Thursday, June 6, 2013

Going Green and Seeing Red

This has probably happened to you too. In fact I know it has. I stuck my hands underneath the automatic faucet in a public bathroom. It’s automatic now because we can’t be trusted on our ownsome to turn on the water, run it at the right speed and temperature, and then turn it off. I’m ever so grateful that someone has put the power of technology behind taking that heavy burden off my mind. My nights now are ever so restful. 

It’s so much easier to frolic around the faucet as if possessed by demons, trying to figure out the right body posture and hand position to bring forth the flowing waters. Well apparently the faucet gods were pleased with my performance. The water came out so fast and furious that it splashed all over the sink, the counter, my handbag, and my clothes.

Back in the bad old days of our heady ecological recklessness I could have just grabbed some paper towels and dried everything off. But today we’re so advanced, that is not an option. So I stood there soggy and angry – not a good combination – contemplating my options. 

I could’ve gone back and grabbed some toilet paper but the ladies room was (surprise, surprise) crowded. Every stall was occupied. Was I supposed to get back on line again and wait my turn? That might have given me time to air dry but would’ve done nothing about the puddles I’d created on the counter. (Apparently my anger wasn’t hot enough to evaporate the water into the atmosphere.) Should I have cut the line when the next stall became available, forever endearing myself to the next woman who’d been patiently waiting? That would have been cruel given how urgently she was shifting from foot-to-foot doing her best grown up pee-pee dance.

And besides, toilet paper is not a good go-to option in this situation. It doesn’t quite have the absorbency of say a Sham Wow. Ooh, Sham Wow toilet paper. Now there’s an idea. Because if you’ve ever used regular old toilet paper to clean off anything then you know it gets ugly quick. Ply notwithstanding it instantly shreds into tiny little balls and flakes that cling to your clothing in a most unflattering constellation. So then I’d be damp, angry, and ratty. 

I abandoned all hope of drying off the countertop, and just tried to save myself. My handbag was a lost cause as well. Of all the days to go with suede. I had to do something about my clothes though. The water managed to hit The Zone of Maximum Embarrassment. I’d be walking around all day explaining: “No, I didn’t wet myself. No, I’m not lactating.” The problem was that the hand dryer was fixed to the wall at eye level. No matter how I angled my body it was going to look lude. Trying to do a handstand on hard ceramic tile without a spotter seemed unwise. Oh, who am I kidding? I’m not that limber. 

All this could have been avoided if the establishment had kept a few paper towels on hand for emergencies. But apparently that’s my job now: carrying paper towels in my already overstuffed handbag; my already overstuffed, water-stained, suede handbag. 

I should be used to it because it’s also my job when I purchase an appliance, or any piece of electronics, to download and print out the manual on my own paper. Or I could do the ecologically responsible  – and yet medically dubious  – thing and strain my eyes reading the manual on my computer screen. (I know. My nerdiness is showing. Who else would spend money on a product and then have the audacity to want to know how to use it? These are First World problems.) 

But let’s not lose sight of what’s really important here: Big ups to Big Business. You’ve reduced your carbon foot print by kicking your customers in the ass with it. I am green with envy.

The Urban Erma, the longest running column on, was created and written by Leighann LordListen to the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher RadioWatch the video edition on YouTube.comIf you enjoy The Urban Erma please leave a comment, like it on Facebook, follow on Twitter, and share it with your friends. (Share it with people who are not your friends and maybe they will be.) 


Danny Robinson said...

This situation definitely EOE (Equal Opportunity Embarrassment) situation that has affected (or attacked) people of every walk (or splash) of life! We will survive Big Business' tech improvements despite the current paper prohibitions!

Leighann Lord said...

LOL! Thanks Danny!

Lorna (with 7 yr sisterlocks) said...

"Lude" like in quaalude or lewd like in sexually suggestive? Lol Btw, you don't have to print this; I'm just anal. I enjoy your writing. What I really hate are the "magic toilets" that watch you and flush before you are finished, spraying water and bacteria all over. I'm always trying to get out before they flush - sometimes still in disarray. Lol

Leighann Lord said...

Good catch! Thank you so much. I of course made the change. My inner perfectionist couldn't resist!