IntermissionTHE AUDIENCE was deeply into "As Good as It...

SOMETIMES SCENE IN THE COUNTY

January 04, 1998|By Rosemary Armao 'Potty parity'

Intermission

THE AUDIENCE was deeply into "As Good as It Gets," one of the holiday offerings that had brought a swarm of people to the Movies at Marley Station Mall in Glen Burnie last Sunday. Just as Jack Nicholson leaves Helen Hunt in a Baltimore restaurant to quickly buy a jacket and tie so that he can get in, too, the house lights came on and the movie switched off.

A mass groan was cut short, though, by an usher holding up his arms in the front row and apologizing for what he promised would be a short interruption.

He made no announcement, but word soon whipped through the packed rows that a girl in the front row had suffered a seizure. During the next 20 minutes, paramedics arrived, were let in through an emergency exit next to the screen and loaded the girl onto a gurney. As they lifted the stretcher to go back up the stairs and out the door to the waiting ambulance, the pale patient came face to face with an entire theater of people staring at her intently. She covered her face with a blanket.

AMID ALL the oohing and aahing over Anne Arundel County's new half-a-courthouse in Annapolis comes one not terribly serious complaint.

The men's restroom facilities are not comparable to the women's.

"I want potty parity," laughed T. Joseph Touhey, a Glen Burnie lawyer.

There are, depending on the location, three or four times the number of stalls and the like in women's rooms as in the men's rooms.

Which is as it should be, if you ask most women who have stood in lines waiting to use restrooms.

And while any number of male lawyers have taken notice, none has come up with the $90 filing fee to turn it into a real case of HTC gender discrimination.

No word on whether the design of the necessaries will be modified for the section of the courthouse under construction.

Andrea F. Siegel

Junkyard clues

AFTER A major car accident, the last thing on the minds of rescuers, relatives or victims is that piano music left on the back seat or the Gap bag containing a new shirt still in the trunk or the stuffed animal still strapped in with a seat belt.

So, after an accident, especially one in which someone dies, such items go forgotten and travel with the wrecked car from auction to junkyard. At a Millersville junkyard that recycles parts, cars line the yard, some squished from rolling over, some bent into horseshoes from a side-swipe, some in mostly good shape except for unseen cracked frames.

A handful of yard workers guesses each day at the stories behind the cars. But they say they can tell the moment the tow truck leaves behind new wreckage, just how badly the passengers were hurt. It takes just one potent clue -- whether the keys are still in the ignition.

Laura Sullivan

Countdown misfires

IT WAS 11: 30 New Year's Eve, and the crowd that had been the last of the First Night Annapolis performances in the Anne Arundel Courthouse spilled out onto Franklin Street behind the New Caledonian Pipe Band, cheering for 1998 to arrive.

The band formed quickly and struck up a tune as it headed into Church Circle and around to the top of Main Street, followed by a growing crowd of revelers dancing, skipping, clapping and laughing.

"Scotland the Brave," shouted one woman as the wave of humanity swept toward the harbor. As if on cue, the drummers played a roll-off and the pipes wheezed to life with the familiar tune. Another woman began clapping in time to the music. "C'mon, people. Get with it," she shouted, grinning. When only a few joined her, she laughed again. "Well, we'll make fools of ourselves together," she said.

Boats that had been decorated for the city's lighted boat parade more than two weeks earlier were tied up at the face dock and in slips at City Dock, their lights ablaze. The pipers and their following went around Memorial Circle and onto Dock Street before the crowd broke up, heading for vantage points for the midnight fireworks. The pipe band seemingly disappeared.

"Five, four, three " two men shouted over the din of people, horns and noisemakers, at least five minutes before midnight, then howled with laughter. "Got 'em," one man shouted. They moved on, trying the same trick to the same effect several more times and doubling over in gales of laughter each time.

"Five " they began again, but a rocket shot into the sky from behind the roof of the Naval Academy field house and exploded.

A little late this time.

Joel McCord

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