by Emily Dressler and Marissa Marangoni

E-check on Copley Road:

If you have a piece-of-crap car and it’s E-check time, you can’t just go to an oil change place or a testing kiosk for your E-check. Here’s what you can do: Go to a car repair place and tell them you need at least $300 worth of emissions-related repairs. Your car still won’t pass E-check, but that doesn’t matter.

Take your crap car and the receipt from the auto repair place to an E-check testing station. They have to test your car just to remind you what failure feels like. After it fails, show the technician your receipt. They’ll direct you to the office so you can show the manager your receipt. After a short Q&A and maybe a look at your gas cap (gas caps are free at the E-check testing station), the manager gives you a waiver that you take to the DMV. She instructs you not to lose the waiver. Easy peasy.

After this minor accomplishment, you probably have to pee. Don’t worry: The testing station on Copley Road will deliver.

When I entered the building from the parking lot, the office area was in front of me and the bathrooms were in the hallway to the left. Even though it’s a public restroom, I still felt like I should ask the manager if I could use it.

The women’s restroom was larger than I expected. Even with two stalls and a sink, there was definitely some extra legroom. This felt like the type of bathroom in which a bouquet of dusty, fake flowers would not be out of place. Fake flowers in dull bathrooms are a halfway step to decorating, like trying to try to care. This decor would also be, as they say, good enough for government.

The prize in this joint is the handwritten sign in the first stall instructing bathroom users to hold the toilet handle down until “everything flushes.” I love instructional signs about flushing, especially when they hint at a finicky toilet or past calamities. I also love that this sign includes a thank you from the manager. (She seems swell.)

This bathroom gets an A+ in the sign game: Another sign, by the door, instructs patrons to conserve energy by turning off the lights upon leaving the bathroom.

I asked the manager if I could leave my E-check papers by the glass partition separating the public from the office while I used the restroom. She had stressed the waiver’s importance and had warned me that she could not reprint it if something happened. I didn’t want to subject important paperwork to undue stress or fright, and while the bathroom was hardly stressful or frightening, there was not a shelf or other flat surface that was suitable for a rare-edition E-check waiver.

Since the E-check powers that be see fit to test my car, it is only fair that I test their bathrooms. Judge not, yada yada. E-check, your bathroom passes because it is big and mostly clean, but I think maybe your toilet runs, and I don’t know what happens if I don’t hold the handle down until everything flushes. So you get a waiver: 3 / 5 toilets.

Emily has been writing about Akron bathrooms for the Devil Strip since 2015.

The Salvation Army:

Once upon a time, in a lawn that was so fair, I went to a store for used goods and used the bathroom there. It wasn’t very fancy, no, it wasn’t full of greed. It had just what I needed, and it happened to be free.

The walls of the john were dirty and dank. The floor was sticky — ew. But onward in this room I went, though I did not have to poo. Number two I don’t suggest in this facility. Its plumbings work and the sink drips; maybe that helps you pee.

Not I, not me, I do not need the dripping water, no. What got me stalled was dirt and grime and mysterious damp warm air — and then I noticed a wall was caving, and, well, it was hard to go there.

A fluorescent bulb flickers in this place, making it a bit creepy. It’s only half lit, this small tight space, and there isn’t enough TP. There was a bit for me to use — not for the next person, though. Two holders stand together, empty; there’s no TP left to go.

Before I left, I looked back and saw a wet floor and dirty walls. The next person to walk through this door may take a mighty fall. They’d end with a behind on the floor, or no TP! I sighed once more and shook my head — but wait — what were those holes I did not see?

I moved closer for inspection, but it did not help at all. Maybe installing toilet paper holders is hard on a wall. (Dear friends, this is the second time I’ve seen this strangeness, yes. Why is it that I find such weird things while simply doing my business?)

I went to Salvation Army to poke around and see collections of unwanted junk, and then I had to pee. The act should not be undertaken in a room in need of repair. Clean floors, clean sinks, enough TP, methinks, should be standard fare.

Perhaps a nice old vanity could make this old john more. But for now a coat of paint would do, or the mopping of the floor. A rating I must give this place, though I do not feel it is kind, of 1.5 out of 5 toilets — for this bathroom was not fine.

Marissa has been writing this very prestigious bathroom review column for the Devil Strip since 2015.

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