“YEEOWL!” Lisa Doolittle, the lead character in George Bernard Shaw’s delightful production of Pygmalion in Austin Gardens, might have shrieked at intermission. A perfect Friday summer evening and a free preview for the community turned out the largest crowd ever to see the performance and, no doubt, also to see the new facility, known as the AGEEC (Austin Gardens Environmental Education Center) — a sustainable design featuring a geothermal heating and cooling system, solar panels, a green roof, etc.

Too bad no one thought about the numbers of guests and bathroom facilities. The 15 minute intermission went on and on in order to accommodate the long lines for the toilet! So glad to have nice modern facilities, but the guests, especially the females, were soon wishing for the outside port-a-potties!

The outside but still in the new building unisex bathroom was locked and no one seemed to have a key to unlock it. Many discovered this after waiting in what we thought was the short line. After almost 15 minutes, the entire snake of humanity moved into the lines for the two inside rooms: men and women. In consternation we soon learned there was only one toilet in each room. The men’s line soon dwindled to no one and finally there was a women’s revolt as one young woman exclaimed, “From now on we use the men’s facilities as well! Let the men wait in line as well.”

All but some of the older women (older than me!) voiced agreement. The line still moved at a snail’s pace and there was worry the play would resume before we all returned to our seats. An occasional male would walk over and assume his right to use the men’s room, only to be told nicely that he had to go to the end of the line. Although stunned, they all did.

What were the planners of this facility thinking?! 

However, do not let this deter you from attending this wonderful performance. Just plan accordingly.

Joan Meister

Longtime resident and lover of Oak Park

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