Every day I drive northwest on US 290 out of Houston. And every day I pass the same billboards advertising the usual: sequined girls with silicone breasts inviting me to a “Gentleman’s Club,” vasectomy reversals, bail bonds, gated communities. But one really intrigues me: “AWESOME RESTROOMS!” screams the billboard for the Speedy Stop on FM 1960 (and why do I hear Super Dell’s voice like a ghost from Utah past every time I see that thing?). Part of me wants to take a short detour over there to see exactly what constitutes an awesome bathroom.
The bathrooms in my building are pretty nice—polished terrazo floors, marble countertops, brass fittings—but they’re not awesome. At the Express Mart near the place I’m staying, the bathrooms are “no touch” facilities. The toilets flush themselves, the sink turns on when you put your hand beneath the faucet, and the hand dryer works the same way. The only problem is that you have to open the door, and half the people who have touched the door handle have not washed their hands, thus defeating the purpose of the touchless restroom. Yeah, it’s kind of cool, but still not awesome.
They have nice bathrooms in the Houston temple. The floors are white and gray marble; there are plenty of towels, lotions, and soaps (even after shave occasionally); and each stall is equipped with a plastic shelf just the right size for “the packet.” Of course, since many of the patrons are elderly, those bathrooms get kind of dirty quickly, making them definitely not awesome.
So, what is it that makes the Speedy Stop’s bathrooms awesome? Maybe I’ll stop in tomorrow on my way home and find out. What could it be? Heated toilet seats? Bidets (we used to tell new missionaries those were drinking fountains)? I don’t know. Could be anything. Or not.