There’s No Place Like Home

There's no place like home
There’s no place like home

Remember the good old days when things were easy?  You could walk into any public restroom with confidence, take care of business and be on your way.  With todays economy, cut backs are everywhere and with efforts to reduce our ecological foot print, businesses are trying to conserve water, paper towels and to speed things along.  Tom Hanks’ famous line in Forest Gump “You never know what you’re gonna get” comes to my mind when walking into a public restroom.  I find it quite stressful at times, no rest to be had.

Take the toilet for example.  I grew up with the toilet handle on the left or the right…easy.  Ikea makes you think first; with an “up for one down for two” system.  Some toilets have a button on top of the tank, while others have an “eye” motion detector.  I fear for my life when I see these because I never know when it’s going to flush and what brute violent force will be behind it.  It could be anywhere from a F1 to an F5 tornado in the bowl!

There are even buttons on the wall similar to an elevator button (don’t get me started on that one).  I am not sure if I am supposed to push it or if it’s an actual sensor… so there I stand, foot hovering, having a stare down with the “eye” ready to push it with the bottom of my shoe if needed, and I wait… knowing the toilet police are monitoring how long it has taken me to figure out this simple task.

The button is actually missing
The button is actually missing

I make it out of my personal stall in one piece, only to get to the sink.  I wave my hands in, under and around the sink basin as if i’m David Copperfield trying to get the water to magically appear, while attempting to look intelligent at the same time.  I have a system in place.  I like to make sure I know how to activate the water before I attempt to get the soap out of it’s dispenser and onto my hands.

While at Sea-Tac on a layover; my hands full of soap, I could not for the life of me get any sink in that restroom to recognize me.  A flight attendant noticed my distress and thankfully came to my rescue, she waved her magic hands and the water began to flow.  Some sinks have directions printed in plain sight, but if you don’t get your hand placed in the exact position of the “eye”, there could be issues.  I am taken by surprise once in a while when I come across a manual sink.  I smile, knowing “I got this”.

The soap dispensers are often times not any easier to operate.  I have actually shot soap across the room when I didn’t have correct hand placement.  I thought it was quite funny, but giggling in a public bathroom when you are alone is not acceptable behavior.

Hands washed; now it’s time to dry them.  Blow dryers for your hands with fancy catchy names such as Toto Clean Dry. There is even a dryer named Tri-Umph that promises a high speed and quiet experience, hepa filter included!  Some dryers have so much force, you can see your skin being separated from the bone.  Finding this pretty cool, I take a little longer than necessary, playing with the air (I could totally use this at home).  Other dryers show their age and are extremely slow (I know I could blow harder than some) leaving me frustrated, I end up walking out wiping my wet hands on my pants.

There are paper towel dispensers that have the dreaded eye, again requiring me to wave my hands.  Pump action paper towel dispensers actually still exist, aw… the good old days, but now i’m afraid to touch the handle; knowing it’s loaded with soap from all those people who couldn’t figure out how to turn the water on to rinse their hands.

A restroom at the coast left me feeling completely incompetent.  Hands dripping wet, feeling like a surgeon who just scrubbed in for surgery, I hip checked the door as I left the restroom so I didn’t have to touch it.  My friend was just outside the restroom waiting her turn.

“I don’t know how to work the paper towel dispenser” I confess.  She went in to investigate.  Turns out, you have to actually place your finger tips into the area where the paper comes out!  For those of you who might need to know, this is at the Subway on the corner of highway 36 as you come into Florence.

Most recently on one of my outings, I went to wash my hands in the restroom, and there on the counter lay an actual cloth hand towel (there was no way I was about to use that).  Returning to my table, I chatted with a friend about it, he agreed it seemed a little unsanitary.  On his return from the mens room he bragged how they had a Dyson Blade!

Dyson Airblade behind the door
Dyson Airblade behind the door

My curious mind got the better of me, I had to investigate.  With camera in hand I headed back to the ladies room.  I finally located the attachment on the wall behind the door and next to the ornamental trash can that is no longer needed.  Good thing the Dyson is fast (you can see how close the door is to the right) The way my luck goes, that door has my name written all over it!  I felt a little ridiculous sharing my story with my friend now, but why do we have to go through a competency test every time we enter a public restroom?

Without the aid of paper towels, we are now forced to use the smallest part of our body (pinky) or shirt sleeve to grab the door handle to leave the restroom.  I am all for automatic doors sensors.

With today’s technology, there should be an app for our phones that will locate the nearest and easiest restrooms to operate.

Sometimes I feel as if I have just crossed a finish line, hands raised in the air, my fans cheering.  I am proud of myself and my accomplishments as I exit the restroom ready to take on the world!

I dread the day when there is an eye sensor for toilet paper…

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