If you know me, personally, you know that I'm not one to use a public restroom unless it is completely unavoidable. I'm not what you'd call an overly germ-conscious person in other areas of my life but I'd rather just hold it until I get home than deal with the un-pleasantries of a public latrine. I might interject that one exception is a church bathroom. With all of our shortcomings and weaknesses, we, Christians, should be commended for our pristine communal bathroom conditions. Even as it relates to restrooms, it seems that cleanliness is, indeed, next to godliness. I might also add here, at no additional charge, that my mother, the queen of clean, also gives Dillard's high bathroom ratings with Cracker Barrel as an acceptable alternative in times of emergency. Just FYI.
We, women, generally had one of two kinds of mothers. There was the Type 1 mother who sent us in the public restroom alone as a child with no instructions or warnings about what not to touch. This kind of mother didn't cringe at the thought of her little girl with her hands resting on either side of the toilet seat to steady herself and her pants legs dangling on the ground. No, this mother was laid back and such things never crossed her mind as her little daughter ran off to the bathroom alone at the Burger Chef. These mothers were of the mindset that there was nothing in this world that a little soap couldn't wash off. I was always fascinated with my friends who had Type 1 mothers and the freedom they had to flirt with death.
Then, there was the Type 2 mother like I had......and the kind that I became. I'm not sure but I think the Type 2 mother may be more prevalent here in the South. I'd take little Blair in the restroom only after repeatedly asking, "Are you sure you can't hold it?"......I mean, just to be sure. We'd go in and my first instruction was a stern, "Don't touch a thing!" I'd survey the stall options and choose the cleanest one. I'd lay a protective layer of toilet paper on the seat and then another one or two for good measure, you know, since she was too short to hover which is the preferred method of dealing with such an insanitary situation. I'd help her up reminding her to keep her hands in her lap at all times while making sure her pants didn't touch the floor which would consequently require their immediate incineration when we got home. We'd finish up and I'd use my foot to flush just like my mother taught me and we'd carefully back out of the stall. I'd put soap and water on a paper towel and wash her little hands and, of course, like any woman worth her salt, I'd use her drying towel to open the door to exit. Heaven forbid there was only a hand dryer in there leaving us with no way to open the door....but we won't get into that today.
These new fangled automatic toilets, well, they just don't function properly for those of us who were brought up to believe that, if you sit on a public toilet, you might as well lick the stall handle and roll around in that mysterious puddle on the floor while you're at it. It's the school of thought which believes that STDs abound in public restrooms and they will jump on you like fleas on a dog and that all drug resistant strains of every bacteria under the sun are present there. It is the birthplace of many-a-chronic and incurable disease. And since contact is a necessary component in the automatic toilet's functioning, it just doesn't work for us, Type 2 daughters......like we don't already have enough stressors to deal with while we're in there.
We had lunch at a restaurant over the weekend and I had to visit to their public facilities. We were out of town and so waiting until I got home wasn't really an option. I entered the stall and was so thrilled to see a purse hook on the back of the door. I'm liking the new lowered purse hook for greater security as opposed to just removing them all together. For those public establishments who've removed your purse hooks, you can't imagine the level of difficulty involved in trying to hold a 20lb purse and attempting to conduct your business while avoiding making contact with any surfaces in the 2' x 3' infested area. Leaning forward while balancing 20 lbs in one's hand can make one top heavy but luckily one's head is already resting on the stall door at this point and prevents one from tipping over....but I digress. On top of all of the hurdles, there was the struggle to keep my long sweater fringe from falling into the toilet. We, women, sometimes wear long, flowy things which can add another level of difficulty to the process. Men just can't imagine the coordination involved in purse balancing/fringe gathering /seat avoidance/backwards target accuracy. It's a skill set that gets far too little attention in my opinion.
So, I finished my business and turned around to flush only to discover it was one of those dang automatic toilets. I stood there waiting for it to flush thinking it may be a timed type deal. I mean, it randomly flushed when I walked in and locked the door behind me so I thought maybe it was on a timer. But, nothing. I waved my foot in front of what looked like it could've been a sensor. Nothing. Then, I lightly kicked at the sensor. Nothing. I took my foot and applied slight pressure to the toilet seat and then lifted it in an attempt to mimic someone, who had a Type 1 mother, actually sitting on it. Nothing. I searched for a button. None. I tossed in more toilet paper to move the water a bit. Nothing.
What was a girl to do? There were other people in there. Ladies waiting for my stall. You can't just exit a restroom stall without a flush first. You'll get judgmental looks. You could have your southern belle card revoked. I've seen revocation for far less crimes. And if you stand in there too long, they'll begin to wonder what you're doing and start looking under the door only to see your feet facing the toilet! So, I waited there, awkwardly, praying for a flush. When you've done all you can do, pray.... even in the small things. Finally, I heard the glorious sound of flushing which had enough power to suck me in by my fringe had I been one-half inch closer but it was glorious, nonetheless.
So, I urge everyone who was raised by a Type 2 mother.....don't suffer with the automatic toilet alone. We have to rise up and be heard. We need each other in this age of automation. We demand change. We want a good old-fashioned lever we can stomp. Just like our mamas taught us. It's all we ask, really. Just bring back the lever.
Or put your little sensors on the back of the stall door.......where our heads rest.
If we can change just one bathroom, we will have made a difference.
Y'all have a good one!