Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The War on Cleanliness and Privacy


Have you ever been in a Texas rest area? Nice, aren't they, how they've got those really low walls that anyone can see over, and that they make it ridiculously hard to wash your hands after your done, ain't it? Of course, Texas is hardly the only culprit in this regard. Such humiliating public rest rooms are all over this otherwise great country of ours. It's getting so bad you about have to go to a truckstop if you want to take a dump in privacy or wash your hands afterward.

Here are some of the most glaring and disgusting lapses of common decency inflicted upon the public by both the builders and maintainers of public restrooms.

1. Super-thin toilet paper.

Not only is it incredibly narrow, it's also incredibly thin. And the rolls are so heavy and tight that you can't hardly pull more than a couple sheets out at a time any more. You spend more time trying to get a sufficient amount of toilet paper so you're not poking your hand through it than you spend dropping your load. I wind up using about twice as much toilet paper as I would if the paper was of a reasonable size and thickness.

2. Low-flow toilets.

This is such an epidemic that they made a King of the Hill episode about it. Those toilets don't flush with enough water to get your deposit swept off to the next world. I have to flush and flush and flush and I'm still forced to leave the next guy wondering if I'm part elephant. (And not because he saw me pull up my pants, either!)

3. Automatic flushing toilets.

Seems like a good idea, right? Except the stupid things flush about every 2-3 seconds when I'm in there, and that's an awful lot of water waste! But what's really funny is that after all that flushing, they DON'T flush when I'm done and there's still some TP left in the bowl, so I've got to flush one more time manually. And SOME toilets don't let you flush manually AT ALL!!! I left a rather large load in one toilet and couldn't flush it and it wouldn't flush itself either.

4. Poorly placed flushing buttons.

Okay, I think the technology now exists so that we can put the flushing button somewhere a little more convenient. Let's start doing that, huh?

5. Impossible to use faucets.

In their quest to reduce water usage, many public restrooms have made it impossible to wash your hands properly. You can put some soap on your hands, but you've got to hold down some valve to get water so you can only rinse off one hand at a time. Not especially effective, you know. I do like the automatic hand sensors... when they work.

6. Short-necked faucets.

Sometimes the faucets are so short that you can barely get any water at all and you're forced to wipe your hands on the sink. Like everyone else. Do I really want to do that? Not really.

7. Hand Dryers.

Ok, I get that you're trying to save the trees. But come on, how about making them powerful enough to dry our hands within a few seconds, like we can do with a paper towel, AND how about putting enough of them in the restroom that we can use them without having to wait. That means putting in AT LEAST as many dryers as sinks, and since it takes twice as long to dry your hands as to wash them, you really should put in 2 dryers per sink. But I think it's rather telling that in places where paper towels and hand dryers are both present, the dryers are used only when the paper towels are gone.

8. Horrendously close urinals with no walls between them.

Really, do we need to be that close to each other with our pants opened up that it's almost impossible not to look at someone else's pee-stick?

9. Short stall walls and doors.

Last but not least are those obscenely short doors and walls that even midgets can see over. WHAT THE FRENCH TOAST?!?!

So come on, let's complain whenever we encounter those disgusting restroom conditions that discourage people to wash their hands, that waste more resources than they save, and that just plain discourage us from disposing of our waste in a proper manner. Really, I think I'd get more privacy peeing on the sidewalk in NYC than using some of the restrooms I've been in.


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