Thursday, September 24, 2009
What the Flush?
I’ll never forget the first time I encountered an automatic toilet flusher. My friend and I entered the bathroom at the Ala Moana Shopping Center, completely unwarned. When I stood up to button my jeans, the toilet did the unthinkable and flushed itself. I leapt off the floor, landing a half-twist to face the conspicuous bowl. In the stall next to me, my friend’s toilet flushed, and I heard a shrill “Oh!” Then, because she’s 100% vision-impaired, she shouted, “Hey, who flushed my toilet?”
“Must be the same person who flushed mine,” I answered, knocking on her door to alert her.
Her door flew open and there she was looking befuddled. We went to wash our hands and discovered the shiny new faucets had no handles. The woman next to me waved her hand in front of the spigot, and miraculous water poured forth. I showed this to my 100% vision-impaired friend, and she liked it so much that she washed and rewashed.
We laughed it off as I proposed my theory that the mall must have a guy sitting in a dark room with monitors that show when to push the flush buttons. Scratching his hairy belly, he just sits there all day with a bag of chips and a beer, waiting for the innocent potty people to stand up. “Say cheese, sucker,” he says then pushes his little red button. My friend added that it must be Toilet Man’s wife who does the hand washing.
That was at least ten years ago, and now at the new (3 year old) campus where I teach, we have an impressive LEED certified, fully “green” faculty bathroom, designed to conserve water and keep our environment from going down the proverbial toilet. Yes, the toilet has an automatic flusher, but this is no ordinary deal. This faculty flusher behaves overzealously every time you sit down, flushing upon any movement whatsoever. So if the potty person wants to read something, he better not turn the page. It’s so annoying that I resorted to using Post-it notes to cover up the sensor until I was good and ready. Little did I know that doing this would trip up the system, resulting in an endless series of flushes, hence depleting the Honolulu Board of Water Supply’s supply.
It’s enough to send me to the outhouse, where, knowing my luck, there’ll be an automatic bidet ready, willing, and able.