Legal Quandary

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Teach Your Children Well

I am a complete germophobe.

Yes, I know that makes me an utter freak, but let's move beyond that.

In fact, let's move a complete generation beyond that, because I have apparently managed to instill this phobia into my children as well. Maybe not so much the actual phobia part - more the specific activities associated with it.

A cardinal rule of being a girl in my family is NEVER touch ANYTHING in a public restroom with a bare body part. EVER. If no seat liners are available, they are improvised from multiple strips of toilet paper. Toilets are always flushed with your feet. Doors opened with a paper towel. Water turned on with one paper towel with a second one standing by for the actual hand drying. (Because you don't want to be exposed to anyone's second hand germiness.) And yes, I even use my elbow to get the paper towels. If I started carrying around Kleenex for the express purpose of touching things in restrooms that have only hand dryers, I'd turn into my grandmother, but you get the general idea.

My BiL and SiL were in town this weekend. So, while I was studying away at home, the rest of the family went to baseball games. Predictably, during at least one of these, Lil Q shouted out "I have to go potteeeeee!" SiL took her. When they all got home that night, she asked who taught Lil Q to flush the toilet with her feet.

Well, I did, of course. Though maybe not intending to, since a 3 year old isn't really tall enough to do the foot flushing thing - so I usually do it. It sort of makes me laugh to think of it though.

Then someone asked why I didn't just use some toilet paper to flush.

I guess you could do that. I just never thought of it.

My mother taught my kids to flush with their feet. She skipped teaching ME the same lesson, though, so I was very perplexed right after this lesson when my little 4 year old was struggling to get her foot to her chest level to flush the toilet.

It took me FOREVER in CA to get used to the seat covers. I did, though. Here in New England, we just sit. And we pee, and then we're done. And I have no diseases. But in CA, seat covers are everywhere.

Then, sometimes, people move to New England from CA, or other parts of the country, and they get so upset when there's no seat covers, that they just ... crouch. And pee splashes all over the seat.

And NOW, I hate not having seat covers, and I use toilet paper in their stead.

We really need a nationally uniform system.
I KNOW it's totally irrational, but I still do it.

You're right though - seat covers *are* everywhere in CA. Based on my extensive research in airports and gas stations (remember I have 2 kids), the West Coast as a whole seems to be squarely in the seat cover camp. East Coast is maybe less so, but still pretty frequent. It's everywhere in between that hasn't so much caught on.

And you might as just well forget about Europe.
We go together like peas and carrots, LQ. I am also a feet flusher. It doesn't make sense to use another TP to flush b/c then you have to throw that "contaminated" paper into the bowl before the water's sucked dry.

Feet's safer.

Of course, maybe someone behind you didn't think about this and would use their hands to flush. Then they end up serving you food. Bleh...

Try not to think too much about it. People are so "dirrrtyyy."
You are *so* right, Shell.

And that's one of the (many) reasons I generally avoid buffets.* The dirty people might not be serving my food, but they all had access to it before I did. EWWW.

*The all-you-can-eat-for-$10 Dim Sum place at Bailey's Crossroads excepted, but only because - duh - it's Dim Sum.
I probabaly shouldn't comment on this thread because I have such a totally contrary opinion. After having been in many different restrooms (hey, I'm old enough and have been around the world and this country enough -- and have been in both men's and women's restrooms enough to make the claim) I've come to the conclusion that women's restrooms are MUCH filthier than men's (which, frankly, was a HUGE shock to me), primarily because women won't just sit and pee. They pee all over the seat and then they actually (you won't believe this one) use their FEET(!) to flush the toilet, adding still more mess to the place (especially if it's been snowing or raining). I don't know about germs (can't really see them and I've never gotten sick from a bathroom that I know of) but filth -- oh yeah. Women's restrooms are gross.
Denise -

I'd actually heard that women's restrooms were much nastier than the men's.

And I agree that the "sit & pee" avoidance is part of the problem. I think seat covers go a long way toward solving this, but all it takes it 1 squatter to ruin things for everyone else. And let's face it, most public restrooms don't get cleaned all that often.

But I also think that boys on the whole don't understand this (now granted, you're the exception since you've seen it from both sides) because they don't sit. Here's where I also have to raise the issue that the only time my toilets at home get really dirty is when there are boys in the house. Especially movers. Why can't they aim?

I would also argue that feet flushing doesn't necessarily make things worse. I see your snow and ice point, but that's not usually the situation when I'm already in some building. By the time I've walked back to get to the restroom, my feet tend to be pretty dry. When the floor is wet from squatters, well, here's where I think the argument for feet flushing is strongest since that's the last time I want to come in contact with other people's filth.

I have also been known to turn right around and not use a particular restroom because it was just too filthy. But sometimes you just don't have those kind of options.

Maybe Zuska is right - we need a uniform system. I vote for seat covers.
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