I looked around the tiny 4 feet by 4 feet space, no, there was no tissue roll, so I rummaged through my purse. Nothing there either, not even a shred of paper. What choice did I have? So as I put my foot up to flush, I nearly slipped on the wet floor and my leg cramped. I cringed with pain, so much for the effort of trying not to come directly in contact with the flush valve. Even though I failed in my first attempt to flush, I remained undeterred. Like a superwoman, tolerating my pain born out of my cramp, I tried again and I gave a whoop of delight as I succeeded.

My smile soon gave way to a frown as I walked out of the ‘cramped’ space. Only one out of the two wash basins was in working condition. As I watched the lady gargling and rinsing on the basin, I swear, a little spit splashed on the faucet. She walked out breezily, having powdered her face and pouting for effect leaving me there to worry about finding a solution again to my perennial problem, how do I use the tap without touching the spit smeared faucet !   So my hunt began and luckily for me, I found a lone tissue on the basin area as though it was waiting for me. It was heaven sent! Trust me it was! I picked it up gingerly and used it to open the tap faucet, washed my hands and used the same to shut it off. I didn’t let go of the tissue, not just yet. My hand wet, the modest looking paper helped me open the door, and I exited from the restroom, nearly kissing the paper tissue as I chucked it in the bin.  I dread using public loos but when you have to go, you have to go!

I looked around and felt let down- malls and restaurants have this feel good factor about them- air conditioned, less noisy, best food, luxury brands, people around with friends, lovers, parents  and kids ; everything spells luxury and indulgence with the right frills. But my cramp reminded me what I had been through and it snuffed away all the positivity of being there.   While they charge a premium, why are they so negligent when it comes to the very basic need- clean, spotless restrooms? Wet floors, lack of tissues, dysfunctional dryers, empty soap dispensers! Either you don’t have them at all, but when you do, please, don’t play with our feelings and offer empty promises .  I would think electronic sensor taps and flushes are ideal for such places. They not only help conserve water as they are usually designed with low flow rate, but are extremely hygienic. With touch free taps and flushes, we do not have to get dirty again reusing the same lever or handle and there will be no cross contamination between users through the tap or flush. And in case we worry about phantom flushes (sometimes the sensors are over active and react too often), there are motion sensors that avoid this problem. The sensor here points straight up and all you have to do is wave your hand above the sensor to flush.

This takes care of the hygiene problem and at least I won’t ever have to resort to acrobatics and I can rest my brain in the rest rooms, not having to tackle the life changing issue of how to use the faucet without touching it.

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