Now this one is Joe's fault. In yesterday's post, Joe left the following comment -
Getting slightly off topic, some of those dispensers are automatic, some not and they do not always tell you. I feel like such an idiot waving my wet hands under the non-automatic ones expecting the paper to come out...actually, maybe I am an idiot.I did promise him that I wouldn't call him an idiot, in any language, but his comment sparked thoughts of a number of annoying things about public restrooms. Now I know there is much about a public restroom that your average human finds annoying, if not downright disgusting, but this series is not Things I Find Downright Disgusting. (Which would be TIFDD which is nearly unpronounceable as an acronym. I mean how would you say that? Tiff-duh? Tiff-Dee? Doesn't work for me but...)
I'll bet you could call me that in several languages.
Okay, first off, when a public restroom is not well maintained and clean, well, that is annoying to me, though in reality, I'm a guy, it has to be pretty filthy before I notice. Let me tell you, I have been in some really disgusting restrooms. Like gas station restrooms. But again, that's disgusting, not annoying.
All I really require of a restroom (other than some guarantee of not coming down with some fatal disease after being in one) is that the plumbing works, I can wash my hands, then dry my hands. What's that? Toilet paper? Nope, not a big consideration. To need TP it would have to be a dire emergency, like nuclear war, zombie apocalypse emergency for me to (ahem) "drop a deuce" in a public restroom. (Sorry folks, one can't discuss restrooms without getting slightly scatological. Paenitet.)
Now I don't need a torrent of water with which to wash my hands, but a dribble is somewhat annoying. (Again the post title is not TIFSA, which is at least pronounceable, but TIFPA. 'Tis a matter of degree really...) As long as I can wet them down, I'm good. I can even fool myself into thinking we're all sanitary if there is no soap to be had. Missing soap is, again, only somewhat annoying.
What I find particularly annoying are deficiencies in the hand drying apparatus, or lack thereof. Again, I'm a guy, I will use my trouser legs to dry my hands in a pinch. But it is particularly annoying to have to do so. Now let's assume that there are some means (other than clothing) with which to dry one's hands after having done one's (ahem) "business."
Now Joe mentioned the automatic paper towel dispensers which can be found in many places across this great nation. I find them to be present in any number of airport and restaurant restrooms. (Though not necessarily in the restrooms of restaurants that are within airports. Oft times there are none in those establishments because there are numerous restrooms strategically locally throughout the concourse, obviating the need and requisite expense to build a restroom within the restaurant itself. Well, except in Philadelphia. Don't get me started on the construction projects in Philly's airport. They are ongoing and place any number of restrooms off limits. I know this because...)
Sorry, digressed there didn't I?
So, I've washed my hands and I look for a paper towel dispenser.
Let me (ahem) digress for a moment (really, again?) I don't really like those Dyson dip and dry blower things.
I mean come on, it's called an airblade for crying out loud, I'm not sticking my hand into anything with the word "blade" in the name. At some point in time they might put actual blades in those things, then you'd have people all over the airport with no hands screaming and spraying blood everywhere. Damned messy that. No thank you. (Okay, to tell the truth, I did use one once. After sighing with relief that no blades were to be seen, I noted that no matter how many times I dipped my hands up and down, they weren't getting any drier. So in my experience, they don't work all that well. If it's to be a blow dryer, let it be one of those Xcelerator hand dryers, thing's like a freaking jet engine where you almost have to brace yourself. Don't be wearing any loose bracelets either, Xcelerator will take those clean off!)
Okay, I digressed but I do love me some Xcelerator. If there's one of those in the restroom, I'm a happy camper. The old hand dryers blew out tepid air like some weak spring breeze and the only way your hands got dry was by the friction of "gently" rubbing them together. (After about five minutes, straight to the trouser legs, I can't stay in here all day!)
Alright, paper towel dispensers. The automatic kind, wie so* -
I mean they look suspiciously like "normal" pull-with-the-two-hands type dispensers, but they're not. See the wavy hand thingee in the picture. It's not saying "hi there," it's drawing your attention to the fact that it's "motion activated," as in "wave your hand here and magically a paper towel will come out."
Well they do come out, usually enough paper towel to dry half of one hand, then you have to wave again, to get another. Wait for it to stop and wave again. But by now perhaps your hands are dry from all that waving. I dunno.
Then when you get used to the automatic types you will be in a restroom and be waving frantically at the thing expecting towels. Only to discover that it's one of those pull-with-the-two-hands type dispensers as noted above. The thing which you've been waving at for five minutes like some enormous fool. (Not gonna say "idiot," I promised...)
One thing that I find really particularly annoying is when you can see the paper towels inside, but they refuse to come out. Like they're off the roller or jammed. They are right there, so close yet so far. In those cases the towels might as well be on the moon! (Which is why I always wear jeans, they are marvelous hand dryers in a pinch.)
Now the pull-with-the-two-hands type dispensers are normally pretty reliable. Except the ones we have where I work. The towels come out sporadically. Even when you pull-with-the-two-hands as instructed and required.
For you see, the perforated towels are run through a machine which has apparently been set to perforate the towel roll at completely random intervals. This will produce really short towels which will cause the remainder of the roll to snap back into the dispenser and either cause towel derailment (as I call it) so that no more towels can be dispensed, or the damn thing jams completely. Most of the time you have to use the whirligig thingee on the side of the dispenser to mechanically roll the towels out. (Sometimes that just creates a bigger jam inside the dispenser. Which you can see. So close...)
My one pet peeve with these type dispensers are the "macho" men who tear the towels off. A sharp tug up and to the side and "we don't need no stinking perforations" causes the rest of the roll to retract into the dispenser like a startled turtle.
For you see, I hate using the whirligig thingee on the side of the dispenser to mechanically roll the towels out. It is oft times wet and slippery with "oh dear Lord what the Hell is that" stuck to it.
Most unsanitary it is. And most particularly annoying.
But that's what this series is all about. Innit?
* Auf Englisch "like this."