I wondered about the term “manhole covers” and whether it was now politically incorrect to refer to those things as “manhole covers” and if so, what a more PC term would be. I seriously doubt that “womanhole covers” would be well received. Person hole covers? People hole covers?
Since the “stuff” underground which needs to be accessed periodically can be any number of things — electric power lines, water supply lines, communication lines, gas pipe lines, sewage or storm runoff — which are essentially utilities, why not call them “utility access covers”?
Which brings up the question, “Why was there never some standard for where these car jolting disruptions of a street’s smooth surface were placed”? Obviously, the access must be near the utility being accessed but with no standard before the utility is placed under the street, the street surface can become a jolting experience to travel.
Drive in a straight line and, invariably, one or the other of your wheels will hit an access cover. Drive a few more yards and there’ll be another cover under the other wheel. A few more yards and you’ll come upon another cover in still a different location. To straddle or steer around these obstacles would make the driver appear intoxicated with all the swerving.
American Standards Association in 1966 adopted a “Safety Code and Requirements for Dry Martinis” (It‘s the bright-light-through-the-vermouth-bottle-from-a-specified-distance-for-a-specified-exposure-time method.) No such standards exist for the non-disruptive placement of manhole covers. A driver swerving to avoid hitting a no-longer-flush manhole cover could appear to have consumed too many martinis, standard or not.
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