Saturday, February 7, 2009

Wet Sleeves

I didn’t mean it to be so, but it seems that my blog is going to be a complaint repository. I apologize. Maybe it’s just now, and later I will be less grumpy. But my “less grumpy” will not be today, because today I am going to bitch about public bathrooms.

“Eww,” you may think to yourself. “Why do I want hear about that?” Okay, that’s valid. Except it’s not the gross stuff I want to complain about. I want to complain about the placement of the paper towel dispenser.

Who thought it was a good idea to put the paper towel dispenser six feet up the wall? I mean really. I have taken the care and time, prior to getting wet, mind you, to push my sleeves way up on my arms. I don’t like wet sleeves. As a matter of fact, I have been known to go change my shirt simply because my sleeves got wet and I can’t stand the way it feels. I refuse to suffer the wet sleeves until they dry. So here I am, in a public toilet. I have washed my hands in hot soapy water while singing “Happy Birthday” to myself (my cousin who works in food service told me that the Health Department guy said that the minimum time that you should wash your hands for is the time to takes to sing “Happy Birthday," so every time I wash my hands it's like a party, only there usually isn't any cake -- usually), and now I am ready to dry my hands. But have I bothered to seek out the towel dispenser before my wet, soapy songfest? No, I have not. Because if I had I would have seen that the stupid thing is so high on the wall that any little people requiring a towel would be out of luck, and us average sized people are destined for wet sleeves. Had I seen where it was I could have waved my hand in front of it 20 or thirty times just to get a 12”x8” slice for myself, and then kept it low where I could get at it after washing. But I have failed to do that.

I don’t want wet sleeves. What do I do? I can weave and bob in front of it, hoping that the sensor mistakes my head for a hand and magically spits out a towel, but that usually only results in me loosing my footing and smashing my head against the sensor, and sometimes I actually break the dispenser completely. I can wait for another bathroom patron to come by and hope that they do that nice thing where they wave in front of the dispenser to get some out, a little gift for the next person in line. Then I could reach up reallyfast and swipe it off, and that way I may avoid a wet sleeve. (And as an aside, on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving we stopped at the Cheesequake rest area on the Garden State Parkway to use the bathroom and get our sleeves wet, and when I came out of the stall to wash my hands I found Jacki at the bank of sinks and towel dispensers, and she was waving in front of each one – and there are about 20 of them. As she waved out paper at each dispenser she said “Happy Thanksgiving!” and when I asked “What are you doing?” she replied “I would give thanks if I came out of the stall and there was paper waiting for me, so I am giving everyone a Thanksgiving present!”) But usually there are no patrons to assist me, and no physical gyrations on my part will afford me the paper I need to dry my hands.

I could wipe my hands on my clothing, which is what I do where there are no paper towels, only those stupid air dryers, which are also 6 feet in the air, only with the dryers you are forced to hold your hands up for so long that your sleeves get wet all the way up to your elbows,, but I don’t want to do that. There is perfectly good paper in there, and I want some of it. I have no choice but to trade wet sleeves for dry hands.

So here is what I have to say to the public bathroom designers of the world (most of who must not actually wash their hands, because they would know better): Please don’t put that dispenser up there. My sleeves are wet.

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