Aug 31 2006

Public Cans of Austin: Kerby Lane (South Lamar)


The grim and sinister baby-changing table in the can at Kerbey Lane has graffiti all over it. It’s where all the infant junkies of South Austin go to get changed. I knew you would want to see it, but—and I blame my dog Bert for this—the pictures came out like crap on accounta when I was snappin’em I had to jump up and down on my one functional leg so as not to tip over into the toilet. Which toilet, though it is cleaner than the baby table, is nevertheless nowhere a spinster aunt wants to be. So all I can show you is the somewhat creepy bathroom hall.

I don’t know what other people eat at Kerbey Lane, but I go for the Cholesterol Platter, served all day: two slices of French toast, two slices of bacon fat, and two scrambled eggs.


I required this meal today after my vigorous workout at physical therapy. The workout pretty much consisted of tapping my foot, which used to be one of my strongest talents. The fact is, I made the Olympic Toe-Tapping Team in 1980, although of course I never got to compete, because that was the year the USA boycotted the Olympics to protest the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.

Nowadays, I couldn’t tap a toe with pigs. In PT, after raising my foot an inch off the floor about 15 times, I thought my calf muscle, which has lain fallow for 2 weeks, had caught fire. This evidence of my paucity of buffitude caused my physical therapist, the gifted Lori Schwanz, to emit a chuckle.


Back at Kerbey Lane, Stingray ordered a biscuit and a sausage patty, which ingredients she then formed into a hideous little breakfast burger. Shocking stuff.

Pig enthusiasts: don’t bother. I already know pigs are cool. Let’s just let this one go, hey?


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  1. womanontheverge.typepad.com/fibertribe

    At your next PT session with the gifted (but derisive) Miss Lori, you might share with her that her last name is German slang for penis. Literally it means tail. hehe. just sayin’. Lame can, nice cholesterol…hang in there, Twisty.

  2. markw.livejournal.com

    Stingray: Do you serve biscuits here?

    Server: We sure do.

    Stingray: Do you serve sausage patties here?

    Server: We sure do.

    Stingray: Great! I’d like a sausage biscuit please.

    Server: Sorry, we don’t serve those.

  3. witchy-woo.blogspot.com

    Yay! The Public Cans of Austin series continues in spite of the gammy leg.

    I’m so pleased.

  4. karenroadchronicles.blogspot.com

    Geez, did the two of you fight over the charred tail like Laura and Mary on the prarie? Go for soysauge next time, YOUR BODY IS TRYING TO HEAL!
    Ma Ingalls

  5. Isn’t it Kerbey Lane where you can get the gingerbread pancakes? I love those!

    And yes, PT is intriguingly humiliating, especially at the beginning. It’s amazing how quickly things go to hell when you don’t use them.

  6. Cold, wet and sticky- that’s my impression of KErbey Lane South.

    My ex and I used to joke that the real lesbian agenda was simply clean public bathrooms.

  7. What ever happened to veg-a-ma-tarianism?

    AFter all that sympathy we lavished on you, all that encouragement, all of us secretly pleased vegetarians that we had suddenly aquired some reflected coolness, however reluctantly granted.

    One session of toe-tapping is what happened.

  8. buttercupia.blogspot.com

    wow that hall is all like

    “come play with us, Twisty.

    Come play with us forever
    and ever
    and ever
    and ever”

  9. No kidding, Buttercup.

    Talk about “REDRUM – REDRUM – ”

    When I take the Official “Public Cans of Austin” Tour someday, I think I’ll skip this one.

    Shame, though, because that platter o’ arteriosclerosis looks mighty tasty.

    Thanks, Twisty, for risking your poor filet-of-ankle to bring us pics of another Can. This is a great series.

  10. lentulus.com

    Buttercup, glad to see I wasnt channelling lil Stevie King when I saw the corridor.

    & we definitely need to get Twisty a videocam, for those hopping up&down photograph moments, if nothing else.

  11. Creepy bathroom but mmmm… french toast… We have this little bagel shop here that makes THE most amazing french toast out of challah bread and they serve it with sugar cinnamon butter and syrup. Oh, I think I just wet myself. Ahem. Carry on.

  12. I prefer my french toast made from sourdough bread, as crusty as possible, and it’s best if you can get the real farm eggs with the deep orange yolks and add a touch of vanilla to the eggy mix. If you drip the well-beaten eggy mix through a regular old wire strainer before dipping your toast, you don’t get stringy bits hanging on to the side of the french toast. I dislike stringy bits. My very favorite french-toast topping is buttered maple syrup, which you make by boiling syrup with butter until it’s a bit thick and clingy (I think the recipe for spiced waffles with maple butter is in “Epicurean Delight”, which is a biography of James Beard, and the combo is very good), but usually we just throw syrup on it or sometimes vanilla sugar, which is less sticky if you decide to eat the toast with your fingers.
    When the eggy mix runs low, press down slightly on your bread when you drop it in the mix (don’t squish it, for heavens’ sake, just encourage it a bit) and you can use up your eggs and milk to the last drop.
    Mmm, french toast.

  13. I’m still waiting for you to share with these people the coolest can in town: the lunar room at El Sol y la Luna.

  14. blog.myspace.com/28371978

    I wish I had a Stingray.

  15. saraarts.com

    Mmmmmmmmm, cholesterol.

    Ewwwwwwww, scary hallways.

    Blecccccccccccch, changing station.

    While we’re on the topic, can I just say that I loathe the fact that the changing station, if there is one, is only ever exclusively in the “ladies'” room? I have yet to see a sign for a changing station in a men’s room. Ever. EVER.

    And while we’re on that topic, can I just say, as a person who has, once upon a time, spent a fair amount of time confined to a wheelchair and absolutely needing every spare inch of space in the handicapped access stall, especially diaper-and-baby-poo-free floors and railings, that I find it more than offensive when said changing station is placed in the only stall with access and amenities for people in wheelchairs? And when the fold-down table for diaper changing is left open and filthy by the last user, pretty much blocking the clean passage of a wheelchair-bound user?

    Why can’t the baby changing station be in its own little room, a converted broom closet or something? This idea could free diaper-changing spaces from gender-bound access, and it could transform access to toilets for the handicapped into something to which restaurateurs and other entrepreneurs offering public toilets pay more than the structural equivalent of lip service.

    Gee, I wonder what to blame for the fact that it is not already so, by default? I think it begins with the letter “P,” like the word pissotière.

  16. “I have yet to see a sign for a changing station in a men’s room.” Sara

    While I agree the boys should take more responsibility for diaper duty, hell even a little bit, as I notice they rarely, if ever, seek custody of their kids until after they get some control over their emissions, I doubt stations in the “gentlemen” room would get used enough to even warrant them.

    However, my first flash was that I wouldn’t want my infant exposed to the gluey eyeballs of some of the boys who might be in there. Not to mention the kind of cocks that would start frequenting the restrooms with stations for pervy purpose.

  17. I asked my brother about this once (why, I don’t remember), and he assured me there were changing tables in some men’s restrooms. Of course, he could have been spreading disinformation.

  18. saraarts.com

    Cass, I’ve seen changing station in individual coed restrooms, the kind with single locking doors and a line outside, not the kind with stalls anybody can use. Maybe this is what he’s thinking of, or maybe not. All I know is that I’ve never seen a men’s room door with a sign on it signifying that there was a changing station inside.

    As far as I can tell, especially since most businesses are not going to dedicate extra real estate in the form of a separate changing room to the welfare of babies or the safety and comfort of disabled people, but sure do want to be perceived as trying to meet all these goals, this is just another argument for more coed restrooms of the sort described above.

  19. “…this is just another argument for more coed restrooms of the sort described above.” Sara

    Coed restrooms? Shudder. No, no, no, no no thank you very much. What are the arguments for this? That maybe the ERA would have passed? “More” coed restrooms? You mean they already exist? Good grief. Is there NO space women can have alone?

    Nevermind. I already know the answer. Just don’t want to ignite that explosion here.

  20. saraarts.com

    Mar, there are lots and lots of restrooms in this country which are single-occupancy units with locking doors available for whoever shows up to use them first, male or female. Perhaps “coed” is the wrong word for these. Perhaps I should have said “unigender” or something.

    Very tired.

  21. Sara, do you have to wait for one of these units together in a restroom where the sinks are or in the public space outside the units? I don’t even think about making splash down sounds in a women’s room but I’ll be damned if I want some perv having golden shower fantasies in the next stall.

    I gotta get out more often. Or not.

  22. Public washrooms are filthy enough without having to share them with men, whom studies have shown rarely if ever wash their hands after pissing.

  23. Some places have these “family” bathrooms which are quite large, double as a handicapped restroom, and can accommodate a parent, a stroller, a changing station, etc. Though I loathe using a restroom that men frequently use, these family bathrooms are no doubt a godsend for parents who do not wish to expose their kids to strangers, or strangers to their kids. I am thankful for these, as it means I do not have to be exposed to stinky diapers. Plus I hear they are actually big enough for convenient wheelchair use. So maybe that is the kind of “coed” bathroom Sara is thinking of.

    Then there are the boho coffeehouses with separate, wall-to-the-ceiling, one-seater bathrooms anyone can use – to prevent lineups at the womens’, guess – and these are inevitably a mess because apparently many, many men cannot be bothered to pee IN THE FUCKING TOILET despite years of using the damn things. For this lazy, arrogant, filthy behavior, I blame you-know-what.

  24. saraarts.com

    Yes, Jezebella, “family” bathrooms — that’s just what I was thinking of. It never occurred to me to describe them that way, but I guess they are. They are the best, short of the elegant and clean coed bathrooms of Paris with the paid attendants. (Not all bathrooms in Paris are like this, but I experienced several with great joy.)

    I just ate a delectable, buttery croissant, and I am still very, very tired, so I will not detail for you how I have discovered through years of working at an establishment with “family” bathrooms that women and children are every bit as capable of disgusting “hygiene” as men, but I do have to say that it seems to be true. Another factor to remember is that many establishments which claim to care about the cleanliness of their restrooms are understaffed to keep up with traffic of both genders, and many others which are supposed by law to clean bathrooms regularly simply don’t get to it ’til the end of the night.

    Being in a wheelchair (which I haven’t been in public in three-and-a-half years but still remember vividly) only makes all this the more obvious, as much of the filth of humanity seems to happen — or at least leave its evidence — a lot closer to face level. Also, things one previously could sidestep without a thought become impediments when one depends on handrails and wheels.

    Ick, ick, ick. Blech.

    I have to go now, to cleanse my sensual memory by sitting in lotus position — well, half-lotus under the circumstances — and contemplating the perfection of the butter pastry and strong coffee that graced my tongue twenty minutes ago. Ta.

  25. I don’t see it, this godsend of family bathrooms. It’s not about parents who don’t want to expose their kids to strangers. It’s about mothers who don’t want to expose their children to men, including fathers.

    I took my son into the women’s room until around the first grade when he decided he was going to be a big boy and use the men’s room all by himself. I told him not to look at anybody in there, not to talk to anybody, get in, get out and, if anybody even started to get weird, to scream at the top of his lungs and I’d be there in a flash. Then I’d position myself right outside the door so I could more easily establish eye contact with every guy who went in and out.

    As for the miniscule number of fathers properly caring for a little girl, fortunately for them, their girls are safe in a women’s restroom. If their young daughter still needs a little help in there, they could watch for a mom going in and ask for her help, which I’m betting they’d get. Worry free. How nice that must be.

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