On the toilet: unwelcome, automatic splashes are just that

Current adventure: Case

If there is one thing I cannot stand it is hypersensitive, hyperactive automatic toilets. Some toilets are activated by the slightest tiptoe of a neutrino: they go off when you open the door, sit down, midstream, when you stand up and again when you leave. It is a gross and outrageous waste of water; think of the backyard kiddie pools you could fill with that much water (or other more responsible uses).

Besides the wasting of precious water, the midstream surprise flush really gets me. If I wanted a concentrated splash of water down there, I would go to France and find a bidet.

Barring a truly horrific incidence, there is no need for a toilet to flush four to five times in a single trip to the water closet. Toilets should flush only once. There should be no excess, surprise flushing.

Clearly, this has bothered me for some time. I often wonder if something could be done to the sensors so they pick up on the correct feedback. Could the motion sensors be angled to only catch the movement of feet? Or maybe users would have to wave their hands in front of the sensor for it to flush? I’ve even considered using the Clapper option. But then a devious person might wander through bathrooms clapping their hands, much to the dismay of an innocent visitor.

For me, this internal debate always ended with the question: why do we even need automatic toilets? Why can’t people just flush the toilet themselves? Is it really that tricky? Hopefully we all flush our toilets at home, so why can’t we continue our good flushing habits in public?

It’s possible that people are so excited to be done urinating that without an automatic toilet they completely forget to flush and rush back to whatever they were doing pre-pee. Unless you are missing a once in a lifetime chance to meet Beyoncé, then it’s pretty damn unlikely that you would forget to flush. You remembered to relieve yourself, so you should remember to complete the task.

Perhaps it’s because of the germs in a public restroom. If you think too hard about it, public toilets are a gross concept. I’m conscious of germs in public bathrooms: I try to push the bathroom door open with my elbow after washing my hands and tap the flusher down with my foot to flush the toilet. I’m 5 foot 9 and have pretty good balance, but, balancing on one foot while reaching the other up and over the toilet to kick the flusher probably isn’t an easy task for a lot of people. Add a skirt and/or heels to the mix and the task just became a lot more complicated.

We already have a solution to this problem. Everyone knows that after using and flushing the toilet you should lather up with soap and thoroughly wash their hands. Again, we know that not everyone does and while that is really, really disgusting, most people do.

So if people aren’t forgetting to flush and should be scrubbing all public bathroom germs away, why do folks feel the need to install automatic toilets? The only logical answer I have left is that we believe that people do not display respect for shared spaces.

This is a public appeal to every man and woman who ever has and will ever use a public toilet. If everyone equally needs to use a public space for an archaic need, then we should treat public toilets with the respect such an essential space deserves.  Someone has sat on that porcelain throne before you and will sit on it shortly after you. For their sake and yours, don’t dribble on the seat, unroll all the toilet paper and throw random pieces throughout the stall. And please for the love of God, Allah, Krishna, and the Lord of Light, flush the damn toilet!

If we all work together, we can rid of the world of gross public pee areas, hyperactive, hypersensitive automatic toilets and unwelcome, surprise bidet splashes.

Heather O’Keeffe is a senior studying biomedical engineering and minoring in sports medicine. She is appalled that Microsoft Word does not recognize Beyoncé in its dictionary. If people in rural South African towns know all the words to Justin Bieber songs, then Microsoft should recognize Queen Bey.