I’ve noticed a newish phenomenon lately that I have to comment on. It’s the fearsome semi-automatic public restroom. All-automatic is more convenient but semi-automatic can provide for some fun people watching as they try to figure out how (and if) to work all the bathroom gadgets.
Anyway, you go into a stall to take care of business but…beware! You could be up against the dreaded Auto-Flusher. Which is good and efficient in theory… except when it flushes before you’re ready. I bet many unsuspecting souls have had the pee scared out of them by a sudden, high-decibel, premature toilet flush. (Okay, bad pun. I’ll refrain.) And then there are the overzealous toilets that flush more than once when you’re in the stall. Overachieving is good in theory but….
So, you (hopefully) survive the vicious automatic toilet and go out to wash your hands. It looks like an auto-faucet so you hold your hands there and…nothing. Then you start waving your hands like a fool, waiting. Your goal goes from getting your hands clean to actually getting the faucet gods to smile down on you and turn on the damn water at all.
It finally does (one temperature fits all) and you go for the soap, feeling overconfident after getting the water to trickle out. You wave your hand under the little soap spout but, oh, this one isn’t automatic after all, and you feel like an idiot for assuming you could wave your hands and magically be soaped. You break down and get your suds the old-fashioned way and then battle the temperamental water supply again. You’re almost done except now you must face…somehow drying your sparkling clean hands.
First, the towel dispensers. The automatic dispenser is popping up everywhere, even in the crummiest of gas station bathrooms, and it’s fun to watch people address these. Even more fun is seeing someone wave at an old-fashioned, you-do-the-work paper towel dispenser, then swear at it when they grasp that their magic has failed them.
Or you might have to reckon with an automatic hand dryer. There’s a whole variety of evil-doers in this category. There’s the simple put-your-hands-underneath-and-a-gentle-warm-breeze-will-blow-over-them-and-dry-them-halfway variety of dryer. These are usually clearly marked, telling you to wave your hands (saving you the embarrassment of waving at the wrong type of machine) and they do an okay job of drying your hands if you’ve got enough time to stand there and wait.
Last weekend, I summoned the nerve to try the newest kind of hand dryer in a public place – it sits low on the wall and you stick your hands down INSIDE of it then slowly draw them out as air blows on them. You want me to put my hands WHERE? I did it but I drew my hands out too fast because, you know, I didn’t want some kind of dryer monster to come out, grab them and suck me in. My hands were still half wet but whatever. I’m alive to tell about it.
Lastly there’s a terrifying breed of hardcore Super Blowers that have cropped up and I’ll confess, I was most hesitant to try these. With good reason. They blow so hard they almost take your skin off, and they’re as loud as a jet taking off ten feet away. However, the good news? Along with your skin, they remove any sign of moisture.
All this technology just to heed nature’s call. I guess it’s a few steps up from going out in the backyard, through the snow, uphill (both ways) to an outhouse that smells like a barn, where you get frostbite on your butt….
I’m off to do something productive with my imagination now other than ponder the intricacies of bathroom design and technology, but the next time you’re in a public restroom, stop for a second and watch people and how they approach the sink and dryer. One never knows where one will find blog content. *g*