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The front desk girl looked like she was doing this as an after-school project. I waited while she signed off on her cell phone, growing more irritable by the minute.

With a final “Really, Casey, I have a customer so I got to go!” she planted a sweet smile on her face and proceeded to book me in.

She apologized that the only nonsmoking king that they had remaining was Room 105. I was a little surprised that I was creating any reservation problem at all as the parking lot was holding only two cars — my rental and a heavily bumper-stickered Honda that I presumed belonged to Casey’s pal. And I was puzzled as to the reason this room required an apology.

105 turned out to be the handicapped-accessible accommodation at the Jameson Inn. At first I thought it was kind of cool, with its spacious layout and truly expansive bathroom. It felt like I had been assigned their version of a suite.

Apparently, expecting their guests to maneuver a wheelchair about the room caused the designers to leave ample passage between the bed, bureau, table and chairs. I decided that I could easily drop down and do a few calisthenics in these comparatively broad aisles.

In the restroom, I found the familiar high profile throne that one usually finds in the handicap stalls. It takes a little practice to comfortably conduct business after scaling this porcelain commode. But soon I sat there, up on my magisterial perch and surveyed my gigundo bathroom. In this pensive moment, I came to the realization that anyone shorter than me could probably swing their feet about while engaged in nature’s calling.

But the joy I felt ensconced in this regal setting was set aside when I climbed into the tub for my morning shower. There I found a shower nozzle that was positioned perfectly if my noggin was protruding from my navel. I contorted into the smallest stature possible and let the warm water blast the back of skull.

Before long, I concluded that there had to be another angle on this showering thing and eventually I figured out that the device was detachable. Unaccustomed as I was to its portability, I managed to spray the entire bathroom while attempting to simply rinse my hair. I never did get complete command of this infernal tool, so my routine shower took about twice as long to finish. On the upside, its flexibility allowed certain clandestine parts of my body to rejoice in the novelty of being reached by the hot water jets spewing about. Before wrapping up, I grabbed the shower head in both hands, yelled “freeze!” and blasted my carry-on appropriately sized mini-bottle of shampoo out onto the slick bathroom floor.

As I stepped onto the ceramic floor, my feet slipped and my hands flew out to grasp one of the nearby railings. This saved me from an embarrassing catastrophe but my naked hip still thudded into the toilet that I now considered way too large for these confines.

When I checked out, the morning attendant made the customary inquiry, “Was everything all right with your room?”

I replied, “No. You gave me a handicap accessible room do you realize how dangerous that was?” Alarmed at not receiving a perfunctory response, she apologized and rushed to get my bill before I complained further. As I walked out, I turned and casually mentioned, “Oh yeah, and the floor might be a little wet.”

Gary Atkinson is 52, divorced and remarried. He has four children from 27 to 9 and has been living in Townsend for over a year. Working at Bemis in Shirley for 22 years, he’s active in his children’s activities, his wife’s busy shopping calendar and dodging contact with his ex. Gary can be reached at

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