Innocence Lost

So there I was, entering the public restroom stall (don’t worry, we’re not heading into TMI territory here), and as I closed the door, I scanned it for the purse-hook.  I don’t know if these are in the guy’s bathroom, but nearly every ladies room stall used to have a hook on the back of the door for us to hang our purses, coats, or children.  But in recent years – ok, the last fifteen or more – I’ve noticed those hooks disappearing.  And in their place, sometimes I see a sign, “be careful where you place your purse, it could get snatched!”


And then I remember… many years ago, there was an Urban Legend that went around saying that ladies that hung their purses on those little hooks would get them snatched by bandits who lurked in bathrooms, waiting for an unsuspecting victim to hang her purse then sit down.  The bandit would then race down the line, snatching purses over the tops of the doors, and make off with his booty (it was always a guy – who wouldn’t notice a GUY lurking in the corner of the ladies’ room???), never to be seen again.  Shortly after that legend circulated, hooks were still on the backs of the doors, but now they were in the middle of the door, not up near the top.  Ok, fine, whatever.  Still a hook, I’m happy.  Then the hooks disappeared, replaced by this stupid little springy-shelf-thing that, if your purse wasn’t heavy enough – and mine generally wasn’t – would launch your purse into the next stall, possibly knocking out the nice blue haired old lady who had just gotten HER purse precariously balanced on HER springy-shelf.  And then those disappeared, too, and were replaced by the levitating plastic child seat.  I never used those, for the record.  Josh hated that flip-down diaper changing thing, so I wasn’t even gonna try that strap-in chair.

But the point is, the stuff is gone.  Now I go into a stall – with a considerably larger purse, these days – and there’s no place to put it.  No hook.  No flippy shelf.  Sometimes not even that child seat.  And certainly no toilet tank.  I don’t want to put the purse on the floor – eew – so I end up hanging it around my neck.  Which just opens up another can of worms for another day.

So here’s my question, after all this ranting… what other “for granted” things have disappeared or been altered because of Urban Legends?  Or because of over-reactions to actual, but very isolated, incidents?  (Because it turns out that there really was a purse-snatcher who ran through the ladies room grabbing purses.  In San Francisco.  In 1994.  And fourteen purses got snatched.  And yeah, I know, that totally blows my entire rant out of the water.  But not the question.  So answer that and ignore the rest.)

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14 Responses to Innocence Lost

  1. SKL says:

    I think the whole business of not being able to let kids under 14 do anything without adult supervision is the worst casualty.

    I know a lot of stuff happens. Heck, most of it happened to me or a close family member. And it’s horrible. But is it really worse than never being able to go anywhere without a leash or a hidden camera on you the whole time? I don’t understand how kids grow up without ever having the freedom to make a bad decision and experience a real-life consequence.

    As for the bathroom, I hate how some bathrooms don’t have any paper towels and you can’t turn on the water without having your hands positioned in exactly the right place under the fawcet. Do you know how inconvenient that is when you have little kids in tow? I guess you do. I guess you could say this was due to the urban legend that says the least exposure to germs is going to make us all develop incurable venereal diseases and so on.

    Another thing that really ticks me off is the child restraint stuff. When I was a kid / young adult, it was understood that shoulder belts weren’t necessary on the backseat and most cars didn’t have them. Now, most cars do have them, but they are unsafe for kids. So now every kid up to age 8 (or some “equivalent” weight/height) has to be in a booster seat, to counter the unsafeness of the backseat shoulder belts, which I never wanted in the first place. Why can’t we just opt out of the dang shoulder belts?

    The whole car seat thing has really gotten out of hand. I understand it’s usually safer and all that. But nowadays, we have do-gooders who think it’s their duty to call and report anyone who isn’t properly using a child restraint, no matter what the reason. Got an emergency, car is in the shop, gotta get the kids to school? Expect a visit from DCS. I mean, these people work themselves into hysterics. They are convinced that a one-mile car ride outside of a child harness is going to result in death. When I was a kid, we didn’t even think about seat belts. Just pile into the backseat, and don’t holler at your siblings too loud or Dad will stop the car and beat everyone. (Yeah, we used the word “beat” in those days, another completely distorted term in modern vocabulary.)

    And don’t even get me started on e-check. Do you have e-check in your neck of the woods? Talk about an urban legend.

  2. javajunkee says:

    omg I am headed out the door so I am sure this will be full when I get home..but good rant. I HATE that purse in the bathroom thing. There are some little fold up hooks that you can get somewhere..they go in your purse and (like we 47 year old bladder filled women have time to take it out..unfold it and then place the purse on it…..whatever) anyhow that looks like a handy gadget if you’ve got the stamina to hold 5 cups of coffee back while you get it ready for your purse!

    I will be back and am anxious to see the comments on this thread… GOOD POST!!!!!

  3. Joy says:

    First off, e check?? What is that? I’m afraid I’m not familiar.

    I agree with SKL on a lot of things she mentioned. I really miss that kids can’t really be kids anymore. We had a question of the day not long ago about what we had that kids today don’t and I said freedom. Kids now, you practically have to chain them to your leg if you take them anywhere and I’m not sure why. What are we afraid of? God forbid they aren’t right in our sight. I’ve been guilty of it too but I’m with my grandchildren and not my own and it’s somehow different. I remember when my kids were 8 or 9 and we’d go to a store like Target and off they’d go and I’d meet them in the toys when I was done shopping. Can you even imagine doing that now???

    I also agree with her about the car seat and things like bike helmets and all the child safety stuff there is now that I think is so unnecessary. I can’t even open a damned bottle of bleach with those “safety” caps on everything!!!! Kids are still in “car seats” and when I was their age I was riding my bike 3 miles to go to the park and meet up with friends. Kids today I feel have a very different disadvantage but I’m not sure what the answer to that is. The other disadvantage, in my opinion is they are a lot more immature later in life that we were. I mean some kids are being treated like toddlers, don’t know how to open a can of soup or feed themselves and I was out earning money baby-sitting other kids at their age. I think a lot of it is sad. They don’t get taught to leave the nest until they are being pushed out of it and a lot of kids I know don’t have a clue what to do.

    One thing I really miss that’s not around anymore are the soda fountains in stores. I used to love our drug store. Go in and go shopping and have a burger, fries and cherry coke. Stores don’t seem to do that anymore and it’s something I really miss. I know mom and pop places are a thing of the past too but I really miss those places.

    About the restrooms, sorry. I don’t use public restrooms and the thought of one makes me break out into a tizzy and panic attack. The last time I was in one was with Christopher a few years ago and it was gross enough to give me nightmares to this day and made me never shop at that store anymore. The thought of a bathroom that gross that employee’s use and then put food out for me to buy…….give me the willies.

    • SKL says:

      There are certain stores that always have a filthy bathroom. And others where it’s always clean. I try to plan pit stops for when we’re in the “clean” stores – but the ones that haven’t eliminated paper towels.

    • SKL says:

      Oh, and e-check. That is something that I’m required to do biannually in order to renew my license plates. The requirements vary by county. I have to go to a specially-built garage-type place where they will run my engine and test the emissions for a set period of time. This is our contribution to fighting the mythical “global warming.” It has been openly admitted that only the oldest cars on the road actually need to be tested, but they require even brand-new cars to be tested in order to spread out the cost. Never mind the pollution they create just by building and operating these places and requiring 95% of the cars to run their engines for no reason whatsoever. (Not to mention the cumulative inconvenience.) They used to make us pay each time as well, but now they just include it in the cost of our driver’s license renewal, which is now over $20 (used to be $6).

  4. pammywammy says:

    Up here in Canada we still have hooks for our purses.I will use them.But if I am in the Big Mall and its really crowded,I just swing my purse over my shoulder.Though if its crowded I guess no one would dare try to steal them 🙂
    I do miss how it was when I raised my noys.There wasnt the fear we have now with child snatching.It did happen too,but you felt more relaxed back then.Now,with my grankids,I hang on to there hand and always have them in my sight.

    • SKL says:

      I do think things are different with kids. The difference I feel is that most adults are conditioned not to intervene with other people’s children except in extreme emergencies. So when I was a kid, if I wandered off, chances are a nice lady would notice me and make sure I got back with my mom (and didn’t climb on that tempting-looking display). But today, most adults would just watch my kids wander further away until they were good and lost or even injured.

      I get disheartened by parents who state that they don’t want anyone correcting or touching their children, and parents who are afraid to give strangers the benefit of the doubt that they probably aren’t pedophiles or child traffickers. Every time I decide to guide a wandering little child, I wonder if I’m being looked at with anger or suspicion. This just can’t be good for the children.

  5. pammywammy says:

    I meant to say my BOYS,not my Noys 🙂

  6. Just a Mom says:

    Good post! I was going to say childhood but it looks like I have been beat already!

  7. Sue says:

    I haven’t heard the urban legend about the purse snatcher! We still have hooks in most restrooms here. I do make a big effort to not put my purse on a counter or table b/c of the germs! Yes, the childhood thing is terrible! My husband is AWFUL about it! I can’t even let my 9 year old ride to grandma’s house (either one!) less than .5 miles away without him freaking out! I was out taking bike rides at her age. Personal responsibility is another big one that we don’t seem to have anymore. And discipline!

  8. I don’t even have a man purse. So I’m okay with it ;^)

  9. nikki says:

    Freedom is for sure one that has been taken away from our kids. I’m alittle guilty of it but IMHO I’ve never been overbearing about it. Without some freedom they don’t learn how to be safe on their own or how to handle situations on their own. we can’t and won’t be there for them forever. The whole public bathroom thing I have always has a HUGE problem with. As much as I like the air dryers I think there should also be paper towels b/c I like to grab one to open the door to get out. I also think EVERY public restroom should have toilet seat covers. I have to put TP all over the toilet or hover! LOL
    I have heard about the purse snatching and I always think about it when I put my purse up there. I am lucky though when Jason is with he always holds my purse (sometimes for too long!) lol

  10. javajunkee says:

    I rarely shop alone so whoever is with me can hold my purse and we piss in shifts!

  11. joz1234 says:

    thanks for the purse around the neck idea…that might work in a pinch. I hate not having hooks too. YUCK!

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