Thursday, December 18, 2008

Explain to me again how this is saving water?

I have lost about 5 pounds in the past couple of weeks. I attribute this to loss of muscle, mostly because I can't exercise as much as usual. I haven't had such a dramatic weight change since losing 190 pounds of unsightly fat back in 2003, when I divorced my first husband. But I digress.

In an attempt to be as healthy as possible pre-surgery, I've been eating sensibly and drinking a lot of water as well. All of that water has to go somewhere, and so I've spent some quality time in the restroom lately. And that leads me to today's topic.

The concept of a toilet which flushes automatically intrigues me. You know what I'm talking about, right? You don't have to flush these beauties because they take care of the dirty work for you. I am not exactly sure what the point is though. It may have something to do with hygiene, perhaps, since not having to touch that disgusting handle is a major step in the right direction. But clearly there must be a cost to installing them, and thus there must be a cost savings involved, or else entities like airports wouldn't bother.

We all know that, in public, people often "forget" to flush, causing major backlogs and grossouts in the stalls. Perhaps the cleaning crew charges overtime for this, and the cost savings come into play there.

Nah, I don't buy that.

Maybe these toilets save water in a way that I'm just not understanding. Although even if they worked as designed, it seems they'd use more water than the old fashioned commodes because they flush every time, whereas we know that people don't flush every time when they have to do it themselves.

Problem is, these toilets don't work as designed. Nope. In fact, my theory is that the airport gets a kickback from the water department for every one of these uber toilets it installs, since they use FAR MORE water than a normal toilet. Variations of the following scenario have happened to me more than once, most recently during my trip to Lake Placid.

I hobble through the airport with my carry on and large puffy down coat, and find myself in need of a pit stop. After walking past about 20 gates I see the ladies room ahead of me and duck inside. I stuff myself into the tiny stall and come face to face with one of the newfangled toilets.

Since I am wearing a long coat, I take it off and hang it on the hook in front of me, but as I do that the movement of the coat evidently sets off the motion detector and ... fluuuuuush ... goes the toilet. A few drops of water end up on the seat. I hang up my cane and put my bag on the little shelf, and oops, the sensor is tripped again. FLUUUUUUUSSSSSHHHH!!!

More water gets on the seat of course, so I turn around and wipe it off with some toilet paper. Of course you all know what happens next, because this too sets off the motion detector and yet again, the toilet flushes.

I pull out one of those sanitary toilet covers and place it on the seat, carefully so as not to ... oh hell, of course you have already guessed that this sets off the motion detector and the toilet flushes, pulling half of the sanitary toilet cover into the bowl.

I am annoyed now and realize it's time to just do my business and get the f*** out of there. I step as far away from the bowl as possible so as not to set anything off, and carefully, slowly, holding my breath, unzip and de-pants myself in preparation for sitting down. I slowly back up toward the toilet, and I'm just about to sit when ...

FLUUUUUUUSSSSSSHHHHHH goes the toilet, throwing up more drops of water. I slam myself down and "go" as quickly as possible, praying that I won't be flushed on in mid-pee. Thankfully I make it, stand up, zip up, and gather my belongings while waiting for the inevitable final flush. Silence.

I move around, waving my bag toward the sensor, and shuffle my feet a bit. No flush. I do a little dance in the stall, shimmying as close to the sensor as possible in order to set off the flush response. Silence.

I stare at the toilet, realizing that I am now required to push the little red button hovering over the bowl. This means that the hygiene benefit of the automatic toilet is lost on me, along with whatever water saving functionality this monster is supposed to provide. Sigh. I lean forward and push the button. Nothing. Evidently I've exceeded the maximum number of flushes or something and the damn thing is now taking a "break."

Sheepishly I exit the stall, hoping the next occupant doesn't think I'm some sort of pig who doesn't bother to flush. No such luck, the woman waiting next in line sees the situation and gives me a dirty look as we pass one another. There's no point explaining of course. She'll find out the disturbing truth soon enough.


(Post Script: Turns out you can buy one for your own home!


Anonymous said...

wonderful post, thank you!

Lisa Hoberg said...

You lost 180 pounds? Wow! You look great!

HipSk8 said...

Yeah, it was 190 pounds of ex-husband that I "lost" ...

Kris, in New England said...

I'm also 45 and was diagnosed with CHD yesterday, December 23. Yeah I know - Merry Christmas. Found a list of Hip Chick blogs and got to yours thru a comment.

I started a blog to document my odyssey - My German Shepard Project. I hope you don't mind if I add you to my blogroll.

We Hip Chicks need to stick together!