

June 8, 2009 @ 10:46 pm


It sounds a wonderful networking time.

I can so sympathize with your bathroom experience. I spent five years on a scooter after my stroke, and I’ve had many of those kinds of experiences. Not as many as you’ve had being in a chair much longer, but enough to empathize with you.

Comment by Terry Starbucker

June 9, 2009 @ 7:40 am

No worries my dear, I haven’t seen a bill yet for that garbage can! 🙂

It was so good to have you with us this year – you are a joy whose smile never failed to kick my spirits up even higher than they normally are.

See you next year- and on Oprah, too! 🙂

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