It’s a delicate subject so discretion, please .
The subject is the bathrooms in public rest rooms.
Let’s start with the toilet seat covers. The ones in a plastic box of covers attached to the wall over the toilet. It says, in clear English, “pull up and then down.”
So I pull up and then down, and find a tissue looking object the shape of a toilet seat in my hand. It is transparent and has some scoring around the inside. The shape is a toilet seat on the outside with a smaller toilet seat shape inside.
Now what? Am I supposed to tear the areas of scoring to get an opening in the middle, or put the entire piece directly on top of the toilet seat, scored areas intact?
Was the inventor of this accessory going for the “clear sailing method”, with nothing but air between the seat and the person using it? Or did he plan for the person to simply pee through the tissue as it lay in tact on the seat?
While the world is busy with its rioting, losing homes and losing jobs, these are the kinds of dilemmas that concern me.
And while we’re in the toilet, what about the automatic flush? It must be on hormones or steroids. Here’s what typically happens.
I walk into the Ladies Room, close the stall door, put my handbag on the hook, and hear something flushing. I have not even looked in the direction of the toilet; my back was facing it as I dealt with the handbag hook.
So I inch forward and approach the flushing thing, when it does it again. Another flush.
When the time arrives for actually needing the toilet to flush it does so on schedule. Then as I reach for my bag and prepare to leave, it flushes a final farewell.
Four flushes, only three necessary. At least three times the amount of water wasted.
Then off to the sink, fitted with an automated spout. As I push down the soap dispenser the obliging water spout greets me with a cascade of water. I rinse my hands and reach for a paper towel. My hands are dry: the water is still running in the sink.
The amount of water wasted in this one visit, multiplied by the number of women visiting the rest room in a single day would be enough to make the Sahara bloom and rebloom.
So I am mounting an appeal to conservationists everywhere. Please help me stop the water wasting. You may assume that clean water is readily available to people everywhere in the world. But this is not so.
I sponsor a child in Kenya through SHAREAFRICA.ORG. Winnie is a ten year old AIDS orphan. She sent me a letter recently describing her chores. They include mopping the floors and fetching water. Winnie walks to a stream and fills and carries heavy buckets of water back to the school several times a day. I shudder to think about the contaminated water those children are forced to drink.
Yet we squander this precious resource with our modern conveniences.