Sunday, July 17, 2005

Tales from the Toilet

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Having just returned from Florida last week, I made this observation. I found the public bathrooms in Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure to be quite clean...but please explain something to me.

Why do so many of these bathrooms have automatic-flush toilets but non-automated sinks or hand dryers? Okay, so where's the logic? I don't have to touch a toilet handle, but I do have to touch the taps and then the paper towels. Did someone think the situation through?

I first encountered automatic flush toilets and automatic sinks way up in the Swiss Alps at some public rest room, when I was in my teens. I was fascinated by them, especially the automatic flush toilet, and thought these Swiss were on to something good...

But in general, why do these automatic flush toilets, and so many other regular ones, sound like a great rush of water is coming at you, when you flush. I've had my two youngest freak out at the sudden sound of Niagara Falls rushing up from their behind. It's powerful-sounding and frankly, scary-sounding.

My youngest child, a five-year-old, never understands why, when we're in a public place and it's only he and I, why we have to go into the washroom marked LADIES. "I'm not a gehrl," he tries to convince me in his Scottish-sounding brogue. I try to explain that as a 5-year-old boy, he can still come into a ladies' washroom, but as a 43-year-old female, I can certainly not go into a washroom marked MEN...and he can't go alone into a public washroom, either. I think he's not entirely convinced...

And now I need to take a census while I'm on the topic of toilets. How many of you women reading this -- if any -- have ever tried to bypass a long lineup leading into a women's public washroom, and gone into the men's washroom when there were no men around? Or if you haven't done so, would you consider doing it?

Flush once if the answer is yes, twice if the answer is no. Then wash your hands with soap and make sure not to touch anything on your way out!


PsychoToddler said...

I once heard that public toilets were loud to discourage people from flushing repeatedly.

As far as automatic sinks go, I can't tell you how many times I've found myself doing a dance in front of the sink because I can't seem to trigger motion sensor.

rabbi neil fleischmann said...

are you familiar with the Bathroom Readers, they deal with Qs like this.

Air Time said...

At my office just about all the toilets are automatic flush. Most of the soap dispensers are automatic as well, but most of the faucets need to be turned on by hand. And I have only found one bathroom with an automatic paper towel dispenser.

And while you are wondering, add this to the list. Why is every single water faucet installed so that a first grader would have no difficulty drinking from it. They are too low.

Anonymous said...

After a long bus ride on a school trip, everybody piled out into the rest stop. A mad rush for the bathroom ensued. Along with some of my other brave girlies we ventured into the Men's Room. A long line grew outside. It was only when we heard yells from the back of the line "Hey there's a man here who wants to come in!" that we evacuated the area.

Unknown said...

About the mens and womens questions. I would, unquestionably, use the closest and most unobstructed facility. No doubt about it. I have IBS and take medication which creates a certain, shall we say, urgency? Bad things can happen when one doesn't listen to one's butt, if you know what I mean ;)

torontopearl said...

Z, you mentioned "the closest...facility." In my haste, I read it twice as "the closet"!

And so I thought to myself, "When her butt talks, she listens!"