Click any letter for a look at my prize-winning essay from the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. You don't even have to buy a vowel.

Monday, August 4, 2008

It's a Wash

Moving from last week’s baby poop extravaganza up the time line to indoor plumbing, we come to public potties, where I also have issues. Now you can tell if you ever drop by the house that I have no tendencies toward a cleanliness fetish of any kind, so that’s not the problem. I don’t panic over germ infestations unless they present themselves in the form of a creature that is hopping, flying, crawling, buzzing, or of course rubbing its little hands together menacingly in my direction.

But let's move back down the pipes to the potties. My problem is the trend toward installing automatically flushing toilets in public restrooms. I’m not sure what sort of fiendish mind conceived of such a device. Obviously the same mind that thought of squirt cheese or miniature cookies that come in tiny packages labeled 100 calories each. Everybody knows it takes a quart-sized baggie of cookies to equal 100 calories, particularly if chocolate is involved.

Now when it comes to plumbing, it’s not that I don’t appreciate the advanced technology that takes away the need for manual flushing, but I can’t seem to operate the things. When I open the stall door to enter, they inevitably begin their erratic tidy bowl dance, complete with crashing tidal waves and whirlpools. Not having thought to bring along a change of clothes, I favor an approach most often used by a goal-oriented runner approaching a closely guarded second base at Yankee Stadium. I slide in low and hope I don’t need laundry detail.

Next, I settle onto the nest like a laying hen, my pocketbook clutched tightly in my lap. I realize that as a good citizen and a proponent of clean living I should hang my pocketbook daintily on the hook provided, but I don’t do that because a) I'll generally forget it when I leave, b) I intend to reapply my lipstick, Blushing Berry, available for $7.98 at Wal-Mart, while seated, and c) I never remember the hook until the optimal time to arrange for its use has passed. This immediately leads to a logistics dilemma requiring remarkable dexterity in reaching the necessary accesories. I lean forward to place my purse on the floor, in spite of agitated e-mail circulations that implore me to choose a better option.

Immediately with a roar and the crash of waves of water, the auto-flush option jumps enthusiastically into service, cleaning more surface area than I find comfortable. I involuntarily leap to attention, realizing too late that quick attention should be accompanied by returning all possible garments to the upright position. My knees are bound together by nylon and elastic lace and a sizable amount of yardage in the form of stretchy pants as I hop awkwardly in an attempt to avoid the purse obstacle situated on the floor like a hungry mouse trap ready to snap to work given the slightest provocation.

I bend to remedy the fabric situation which sets off a renewed frenzy of water fun. By this time, bystanders are bending to peer under the door to see if distress requiring the jaws life of is taking place in Stall Number 1. After repositioning all my garments to their accustomed areas of coverage, retrieving my purse, which once again sets off a tirade of flushing action, I hold my head high and exit the stall.

Now to wash my hands. Which I would do if I could figure out how to activate the automatic faucets long enough to reach the soap. I wet my hands and wipe them off on my pants. I'm not about to attempt the automatic dryer.


Robin said...

I hate it when they choose to flush right in the middle of me doing my business with the force of Hurricane Hugo. It tends to suck my bottom to the seat much like the cork in a wine bottle. With a cork the size of mine, it's no easy task to remove it.

Amy Mullis said...

LOL! That's exactly the sort of thing we have to be on guard for. Who needs terrorists when our toilets are attacking us?

liss n kids said...

I was once in a restroom where the automatic faucet WOULD. NOT. recognize me as viable human who deserved to be allowed access to the precious resource of wash-water. I was waving my arms, dancing the Charleston, you name it. There was a small sign that said people wearing dark clothing may have trouble activating the automatic faucets. Finally, a bystander managed to stop laughing long enough to flash her recognizably human arm in front of my faucet long enough for me to get my hands wet.

Amy Mullis said...

I feel your pain--but I love the comments I'm getting here. It proves I'm not alone! We're gonna have to stick together on this; and we will stick together if they won't let us wash our hands!

Never said...

Again with the visuals! Thanks for my daily dose of laughter.

Never said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy Mullis said...

Never! Glad you stopped by! You know, now I'll expect you to keep coming back; you've never been stalked til you've been stalked by a Bajaffe!

colbymarshall said...

Darn those 100 cal packs...they never taste the same as the real ones, either...not to mention they are about the size of a pinkie nail.

lostgirl said...

If you want to know a trick to keep it from flushing til you're ready.. although I'm loathe to share it because it's so funny to hear the stories... is put some toilet paper or a seat cover over the sensor as soon as you enter the stall.. and remove it after you've pulled up your pants and backed away... works every time..LOL

Queen Jaw Jaw said...

Add to that mix a grandkid handing on to you neck while you're trying to P at a 50 degree angle, and she's hollering, "The Flush Monster is going to eat you Gan Maw! The Flus..." SWOOOSHHHHH! "Eeeeeek! Gan Maw, hold me! Hold me!"

I don't know what I hate most...these overactive flushers or my overactive bladder. No doubt these were invented by a male (they're loud and only work when they want to)