Well, the first thing that comes to mind when I see the word Complicated is Avril Lavigne’s song. I’m not going to say whether or not I think that is a good thing, it just happens to be what it is. And, like it or not, kudos to her for creating something that sticks. That’s the idea, isn’t it? It is a song that is quite recognizable to most and it certainly made the charts. But, this post today is not about Ms. Lavigne. In fact, I’m going to dedicate this one to a dear friend of mine with whom I met up for lunch the other day, which turned into the whole afternoon of our usual easy, yet very philosophical discussions. In amongst our many topics however, came about a blog worthy idea suggested by her after using the restaurant’s lavatory and her need to know why each public washroom insists upon complicating the parts which are there to serve one of our most primal human needs–using the facilities. In other words, when ‘desperate times call for desperate measures’, why can’t we just keep things simple, so that we can get the job done and get in and out of there as quickly as possible? Afterall, that’s what we all want, isn’t it?!
So, let’s take a closer look at things…
- The Signs. Why is that they use an ‘M’ and a ‘W’ as signage for the doors? In the most often dark corridors leading up to the washrooms, these can be hard to see. Younger folk might think, ‘How can you mix them up? One is clearly upside down vs. right side up’ (which we joked there was a good reason for, but that’s a whole other entry:-). Though true about the obvious positioning of the letters, many people have mistaken one for the other and will probably continue to do so. When you are older, and the need is more prevalent and eyesight is, well….a little less sharp, you may understand how the two can be mistaken. I say, how about trying something more obvious when adorning the doors, such as ‘L’ and ‘G’ for ladies and gentlemen? Not as likely to go wrong with those, and it still only requires the use of one letter each. No extra costs involved and a heckuva lot more clear for us older peeps, especially. (Or maybe for those who like to indulge a little as well, and find themselves a bit tipsy upon getting up–not that I personally would know anything about that;-).
- The Toilet. You use it, but then there is the whole quandary of, “To flush or not to flush”. When you finally shift away from the throne, will it wash everything away of its own volition, or do you have to press the button or push down on the handle? It’s not always clear, you know. I mean, have you ever stood there fastening your pants waiting, wondering what will be? Do you make the first move or will it? It’s kinda like a chess game of sorts, ‘Who moves the King?’. It’s. A. Public. Toilet. NOT the place for playing games. Even if it is supposed to be automatic, the next question is, ‘Will it actually work?’. And, when it doesn’t, as has been the case for many of us I’m sure, where is the ’emergency manual flush’? Maybe the good ol’ handle invention really is the best bet on this one. The sooner we get ‘er down, the better.
- The Sink. Much like the john itself, the question is, ‘Is it automatic or not?’. When you walk up to the faucet and wave your hands using the ‘right’ velocity and angle, will it turn on? I can’t tell you how many times I have completed a whole barrage of hand signals with the hopes of hitting the lucky combination. Kinda like hoping for a lotto win of sorts. Ridiculous and not at all necessary, unless they have a camera to tape all of one’s goofy moves, which they silently watch and revel in! Really, I just need the dang water to turn on. And no, on this one, I do not favour the old way of doing things. I really don’t have any desire to touch the taps touched by many before me, who might not have been so careful as to which hand they have used to turn the tap, if ya know what I mean?! (Sorry, but it had to be said.)
- Soap. The magic wave, a handle to press or does the dispenser even have any? Good heavens! All a girl or guy wants is a little cleansing agent to get a lather on. Without it, how are we supposed to sing the infamous, “Happy Birthday” tune while foaming up to ensure that we have killed all of ‘the bugs’? Otherwise, unlike the campaign that ‘Not all Bugs need Drugs’, you might.
- Hand-drying. Once again, it’s a gamble as to what you will find. An air dryer, plain old folded paper towels, the cloth laundry looking pull-down roll (gross!), or a temperamental machine which dictates how much towel ‘it’ thinks we need for drying. I’ll take the latter, as long as I can get it to produce enough to not only dry my hands, but to also be able to pull open the door handle on my way out. VERY IMPORTANT, otherwise you have just defeated steps three and four. Which brings me to the many versions of air dryers. Regardless of which kind, I think that they should all go by the way side. While I understand that we want to take care of the environment and reduce paper waste, this is NOT the proper place to be doing so. Save elsewhere all you want, just not here please. I swear that all those drying machines do is simply blow the leftover germs around, including up toward your face (blech!), in addition to ‘stretching’ your skin to new levels while threatening to suck up any rings or jewelry that you may wish to keep. Plus, without any towel to dry off with, that leaves a person with only their sleeve to use to pull open the door upon exiting. Not exactly favourable.
- The Garbage. Provided that you make it to this last step, and that you actually have a towel to dispose of, let’s just agree that the garbage NEEDS to be within arm’s reach of the washroom door. Since we all just want to get out of there as germ-free as possible, bare touch on handles needs to be avoided at all costs, and so having a bin at the ready is a must! Otherwise, we are forced to test out our basketball skills, which in my case aren’t really great, or take the used towel with us back out into the restaurant where people are eating to try and find somewhere to properly get rid of it. No one wants that. Somehow to me, it’s akin to visiting the lab and walking out with your ‘plastic cup’ for all to see. Know what I am talking about?
As sung by young Avril, and for all restroom engineers to heed, “Why do you have to go and make things so complicated” when it comes to taking care of our basic needs out in public? Or, as said by my friend that day at lunch, “I just wanna go…”. Can we not just keep it simple?