Phantom Faucets

Two Writing Teachers - Slice of Life #9

Do you ever feel like a fool in public bathrooms?  I never used to.  But with the advent of automatic everything...almost...I feel like I spend an inordinate amount of time waving my arms around at fixtures in bathrooms.

The automatic towels aren't always automatic, and neither are the faucets.  But we've come to expect it, so we wave at it.  Sometimes it responds and we are like "yeah, I knew that".  And sometimes it doesn't.  Those times are when I am left waving hoping to trigger some invisible laser beam, and patting down fixtures looking for the button, losing confidence in my ability to function in this world.

Sometimes I've found the laser, but it plays games with me, like I'm a cat.  Wave hands, water turns on.  Put hands under the water.  Water turns off.
Best is when I finally make the soap dispenser give me some of that soap, and THEN I can't figure out how to get the water to turn on.  Hate those push button ones where if you aren't holding it down with one hand you can't keep the water running.

Last night I was at the hospital emergency room (not for me), and needed to use their facilities.  I tried to no avail to get the water turned on.  I waved, stood close, danced, tapped the faucet, patted the faucet, double checked for handles to turn, looked at the sink (even looked UNDER the sink) and noticed it was dry.  Either no one had used the bathroom for hours, the faucet doesn't work, or this faucet is a new way of doing waterless cleaning - a dry cleaner maybe.

I left and used my hand sanitizer, I keep in my purse for just such occasions.  One would think in a hospital they'd want you to be able to wash your hands.

We were there long enough for me to try the facilities again.  This time I waved my hand at the faucet casually as I was just heading out the door, more a reflex than an expectation of a response.  Water came out.  You are kidding me!  Am I on Candid Camera, or what?

Public bathrooms.  I'm never good enough, smart enough or fast enough for them.

No pictures today.  But a poem!

I love a faucet with a handle
I love a bar of soap
For when they work it's marvelous
But when they don't, can't cope.
The automatic faucet
Can't always see my hands
No matter how I wave them
Nor how I do my dance.
My hands with soap a'drippping
Can't even touch the door
Should I rinse them in the toilet
Or wipe them on the floor?
Please, please, just give me water
I've never begged for much
I'd just like real live faucets
Responding to my touch!

Tomorrow, I'll post my poem that is in the tournament Madness! Poetry.


  1. I LOVE this piece! Haha, what a great small moment to focus on. I've totally been there...feeling like you have to invoke the Spirits of the Automatic Faucet in order to get some water to come out. The worst is when someone else gets it to work after you failed!

  2. LOL... I love it. I hate the hot air hand dryers. The ones in LGA airport make the skin on my hands distort the force of the air is so strong... I've thought it would blow my rings off. Of course my all time public bathroom to hate is on an airplane.

  3. Great slice Donna! Very entertaining! You put in words what most of us baby boomers think! I'm just waiting for an automatic butt wiper!!!

  4. You made me laugh out loud. Your poem, of course, made this post even better! And I have to say thank you for all the poems you are leaving on my students' blogs. They are insisting on reading every one of them out loud to the class. It has been so much fun. I helped a couple get to your blog to leave comments back, but our computer security won't let them. :( I told them I would certainly thank you for all your creativity and thoughtfulness. You even inspired a couple of them to write poems as their posts today. Thank you so much for encouraging my writers!

    1. That is so awesome! I hope they do enjoy them and get inspired! I'm loving their posts. I've added a few more and they will each have one soon, so have them keep checking!

    2. Oh, you know what? They can reply on their site though right under my reply to them! I can check back.

  5. Your descriptions are detailed. It is humorous to read even when I know that at that moment it wasn't funny. I can relate. Once after all the waving and pushing I discovered that there was a button on a floor I had to step on to get water running to wash my hands.

  6. This made me laugh out loud - I can certainly relate. Thanks for finding the joy in a frustrating experience!


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