The Problem With Public Restrooms


This is an excerpt from my book, Angry Birds and Beehive Hair. If you want to read the entire collection (oh, please do!), you can purchase it on Amazon or Barnes and Noble in addition to 30 plus other book re-sellers whom I will not mention here because it’s a rather lengthy list, and I’m too damn lazy.

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I’m headed in the direction of Hypochondriac Land.

I think I’m fostering hypochondriacal tendencies. My grandfather was a hypochondriac, and my father, although not as bad as his dad, was also this way. I was always wary of magazines at any doctor’s office—the magazines that were curled on the edges from all the finger-licking and page flipping. I didn’t want to touch them; I still don’t.

I got you thinking about that, didn’t I? You’re licking your fingers to turn a curled page not realizing those magazine pages have been exposed and covered with someone else’s spit, which by the way, had some sort of virus or bacterial infection. I mean, you are in a doctor’s office.

Recently, I’ve become fixated with public bathrooms. I like the fact that publicrestroomeverything is touch-free with the exception of a few issues. I always have exceptions. Please—allow me to indulge.

Why, oh why, must the toilet paper holder be so far toward the ground in a bathroom stall that your TP risks touching the floor? If inventors can come up with a way to wave your hand across a motion sensor to dry your hands, why can’t they come up with something similar for toilet paper? Just swipe your hand across the sensor and—viola!—you automatically receive twelve inches of toilet paper. You also would no longer have to deal with the tight rolls which result in the miserable one square to spare scenario.

The motion-activated toilet seat is a wonderful invention if someone doesn’t like to flush the toilet. On the other cheek, if you are still sitting on the “throne”, so to speak, and move your body to grab that toilet paper which is about five feet away, the odds of the toilet flushing and kicking up water at the speed of about 200 m.p.h. and, wetting your butt cheeks is pretty darn high!

If you have your purse with you when you go to a public bathroom, you’ll encounter another problem: wet counter tops. I don’t know about you, but my leather purse doesn’t want to be treated like a sponge. We’ve had long discussions about this and she’s pretty pissed off when I place her butt onto a wet, tainted bathroom counter top. I now have to change hats from local patron to bathroom cleaning lady, wiping up the water puddles that others’ have left behind so I can place my purse on the counter.

The washing of hands is a non-issue as long as the water, which also has an electronic sensor, is on long enough to wash my hands. I look at washing my hands in a public bathroom like a contest for speed. I thought the guideline for thoroughly washing your hands was to sing, “Happy Birthday” twice through. I believe the person who set up the sensors for the water didn’t receive the memo on that tidbit of information, because I only get to “Happy birthday to you, hap…”

Water is officially off. I turn it back on again. Three more times. Sometimes you can’t locate the sensor to the faucet. You wave at it up, down, side to side—nothing. Only then do  you realize it’s a manual faucetI hope there isn’t a hidden camera around.

My biggest issue with a public bathroom is the door. The dreaded handle of the door. Going into the bathroom is less problematic because your hands are technically still dirty. But once you’ve washed your hands, touching a public bathroom door handle kind of wipes out the whole sanitary process, doesn’t it?

Here’s my solution—let’s call Ford. They came up with the idea for the kick-action motion sensor to automatically open up your trunk if your hands are full. Why can’t people who design bathrooms (is there a technical name for people who design public bathrooms?), come up with a kick-action motion sensor for the bathroom door?  I could just as easily have a paper towel in my hand to cover the handle, but if you are in a bathroom that uses air to dry your hands, you’re out of luck, or I end up walking around with a paper towel in my hands for the rest of the night.

The only drawback to the kick-action door sensor for the public bathroom is where to place the sensor. If it’s too high, you risk kicking someone in the face if they open the door to come into the bathroom. There is also a high risk that you’ll pull a hamstring.

Unless it’s someone you really wanted to kick in the face, this can lead to extensive dental work. Also, older people can’t kick that high. On the flip-side, if they’re short enough they’ll miss being kicked in the face.

I think lower placement for this device is best. Just like the damn toilet paper holder.

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