I travel a lot and because of that, I’m often at the mercy of using public restrooms. It used to be easy. The toilet paper was on a wooden spindle and it was easy to get what you needed. The sinks had faucets that turned on and off, and the paper towel dispenser was pretty simple.
Well, those days are gone forever as technology marches on even into bathrooms. I know part of the changes are based on creating less waste, but I think it has also created high levels of frustration.
Some efficiency master mind decided how long most people take to empty their bladders and as a result the toilet flushes whether you’re done or not. There have been times when flushing has occurred five or ten times in 30 second intervals making me feel as if I’m visiting Niagara Falls.
Once you’ve established yourself, try getting the toilet paper. If you can manage to grab a piece from the new Ferris wheel like gadget, you’ll be lucky if you can get more than a couple of pieces, and you may also get your hand stuck and have to have it extracted by the jaws of life.
If they’re looking to save money why don’t they take more time figuring out that we are all not in a race to just “come and go”.
Washing your hands is like playing a game you can never win. I recently spent at least five minutes trying to get the water to turn on. The woman next to me shared that I had to make sure my hand passed over the sensor under the faucet, otherwise it would not turn on. Why has hand washing turned into a segment for Survivor?
We’ve all been warned that we need to be vigilant about the germs that linger on every surface ready and willing to invade our bodies and establish residence until we come down with whatever bug resistant illness is the disease du jour. But how can we protect ourselves if the sinks and faucets don’t cooperate.
Perhaps directions are in order. If they were printed clearly over each sink we might have a chance at survival.
But then, you also have to dry your hands, and now there are automatic dispensers that you press and voila the paper spills out. Unfortunately, the little red eye on the dispenser doesn’t always know you only need only one or two sheets. I have often watched as individuals drag their suitcases out the door with several hand towels stuck under the wheels.
Maybe what we all need to travel with are portable potties. Then we can go on our own terms.
Loretta LaRoche writes the Get a Life column for the Patriot Ledger.