Posted by: Bonnie Anderson | September 6, 2011

Rest and Social Achievement

Today I am paying tribute to the (hopefully, possibly) American workers whose contributions have made a visit to the public restroom a great, though sometimes confusing experience.  This is my way of celebrating Labor Day, which was created as a celebration of the social and economic achievements of American workers.

But first let me tell you that I did my homework regarding Labor Day.  It was initially celebrated in New York City in 1882, and in 1894 it gained its present status as a national holiday.  You, too, can gain knowledge of this day by visiting the DOL website.  Click here for a personal greeting from Secretary Solis – if you want to.  I clicked and I will tell you my thoughts to save you the trouble.

Many labor dollars were used to create this greeting, which is 4 minutes and 45 seconds long.  I got about 12 seconds in when I noticed the short version – it is only 58 seconds long.  I watched this one (she says Happy Labor Day).  Then I noticed there is a Spanish version of the short version.  This bothers me mucho as I wonder why a person is on the DOL page looking for kudos in a language that is not English and wonder why a greeting in our non-national tongue would be there.  I have to wonder no more though, because they got me – they are bilingual here.

So back to my tribute, which is in English only.   A typical Labor Day celebration today involves resting from one’s labor.  We value rest so much that we have set up special rooms for it.  There are signs everywhere that make them easy to find.  Now (here comes the tribute part) it’s even more restful than ever to go to the lavatory, i.e. restroom.

Here’s the scenario: Enter the restroom through the curved doorless doorway (no labor there to open the door).  Proceed to the stall where upon completion of your rest you don’t even have to flush the toilet (more work saved).  Head to the sink where you can wash your hands with little or no effort.  Here is the confusing part though; modern sinks are equipped with one of two labor-saving devices.  Either the soap is pumped magically into your hands or the water is dispensed without touching faucets.  I have stood for many seconds waiting for water to come out only to realize that I have to use the archaic device known as a faucet to release the flow.  I’m not sure why both never seem to be present together, but my theory is that they don’t want to spoil us.  After washing your hands, you merely have to wave your hand in front of a magic sensor and a towel  will be given to you or insert your hands into another device and they will be blown dry.

What an age we live in, but there are flaws.  Have you ever sat on the toilet and been surprised by spontaneous flushing.  This is disconcerting to me and especially disconcerting to little ones who are being potty trained.  As laborers continue contemplating new devices to make this an even more effortless and hygienic experience, I have wondered if we will ever be surprised by a robotic hand offering a gentle wipe of our tushies.  I  certainly hope not.  I don’t think America is ready for that.


  1. This adds a whole new meaning to, “May I give you a hand with that?” AGH!! No!! Love this post, as usual!!!

    • Yuck! I had to clear this one with Bob to make sure I wasn’t going too far overboard. Thanks for the comment, Debi.

  2. Love this post! don’t want any magic hand showing up in the restroom either.

    • Thanks, Lisa. That is a scary thought, isn’t it!

  3. Perhaps the problem is with the budget and not the user. They had enough money to buy the fancy faucets but not the other appurtenances. And, sometimes, the fancy delaney items (check out Doyle and Delaney) are available for peanuts- because the site only needed three- and these were left over from other jobs.
    Take if from a reformed bathroom designer…

    • A reformed bathroom designer – I’ll bet there’s a story there. I know after we did our master bath redesign two years ago my husband is now reformed, or maybe retired from that, too. That reminds me – I need to blog about that story. Thanks for stopping by, Roy.

  4. We have a new REI store in Olympia – it carries every expensive camping, hiking, sporty thing you can imagine. When Diana, Hazel and I went in the rest room, the hand blower was so loud and surprising, it scared poor little Hazel. The Dyson ones blow the skin around on your hands!

    • I have used those hand blowers and love, love, love them (except for the scaring small children part). They actually get the job done even though it’s a little freaky to see the skin on my hands rippling.

  5. Bonnie, this was a fabulous post – funny, witty, insightful (why am I not surprised). I have to share this link to a somewhat similar post I wrote about newly installed waterless urinals at workplace.

    • Thank you, Tor. I appreciate so much your encouragement. Just read and commented on your link.

  6. Enjoyed reading that and quite humorous. Most public restrooms have gotten cleaner from a decade or so ago, I think. Still occasional find one to make you shudder.

    And I’ll skip the robots, too. Thanks.

    • Thanks, Melinda. I agree – restrooms are much improved. A few are so lovely that you even want to take pictures (though I think you may get in trouble for that).

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