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28 March 2012 @ 10:13 am
I give that one a 3.5 on a scale of 10. I'd wait if I were you.  
Okay, readers. Let's take a departure to a first world subject that no one ever talks about. It's horrific and unfair, and desperately needs to be brought to your attention.

Public restrooms.

I have to admit, I'm not a fan of the public restroom. It's not due to performance anxiety; I can go if I really need to, regardless of the situation. It's just in general, I have an aversion to them, and rightfully so. In Junior High, I always waited until I got home to go. It had less to do with how clean the bathroom was than the fact that I once caught Randi Something smoking in the upstairs girls' room by the history department, and after she was consequently caught (like every other juvenile delinquent stupid enough to smoke in the school building), she decided I was at fault. (Incidentally, I did not rat her out. I feel stupid people should be left to their own stupid devices.) The misunderstanding culminated in her publicly shouting at me and me engaging in the first and only fist fight in my otherwise very physically passive life.

Anyway, Randi's probably in prison, and now I subscribe to the hover theory and have 1-10 ratings system in which I judge a public restroom's cleanliness. Folks, by and large, most of them are foul. FOUL. Over half of them fall below a 5. A five.

I thought this way even before I became spoiled rotten and keenly aware of how many germs are out there and what they can do to my own fragile ecosystem. The fact that public potties are disgusting is the first reason I avoid them, but the second reason has to do with what I like to call, 'The Star Trek Factor.'

Public restrooms have become far too space age-y for my taste. Everything is automated. In my opinion, even Captain Picard would have wanted control over the flush. On the show, when he finished his captainly business, he probably stood, pulled up his skin tight trousers, tugged down his little jumper, moved away from the john and then said, "Make it so."

Unfortunately, restrooms have removed all control from the consumer. It's become standard for me that when finished with my business, I stand and immediately and all but kiss the stall door in an attempt to miss the spray of who knows what from getting all over my behind, clothes and belongings.

And God forbid it actually takes you longer than 2.4 seconds to button your jeans. Atrocious things happen.

Even washing your hands has become, ironically enough, a hands-free affair. You have no control over how much soap comes out of the pre-measured dispenser, and you get a dollop of scientifically formulated goo that will take the top layer of your skin, if left long enough. Then, you have to do a series of hand calisthenics to get the motion-sensitive stream of disgustingly tepid water to rinse the soap off your hands.

You have to do that TWICE, because the water shuts off after three seconds.

Then, you have to wave your hands in front of the paper towel dispenser, as if to say, "Hi, remember me? Could you please give me something to dry my hand larger than a cocktail napkin?"

No? Okay. This'll be fine. Damp hands aren't all that unpleasant.

Because of all these things, plus all the things I didn't include (automatic hand dryers, toilet tissue rolls that only gives you a square at a time, doors that don't latch properly), I usually wait for the peace, quiet and decidedly mundane qualities of my own facilities at home. I find I have less homicidal tendencies toward my own toilet and sink.

If you've made it this far, patiently sitting through my diatribe about potties, I feel compelled to tell you that it was a rant between this and the Travel Safety Administration and their bastard coated bastard tendencies.

I figured this one wouldn't put me on the 'No Fly' list.

Probably. Here's hoping.
I am:: at the bar
I feel:: annoyedannoyed
sarea okelanisarea_okelani on March 28th, 2012 07:52 pm (UTC)
All the space agey stuff doesn't bother me that much, particularly the handwashing. As kind of a germophobe, I'm glad I don't have to touch the faucets that other people have touched after doing their business. And I really like it when places -- restaurants and the like -- are thoughtful enough to place a trash can by the door, so that once I dry my hands, I can use the paper towel to open the door and deposit the towel in the trash while propping the door open with my foot, so that I never have to touch the door/handle again once I've washed my hands -- because I just do not trust other people have been as conscientious as me with regard to cleaning themselves. I mean, I barely trust my coworkers, much less random people out in the world who are bound to be less hygenic. *shudder*

What bothers me about public restrooms -- and you're right, they're disgusting -- is not the facilities, but the people who use them. I mean, seriously, let's take my workplace as an example of a place that OUGHT to be fairly good, because 99% of the time it's being used by well-paid, educated adults. And in comparison to your typical public restroom out there, it would probably rate a bit higher on your bathroom scale. We even have free tampons and feminine napkins for the lady in need. That being said, I cannot BELIEVE the disgusting things that occur. GIVEN the usual people who frequent this bathroom, you would think that you'd never find an unflushed toilet. You'd be wrong. You would think that people could wipe down the mess they've made on the seat, if they hovered. You'd be wrong. I mean, it is literally unbelievable that a grown, adult woman, who supposedly functions well enough to work in an office environment, would be unable to take care of these simple matters. BUT IT'S TRUE. So I can only imagine how much worse it is in even more public restrooms, when they are frequented by children and even ostensibly iffier adults.

It doesn't stop me from using public restrooms, because I go out to eat a lot and I always wash my hands before I eat, which necessitates a trip to the restroom (and why I am so thankful for trash cans near the door)... and also I'm often out all day and can't hold it that long... but I certainly understand why people avoid public restrooms when at all possible. I'm just grateful I don't have to clean them... those poor people. :(