I am the toilet guru. No really I am. Any place I have been the places that have facilities are imprinted forever. I know where there are friendly coffee shops, department stores, public loos. My standards are low. You won’t hear me say”I’m not going in there’. Well there has been once in Charles De Gaulle Etoile RER station, one of those automatic push the button to go in ones so popular in France. It was so bad. But generally, if I have to go then I have to go. It hurts not to go, like really, really hurts.
So you learn to walk into coffee shops and fast food restaurants and pubs, head held high with purpose and walk straight to the loos. You learn that at service stations on British motorways, it is quicker to follow signs for fuel as there is always a toilet there and you can park closer to the building and you don’t have to walk all the way through the plethora of shops and eateries to the furthest point of the services to get to the toilet.
Always have a pack of tissues for the no loo paper scenario. And if there is a queue then I don’t feel guilty to use the disabled loo, I may not be eligible for a blue badge, I may not have a mobility problem but this condition is an invisible disability. I have noticed that more disabled loos have the tag line that not all disabilities are visible which is helpful.
I will ask in a shop without a public toilet if I can’t be sure of where the nearest public toilet is and some shop staff are really lovely. Petrol stations in the UK very often have public loos so if you stop at one and it doesn’t then generally they will let you use the staff one after an explanation of the problem.
It can be a big barrier doing things when you never know how frequently you might need the toilet and where the next loo might be. Building up a mental map of how to get around the problem and having the confidence to ask is essential in life with IC. So I continue to build my toilet guru skills. I should start a toilet rating, a IC friendly point system. France would score badly but that is another post by itself.