Who designs public bathrooms anyway?

There are 168 hours in a week.  Assuming that I sleep 8 hours a day (haha), that leaves 112 waking hours per week.  I’m out of my house probably at least 10 hours a day on weekdays, and let’s say about half of that on weekends.  So that’s 60 out of 112 waking hours spent outside of my house.  That’s 54ish% of my waking time spent outside of my house.  And that’s probably a conservative estimate.

So, since 54% of my waking time is spent out of my house, mathematically, it is a fairly reasonable assumption that most of the time when I need to use the bathroom, I won’t be at home.  I’m one of those lucky people who doesn’t generally have to get up to pee in the night.  I’m sure that will change one of these days, but for now, there is a solid chance that when I have to go to the bathroom, I won’t be at home, and thus will be subjected to using a public facility.

And so I really, really, really want to know who designs public bathrooms?  Clearly, it can’t be a person who actually needs to use the bathroom.  I know this, because most human beings don’t fit properly in bathroom stalls.  I have been in bathroom stalls where I had to straddle the toilet to get in and out.  Because the door always opens in, so you have to manage to get out of the way of the door.  I’m not a germophobe by any stretch of the imagination, but I can’t help cringing at the thought of what I might be getting all over me as I straddle the bowl.  I spent a lot of my youth cleaning bathrooms.  I have seen things.

And then, they have to adorn the stall with monstrous accessories.  Like the toilet paper holder that’s two feet wide, sticks out at 6+ inches from the wall, holds at least a year’s worth of toilet paper and is always placed exactly so that you hit your hip or elbow (or both) on it and have to put your hand the most awkward position imaginable to actually get at the toilet paper when you need it.  And that’s if you can actually get at the toilet paper because half the time, you can’t find the end of the toilet paper.  I figure there is a union for things that come on rolls, and they all go on strike at the same time.  So the toilet paper is showing solidarity for the packing tape by making sure people have to work hard to find the end.  So you end up scratching desperately at the roll to get something you can work with, and then get some little scrap that’s completely unusable.  Even if it wasn’t half-ply paper to begin with.  Or, the year’s supply of toilet paper is halfway out, and you have to figure out the engineering behind actually getting that mechanism to shift and open up the half of the toilet paper dispenser.  I have some engineering courses under my belt, and half the time I can’t figure the thing out.

Let’s not forget the sanitary supply disposal thing.  Now, when I was younger, this was a smallish metal box on the wall, with a small paper bag in it.  I believe the idea behind this was that you put your used pad in the bag and then maybe took it out to the garbage yourself?  I’m not sure.  There were no instructions, and if this was something I was supposed to have been educated on, I missed the memo.  However, over time, this sanitary disposal thing has grown to the point where it no longer fits on the wall, but now has to take up floor space.  Basically, a good sized garbage can has been added to the already too small stall, right beside the toilet, so you now have to straddle not just a toilet, but a garbage can full of pads, tampons and who knows what else.

And I’m not even talking about whether the bathroom is actually clean, if there is sufficient soap, paper towels or a hand blower that works.  Just that functionally, they all seem to suck.  I just want to pee without hurting myself.

Yes, I could in theory use the handicapped accessible stall.  Except that a) it’s almost always in use by people getting changed for the gym, or b) people who think that somehow that stall protects the rest of the bathroom from the sounds/smells of you pooping.  Oh, and c) unless it’s an emergency, or there’s a huge line up (another thing I hate — what are all you women doing in there?  Seriously — how long does it take to pull down your pants, pee, pull up your pants, flush and get out?  It can’t be the case that every single person in the bathroom is taking an epic dump!), I try not to use that stall, because it is in fact for people who need it, and since my best friend since high school needs that stall, I have been in a few situations where she really needed to use the bathroom and couldn’t get in.  It’s not pretty folks.

Apparently I need to find a way to work from home so that I have access to my own bathroom for more of my waking hours.

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