Feeling a little flush

I am old enough to have personally used a toilet where the tank was suspended on the wall and you pulled on a chain hanging down from the tank to flush it. I'm also old enough to have retrieved water at my grandfather's camp by priming a cast-iron, hand-operated pitcher pump.

To illustrate to you just how far we've come in the 21st century, dear reader, I'm going to tell you about the restrooms at the company where I work-restrooms that would give wings to Bill Gates' heart and arrhythmia to my grandmother's.

The toilets flush themselves. The soap squirts out on its own. The water flows when you put your hands under it. Wave at the sensor and a dispenser parcels out an appropriate amount of paper towel.

It's damned spooky. I've promised myself that I can give notice if they install an automatic wiper.

I do think that the sensors on my company's modern restroom marvels need to be re-calibrated, because the automatic toilet flusher is too sensitive, and the water faucet is not sensitive enough.

Here's what happens. You sit on the stool and do your thing, and then you stand up. The toilet flushes. If you take too long putting yourself back together (primarily a female issue: underwear, panty-hose, slip, chastity belt, pantaloons, adjust, adjust, tug, zip) it flushes again. And if you fumble at the act of getting out the door, it flushes yet again!

Three flushes for one visit! This is not good! It's a waste, so to speak, and I'm personally beginning to suffer from performance anxiety.

I'm in a high-pressure job, and here's one of the few places where you'd think I could rest for a minute and take my sweet time and not be all Type-A about the process. It is called a restroom, after all. But since water is so dear and since I'm naturally competitive, I've become hyper-aware of my problems with Multiple Flush Syndrome.

I try to make progress during every restroom visit. Upon completion of my task, I close my eyes and take a deep, preparatory breath. When I have reached an appropriate Zen-like state, I leap up and tug and grope at my clothing as the first flush occurs, and then I reach for the little quarter-sized twisty door lock, but I never make it out of the stall before it flushes again.

I'm a Double-Flusher or worse, no matter how hard I try.

It is, in fact, starting to flush when I enter the stall, and I'm getting pretty paranoid about it. I suspect that it must have something to do with the size of my butt, that the sensors can see it coming and they get all apprehensive and signal the toilet to flush as a preemptive strike. For all I know, it might even be flushing as I think about going to the bathroom and head down the hall toward it. I suppose that if you have a derriere that can block out the sun, it might impact hypersensitive automatic flushing instruments as well.

Desperate, I'd recently taken to a stealth approach-sidling up to the seat in an attempt to disguise the width of my backside and take it by surprise-but then the other day, a young wisp of a thing set it off three times while I was washing my hands, and I felt much better about myself and immediately cancelled my appointment with the therapist.

But the under-performing water faucet is still a problem.

You can reach Pat Detmer, who has put "Single-Flush" at the top of her Life Goals List, at patdet@aol.com or P.O. Box 171, Coupeville, 98239.[[In-content Ad]]