Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Before 'Packing for Mars' make a quick trip to the wheelchair stall

If I come across grammatical or spelling errors in a book, it becomes really hard for me to read. To me it says bad things about the writer, the editor, whomever. (My excuses for mistakes: I have no editor, this blog is not a professional enterprise, and if I really screw up, it was just a test.)

I am reading a book by Mary Roach called Packing for Mars. I like it, and I have found no spelling or style slips.

But she uses the wheelchair stall.

She is explaining a look of confusion that has been on her face since she used the wheelchair stall, which had all sorts of "levers, toggles, pull-chains. ... I yanked a pull-chain, aiming to flush, and set off the emergency Nurse Call alarm."

She doesn't explain why she was using the wheelchair stall -- maybe the other stalls were filled, maybe she had an injury that required it, maybe she had a child with her and needed the space. She was at the Japanese version of NASA, so maybe JAXA has multiple wheelchair stalls.

But there's the favorite theory of one of my brothers-in-law: Occam's Razor -- the simplest explanation is usually the right one.

And I am afraid that the simplest explanation, backed up too much firsthand experience, is that she probably just used the wheelchair stall without thinking, confident that no one in a chair would need the stall in the moments she was in there.

I am still going to read the book, and I am just going to hope that Occam's Razor is way dull.


Anonymous said...

Maybe she has google alert and will read this and rethink her bathroom stall choices.


Ellen said...

For the record, I have only done it when I have a child in a stroller -- not just a standing child. (This doesn't go for the wheelchair changing rooms which I use at every opportunity.)

Matt Trott said...

Why do you think I put the name of the book in the headline? Probably, though, I should have put her name.

There are wheelchair changing rooms?

Ellen said...

Well...there are wheelchair accessible changing rooms that I am often offered if with a stroller. (And I always accept with teh understanding that I will have to run out half clothes if someone with a legitimate need requires its use.) But get this...the one I was in yesterday had a platform in front of the three way mirror. Hm.

Matt Trott said...

Boy, I cannot recall the last time I was in a changing room,. but it was pre-chair.

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