This weekend, while we were enjoying our practically perfect Saturday, I had a couple of not perfect in any way encounters with public restrooms. That was followed by reading my friend Catherine’s blog about an “icky potty” experience with her daughter, and I realized I wasn’t alone.
I have a fear of flushing.
It’s not the same fear of flushing that prevented me from actually flushing the toilet at my grandmother’s house. That toilet would overflow if you so much as walked in the room, looked at it and walked back out. So not flushing always seemed the safest course of action.
It’s also not the same fear as I experienced using squatty-potty public restrooms overseas. That was a very real fear of falling down – it took a while to build up rock-hard thigh muscles.
What I am talking about is a fear of touching the toilet handle in a public restroom. Leave aside the debates of to-sit-or-not-to-sit, turn the sink on before washing hands or not, paper towel vs shirt vs foot vs nothing special at all to open the door. It’s a simple logical progression:
- Restroom floors are filthy.
- Shoes touch filthy floors.
- Shoes touch toilet handles.
- Toilet handles are filthy.
I know not everyone flushes a toilet with their foot, but there are many who do. This leads to a classic dilemma:
- Has this toilet ever been flushed using a foot?
- If it has, was the toilet handle cleaned when the toilet was last cleaned? (Ummm….likely not)
- Was this toilet flushed using a foot today?
- Do I take a risk and use my hand?
By the number of women contorting their bodies in narrow stalls, balancing jackets and bags, all to flush the toilet using their feet, I would say that I am not the only risk-averse person when it comes to flushing public toilets.
So here’s a question:
- If they make toilets that flush automatically – sometimes while you’re still seated, and sometimes so rigorously that the seat gets soaked (re: the earlier question of to-sit-or-not-to-sit)
- If they make sinks that turn on automatically
- If they make soap dispensers that squirt automatically, and
- If they make hand dryers that dispense either air or paper towels automatically, then
- Why can’t they make a toilet with a flush mechanism that is foot operated?