“I just knew at an early time in my life how important privacy was.” – Daniel Day-Lewis

I enjoy Daniel-Day Lewis.  He is definitely one of my top five favorite actors.  That list pretty much goes like this (not in order this time):

Daniel Day-Lewis (DDL)

Tommy Lee Jones (TLJ)

Gary Oldman

Bill Paxton (B. Pax)

Today we’ll put Willem Dafoe

People, one person, a friend, former friend used to tell me that I look like Bill Paxton.  I don’t see it, but I’ll take it.  Have you ever played that drinking game called Circle of Death or Waterfalls or whatever with the deck of cards and each card is a certain little game/task?  When we played, there was always a card that was “Categories” which I think might be its own drinking game to some extent.  The person who draws names a category (i.e. makes of automobile), then you go around the circle and each person has to name something in that category (Chevy, Ford, Mercedes etc.).  When you get to someone who can’t come up with an answer within about five seconds the round is over and that person has to drink.  I used to play that game with the afore-mentioned former friend.  Do you know what my go-to category was?

Bill Paxton movies.

Because he has been in a ton of movies.  Many of which I have seen.  Even more of which I can name.  Speaking of Bill Paxton, did you know that he “is the only other actor, along with Lance Hendrikson, to have been killed by a terminator, an alien, and a predator on screen (per IMDB).”

Anyway.  Back to DDL.  Because this post isn’t about B. Pax or DDL really.  It’s about privacy.  Or the opposite of it.

I want to talk to you about public bathrooms.

I consider myself a pretty private person.  I use a pseudonym on this here blog and I try not to get too specific or personal.  In real life, I don’t have a lot of friends and I like to take time to get to know someone before I open up and tell them a whole bunch of stuff about me.  I feel like it works better that way for everyone.  I used to avoid public restrooms at all costs mainly because I think they’re pretty gross, but I’ve been working 10-12 hour shifts in a town a half an hour away from my house for the past several months now, so it’s become necessary to use public facilities more often.

Here’s the thing.  I know that stores don’t have to provide a restroom.  Many don’t.  I know they don’t have to provide a spotless, sterile environment for customers or passersby to use at their convenience.  Because that’s what it is: a convenience.  But if you’re going to put time and money and manpower into creating a bathroom for people to use, here are the things that bother me the most.

  1. Warm Seats.  Let’s get this one out of the way because there really isn’t much of anything that anyone can do to eliminate the incredibly unsettling sensation of sitting down on a public toilet seat that someone else has already warmed up for you.
  2. Paper Towels/Hand Dryers.  I am concerned about the environment, but not so much that I won’t grab a handful of bleached, pre-consumer, white paper towels to dry my hands instead of standing there hunched over against a wall trying to dry my giant hands with the equivalent of a warm spring breeze.  If I’m going to use a hand dryer, it’s gotta be an XCelerator (is that what it’s called?) or the Dyson blade, because I need gale-force winds to dry my hands.  Time is money.  The thing that really bothers me about the hand dryers has to do..
  3. Inward-Opening Doors.  There is no place for an inward opening door in a public restroom.  Why?  Because not everyone washes their hands, but everyone has to open that door.  And if you combine that with a bathroom that installed gentle breeze hand dryers, you’re pretty much going to be opening that dirty-ass door with your moistened fingers.  Unless you have one of these bad boys:

The StepNPull is one of the most brilliant inventions, as long as it’s probably installed and the hydraulics on the door aren’t set to Herculean.  Speaking of doors.

4.  Gaps in Stall Doors.  There can’t be more that maybe 1/16th of an inch space between the door and the frame on a bathroom stall.  Otherwise, I feel like someone is probably going to peek in.  It’s unsettling.

5.  Automatic toilets.  I would almost rather use my foot to flush a manual toilet that use a poorly calibrated auto-flush toilet.  There’s something really frustrating about an automatic toilet flushing way too early or not at all.  Then you have to push the button on the side which could very well be covered in microparticles.  Of poo.  And speaking of the toilets themselves.

6.  Urinal Troughs.  


Quite possible the worst bathroom fixture in the history of bathrooms.  I definitely don’t want to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some other dude while we’re urinating.  They had these in my elementary school and I thought it was weird then and I still do.  I’d rather pee outside.

Thanks for listening, Dear Reader.  I know this is a far cry from my usual profundity but it’s been on my mind lately and I thought I’d put it out there.




P.S. – Here’s a glimpse into of one of my favorite restrooms in Central Texas, located at the new Brookshire Brothers off FM 306 up by Canyon Lake.  Each of the two sinks has three spouts like this: one for foaming soap, one for the water, and one for the high-power hand dryer.  The dryer also has a light to let you know that it is, indeed, the device that will DRY your hands.  Bathroom tech at its finest, am I right?


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