Friday, July 23, 2010

My Body Doesn't Trigger Stuff

Deb: We were at the Stratford Festival yesterday to see Peter Pan. For those of you in the area, or those who are so inclined, I highly recommend it. Magical! Our good friend, Tom, is playing Captain Hook and it is one of those blessed marriages of actor and role. When I was in the loo/washroom/powder room/toilet/bathroom (hope that covers our followers around the world), I was reminded of a blog-post I have been meaning to write for a while.

It is simply thus. My body does NOT trigger sensors. You KNOW what I am talking about. The fancy toilets that flush as soon as you stand up. And the taps that turn on as soon as your hands are in the general vicinity of the sink. Not me. Nope. Nothing. Nada. And so there I stand in the toilet hovering and swinging my derrière back and forth like a rhythm-deprived stripper. Hoping against hope that the sound of a flush will be forthcoming. If someone is waiting for my stall, I feel compelled as I exit to make excuses and drive home that fact that I have thrown out my hip trying to trigger the damn thing. And although they want to be sympathetic, their expression quickly turns sour, as they begin to realize what awaits them on the other side of the door.

Then I rush, humiliated, to the sinks, only to find the same issue as I wave my fingers frantically over the sensor. I move panic-stricken from sink to sink, like a bad semaphore, an embarrassed flush flooding my cheeks. So I lay in wait until the first wave of witnesses have left the washroom. Then I pretend to wipe the excess water off my hands with the all too dry paper towel. These loo newcomers are none the wiser. But the jig will soon be up. They will walk into the stall with expectations of cleanliness, their high hopes dashed. I’m NOT a boor, I swear. I can’t help it.

What can a dirty girl do? I’m looking into a “trigger” implant.

Barbara: Ha! Poor thing! I, of course, have the opposite problem. I am a tall girl, not “big”, but not a waif. I set off those damn triggers just by walking into the stall. And, argh, there’s nothing like sitting on the toilet and being hosed with a flush set off by the automatic trigger. I feel myself shuddering upon shudder at the certain horror of being awash with other people’s waste. So disgusting!!! I’d rather pretend I am too loutish to flush than have the toilet turn into an unsolicited, germ-infested pseudo-bidet. Argh.


  1. I hear you, sista! I once had this problem in Japan... I tried everything, including pouring the content of my expensively vending machine-bought bottle of water into the hole - nope, not helping at all.

    I looked around the room - surely even the ultra automatic toilets would have a "dummy button" - I mean, you can still turn off computers with the power button if everything else fails, surely an automatic bathroom should have one too? But nooooo...

    Eventually I had to give up. When I left the stall there was a line (of course) of little old Japanese ladies. I speak no Japanese, they spoke no English (or Norwegian, I presume, though I didn't really think to try...). I had no way of explaining that I really had tried to flush (as this would have made for one of the most awkward body language conversations in my life), and my repeated attempts at saying the word "broken" and waiving my hands did nothing to convince them not to enter the stall.

    To this day those little ladies probably think foreigners are too stupid to flush...

  2. I know what you mean. I hate those stupid sensor hand washing sinks. We just need to go back to the good old fashion do it yourself hand washing sinks the ones where you can turn the water on and off your self's and for goodness sakes the regular flush your self's pottys. It would make life so much less complicated, and I am all for that sometimes.

  3. Thanks, Cruella -- that was hysterical! And, yeah, Lyndsie -- sometimes less is definitely more, right?

  4. Deb -

    Do you carry a small snap top bottle of hand sanitizer (GermX, Purell) in your purse for those times when the sinks ignore you? You can wash your hands with the GermX and stick your tongue out at the defiant sink and declare, "Ha! See! I don't need you!"

    I carry a bottle for my son and myself to use after having to use public bathrooms that aren't sensor automated. I once saw a news exposee' about bacteria in public bathrooms, and it kinda has messed me up forever (weird, I know). I push the flush handle with my foot, and I use Germx instead of using the sink (or even if I use the sink, I end up GermX'ing anyway afterward) because scientists have found that the sink handles in public bathrooms are germier than the toilet seats! *cringe* I know LOTS of people use a paper towel to turn off the sink handle, but that's not an option in the bathrooms that have the hand dryer blower thingies. When my son has to go to a public bathroom, I always tell him, "Don't touch anything! And, pee like a man [standing up]."

    Oh, and joy of joys, my son discovered bathroom graffiti in a public restroom recently. He came out with a really startled look on his face and quietly told me in a hesitant voice, "Uuuuuuuhhh, Mom. People wrote on the walls in there. And, it's bad words and naughty stuff. I tried not to read it." Poor kid. He was really rattled.

    After reading this blog for a while, I've gotten to where I pretty much forget that you are a somewhat a public figure. I don't know, you've just become "sweet Deb from Cananda who has that great blog with sweet Barbara." And, then one of you mentions "being on the set" or something, and my brain kinda goes, "HUH? Oh, yeah. Right. Gotcha. Weird. Whole 'nother world." So, when I read your sensor-resistance plight in this post, I cringed doubly hard because I could imagine some really mean shrew crossing paths with you in a public restroom and then going around spouting off all over the place her story about "that actress from TV who is so nasty she doesn't even flush toilets and wash her hands in the bathroom." At first, your lament was kind of funny. But, when I gave the implications some thought, I begin to think, "Poor Deb and her stealth boody."

    BTW, those sensor toilets always flush so suddenly and so hard! They remind me of the potties in airplanes. *shudder*

    Love and hugs,

  5. I have a hard time setting them off too but luckily for me all of the automatic toilets I've used have the button at the back or on the wall that I can push (normally located by the sensor) but darn it if I don't spend 15 minutes waving my hands around like a lunatic for the soap, water and air dryer! And then my hubby wonders how come it takes me so long to pee while we're travelling......ugh!

  6. Depending on the sensor I have both problems. Some are too sensitive and others to hard. I haven't tried the derrière dance. I have waved my hand up, down and in circles around the sensor thing. I have even cover the sensor like I was play peek-a-boo with it.

    Other times the dang thing goes off as I step into the stall or worse yet while I'm still sitting on it.

    And the sensors on the sink I have a real problem with. They just don't like my hands. Especially after they have allowed me enough water to soap up my hands. So I stand there and do the hand jive at the sink until I find the exact spot that will turn the dang thing on. Doesn't it sometimes feel like your on an episode of Candid Camera.

  7. I work at an airport, and of course, everything in the bathrooms there are by sensor. The toilets, sinks, no problem. But I stand in front of the paper towel dispenser and wave my hands around every single day! Several times there have been multiple other people around staring at me as I go from dispenser to dispenser waving my dripping hand without success. It's even worse when someone else sticks their hand in front of it and gets their towel immediately. I've gotten used to resignedly telling anyone around that the things "just don't like me." *sigh* And I thought it was just me. :)

  8. Actually, it's true -- this sensor/trigger issue adds endless minutes to the already long bathroom fandango. If only the guys knew...

    But I do have to say, my germaphobe side kinda likes the "no-touch" aspect ... if only it actually worked.

  9. Deb I am laughing so hard!!! I have stood there waving my hands under the faucet but nothing no water I figure they did not pay the water bill, ha. scoot over to where the water is running from someone else then run over to the dryer waving hands at the red dot nothing, nada!! I walk away and wipe my wet hands on my clothes figuring I know they are clean. Cheers:)

  10. OMG too funny. I thought this just happened to me. I spent about ten minutes trying to get a loo to flush at a jewellery show yesterday. I must have looked like I was guiding a plane out of its berth. I even walked out and walked in again to see if it read the in and out motion. I then went over to the taps. Same story. I tried three sinks and then someone walked in. At that moment "my" loo decided to wake up and flush, at least three minutes later. The woman who came in, by the way, just wanted to wash her hands. The tap immediately sprung into action. I give up...


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