Here is the scenario.
You are a kid, about eleven years old. It’s summertime, and from the time your mother leaves for work at 7:30 in the morning, until she returns at 5:00 PM, you are unsupervised. The time period is such that you don’t spend your time playing video games and drinking sugar laden energy drinks. Nope, it is a time when kids are outside playing pickup baseball games or exploring the area outside their boundaries on their bicycles.
At some point, you discover that the airport is just a short bike ride south of our your home. You and your best friend Chris head out shortly after the parents head off to their perspective jobs, anxious for your new adventure. There is no TSA, or prohibition on strolling up and down the concourses without a boarding pass. Get through the check point, and the world of airline passengers and jet aircraft is your oyster!
Yes, there was a day when you could wonder the concourses, sample the restaurants, and watch various jet airliners taxi into and away from the jet ways.
There is no sampling of fairs or gift shops, because you’re eleven, and you can’t squeeze two nickels together. In a couple of hours, you will be wishing you could, but for now, water comes out of the drinking fountain, and a Snicker bar is easily snatched when no one is looking.
You steal rides on the skycaps, run through the concourses without a care in the world, and quench your thirst frequently at the drinking fountains strategically place throughout the airport.
Then, out of nowhere the need to go to the bathroom grips you with an urgency that makes your eyes fly open. Did you put too much butter in the fry pan when you made this morning’s egg sandwich?
No worries, bathrooms are everywhere. You have used a couple to drain the bladder. You spot one, walking in a hurried clenched fashion that you are sure everyone recognizes, you hurry to the nearest men’s room.
As you get closer, your control slips, and the urgency mounts. You’re not sure you are going to make it! Almost there!
Then, as you approach the stall you notice something you have seen dozens of times before. Hell, you saw them earlier in the day, when you entered a similar bathroom. The toilet stalls are pay toilets!
For the low, low, price of one measly dime, you can fulfill the call of nature. But you know that there is no silver in your pockets. Nor any of the alloy substitutes that acted as money, even in these sadistic days.
Speaking of sadistic, who the hell charges a dime for the use of a public toilet! The above story is not an actual event. Yes, me and a friend did find our way to the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport on at least one occasion. But my horror at finding out I needed a dime to satisfy nature’s call came during some other misbegotten adventure. Thinking back, the wickedly evil, pay toilet was found in other establishments aside from the airport.