12 July 2007

Autoflush: When Innovation Isn't Good

So what is the deal with automatic toilets?

Welcome to the world of the Thinking Blogger, y'all.

You all know my department has temporarily relocated during the sprinkler installation so as to avoid death by asbestos 10 or 20 years from now. The new building has autoflush toilets. You know, with the little infrared beam that decides when you're sitting and when you're done.

(Side note: why isn't infrared spelled "infra-red"?)

Autoflush in my building needs to be recalibrated. That shit's just not working. Either that or autoflush is fucking with me.

At first, I was cool with the new water closet digs. Check out how the seat curves up at the rear, cradling your ass like an old recliner. Nice. So nice, in fact, that I was testing it out, leaning forward and back a little, appreciating the secure feel of the seat, when


The toilet autosprayed my ass. Literally. Damn it!

Fine. Lesson learned: no leaning around, no testing out the seating arrangements.  (Oh please. Like you've never done that.)  As long as I kept reasonably still on the porcelain throne, things would be fine.


Next trip, I go in, grab one of those paper seat covers -- or as my dad calls them, ass gaskets -- because this is a public toilet, after all. Punch out the center and lay said ass gasket down on the seat. Unbuckle belt, unhook pants, pull down, turn around to sit dow--------


Shit. Now I'm doing the bare-assed crouch maneuver over this power-flushing, porcelain vessel, the ol' bladder thinks it's time to let loose the stream, and I can't sit down because the toilet has autosucked my seat cover into its watery depths.

Shit. Practice some kegels, straighten up, awkwardly turn back around whilst keeping my knees apart so as to keep my pants up off the tiled germfest under my feet, grab another ass gasket, and repeat. This time, I back way up, so the autoflusher won't read me as "sitting" already.

It worked! I'm sitting, ass separated from the petri dish of a toilet seat by my properly placed prophylactic paper. Relief.  Except ... oh, no. This is turning out to be a Number Two occasion. Fine. Not the most convenient time and place, but whatever.  Like it's never happened to you.

So, I'm done. As the Airborne Rangers say, "Stand up, hook up, shuffle to the door ..." I try to leave (on the count of four), but the autoflush has not kicked in.

I wait.  I wave my hands around. Do a couple of squats.


Some autoflushers have a manual override. In other words, a good old, regular flushing handle. Not these. Auto all the way, baby.

I back way up. I wave my hands in front of the reader, and wait again. Nada. The toilet sits, silently automocking my ass with its feculent cargo. I resort to duck-walking toward the rear of the stall, straddling the toilet, facing the wall, so my pelvis is blocking the reader.

At this point, two women enter the bathroom, laughing and chatting. Great. There is a knock on my door. "Oh!" The woman suddenly stops chatting with her pal, quickly moving on to the next stall. Great. There is nothing to do but the backward duck-walk. My new neighbor can't help but see my rear-facing shoes retreat, unless she's counting ceiling tiles. I'm sure this confirmed her initial suspicion that I am either 1) experimenting with pissing like the boys, or 2) I am packing.  Great.

About this time, autoflush kicks in with a vengeance.

Too little, too late, you porcelain bastard.

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