A spon­ta­neous and quick touch

Ripon Bulletin - - Comics - AN­NIE’S MAIL­BOX An­nie Lane

Dear An­nie: In this new (and long-over­due) era of “#MeToo,” I’m won­der­ing: Is it al­ways in­ap­pro­pri­ate to lightly the touch the arm of an op­po­site-sex ac­quain­tance dur­ing a ca­sual con­ver­sa­tion? I’m not talk­ing about pro­longed or re­peated touches. I just mean a spon­ta­neous and quick touch. I re­al­ize that some peo­ple may find such ac­tion sex­u­ally egre­gious, but in gen­eral, I think such touch­ing is an ex­pres­sion to help em­pha­size hu­mor, com­pas­sion, sin­cer­ity or un­der­stand­ing. Per­son­ally, I think I’m pretty good at judg­ing whether it’s ap­pro­pri­ate for me to touch an ac­quain­tance in such a man­ner, but my wife in­sists that it’s never ap­pro­pri­ate. Oc­ca­sion­ally, I’m on the re­ceiv­ing end of such touch­ing, and I don’t find it of­fen­sive. Com­ment, please? -- Con­fused in the Midwest

Dear Con­fused: It’s not “sex­u­ally egre­gious” to sim­ply touch some­one lightly on the arm dur­ing a nor­mal con­ver­sa­tion. But there are some peo­ple who just don’t like phys­i­cal con­tact, and that’s rea­son enough to err on the side of cau­tion. So I’d rec­om­mend avoid­ing it and find­ing other ways to show your engagement and at­ten­tion, such as ask­ing good ques­tions, echo­ing what peo­ple have said back to them and main­tain­ing eye con­tact. Rest as­sured, you seem like such a con­sci­en­tious per­son that I’m sure peo­ple can sense your com­pas­sion no mat­ter what.

Dear An­nie: I read the letter from “W.C. in Way­cross, Ga.” and fully agree that more ho­tels should have hand­i­capped-ac­ces­si­ble show­ers. I am lim­ited be­cause of back surgery I had. Ho­tel bath­rooms are usu­ally retro­fit­ted and use­less. The toi­lets are of­ten older and too low for peo­ple with spe­cial phys­i­cal needs. Even if I can use grab bars to get in a tub, there is of­ten no means to sit while tak­ing a shower. And stand­ing while show­er­ing is not safe for any­one rated a fall risk. More than once, I’ve had to sit on the edge of a tub while try­ing to use the shower for wa­ter, which, of course, is messy.

My hus­band and I re­cently took a very ex­pen­sive cruise -- costly be­cause of my phys­i­cal needs. Yet I did have a walk-in shower with a drop-down seat, lots of grab bars and a state­room large enough to ac­com­mo­date my elec­tric scooter. -- Love to Travel and Spend a Lot Do­ing So

Dear Love to Travel: You and “W.C.” are cer­tainly not alone. Read on for an­other letter on the sub­ject.

Dear An­nie: Ab­so­lutely agree with “W.C. in Way­cross, Ga.,” who wants to be able to travel and bathe safely. And it is not just elderly peo­ple who have these needs. There are tons of peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties who travel or would if they could find ac­com­mo­da­tions.

All bath­rooms should have safety fea­tures, whether in the home or on the road. That in­cludes rental apart­ments. Any­one can have a need to grab on to some­thing at any time, and a lot of ac­ci­dents could be pre­vented by very mi­nor ac­com­mo­da­tions. The old say­ing that “an ounce of pre­ven­tion is worth a pound of cure” cer­tainly holds true.

It would be great if a cer­tain per­cent­age of bath­rooms in ho­tels and mo­tels had walk-in show­ers, etc. Sta­tis­ti­cally, there are more and more se­niors with dis­pos­able in­come, and of­ten they just need to have the prod­ucts de­signed for them. -- Se­nior Ap­pre­cia­tive of Grab Bars

Dear SAGB: I hear you loud and clear, and I hope the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try does, too. You might find this web­site, which an­other reader sug­gested to me, use­ful: http://wheelchair­trav­el­ing.com.

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