I was up at COD (crack of dawn) this morning for a quick trip to Charlotte, North Carolina, to visit family. It’s about a two-hour jaunt on I-85 Southbound, and my homemade hazelnut latte kicked in about an hour down the road. There are two problems with this: First, I’m a germaphobe of the highest order. (Public restrooms give me the willies – trees and shrubs are more attractive alternatives in my book.) Secondly, I haven’t looked at Interstate rest areas the same way since reading Patricia Cornwell’s All That Remains, (about a serial killer and rest stops along I-64), back in the early 1990’s.
Despite my issues, pressing matters and sparse terrain compelled me to stop at the Davidson County Rest Area near Thomasville, NC. I said a quick prayer before stepping out of my vehicle. A Crown Vic with South Carolina plates was parked on my left, a rotund man asleep behind the wheel with his mouth sagging open. … At least I’m pretty sure he was just sleeping.
The rest stop had a park-like appeal and consisted of two buildings, (one for vending and the other for restrooms and information). To my relief, (pun intended), the doors opened automatically – no touching required! My nose was greeted with … the smell of lemony freshness!
I will refrain from any further graphic recollection, but suffice it to say that I give the facilities four stars – although I still rolled up my trousers to my kneecaps before entering and walked on tiptoes so that the least amount of shoe surface touched the tiled floor. (Yes, I get looks with these rituals, but I’ve reached that age where I care more about thwarting a flesh-eating disease than I do about what people think of me.)
Despite the better than expected experience, I took care of business quickly and scurried to my car. As I was exiting the rest stop, I came upon a lovely Vietnam Veterans Memorial. (Note shift to serious, reverent tone.)
The memorial was built with private donations and consists of a wall made of bricks manufactured in North Carolina. The memorial contains the names of over 1620 North Carolinians killed or missing in Vietnam. 
As I pulled back onto I-85, I was reminded that although a clean restroom is delightful, there are far, far, far more serious issues in life to consider thoughtfully and thankfully.