Why Nothing in the Bathroom Should be Automated

I’ve always had issues with automated processes in the bathroom. My office’s automated soap dispensers and water faucets might as well be possessed. There are three sinks and each one has its own temperament. I usually go for the middle one, which seems to be the easiest to work with. The one on the far right is a straight up asshole. I’m sorry, but it is. The soap will shoot out at you after you’ve already used it and ruin your shirt sleeve. The water faucet will work, then stop and not come back on until you’re standing anywhere in the bathroom other than directly in front of it. Honestly. You could be in one of the stalls and it will acknowledge your movement. Standing right in front of it, waving your hands under it? Nope, you’re not getting a drop of water from that thing. I have no idea what the far left sink does…its counter space is crowded with hair care products, so I mostly avoid it. The middle sink can be a little finicky every now and then, but I’d say I have a success rate of 85 percent when using it.

My bathroom arch nemesis, however, is the towel dispenser. I swear I was able to work with it when it first arrived in our bathroom, but the last few months have just been a beat down. Here’s how the dispenser works: Let’s say a towel is hanging out of it. You — in an ideal world — tear the towel out and the dispenser will push out another one automatically for the next user. There is no motion sensor, no buttons. Seems simple, right? And apparently it is for every other female in the office.

Whenever I go to tear out a sheet, the next sheet wraps itself up in itself inside the dispenser, so it looks like another sheet didn’t come out. This causes people to go into freakout mode: “Oh my gosh, is the towel dispenser out of towels? I’ve never seen this before! Will someone be able to call the janitor? What are we going to do!?” It’s as if our hands, if left undried, will begin to melt our flesh off of our bodies and we’ll explode. I’ve seen a couple people who will then wave their hands all around the dispenser, frantically, as if although it never had a motion sensor before, maybe it does now. You can tell their level of frustration based on how quickly their hands are moving. First the waves are slow and steady. Soon the waves become jerky shakes and flailing limbs.

Nope, people, nothing changed with the dispenser, it’s just me and my inability to tear a sheet of paper out properly.

I have tried so many different methods for ripping that sucker out. I’ve tried different angles. I’ve tried different speeds. I’ve tried different angles at different speeds. I’ve tried forceful rips. I’ve tried passive rips. I’ve tried ripping it with my mind. Nothing I do seems to work. Everyone else? It’s as if they have a deal with the dispenser to ensure that it dispenses properly every time EXCEPT with me. My self esteem is beginning to suffer because of this. Now when I go to get a paper towel, I hear voices in my head, taunting me. I bet you won’t be able to tear this towel the right way. Go ahead and try though, it’s just more entertainment for me. Oh, you’re going to try it now? Yeah, sure, grab it like that, I’m sure it’ll work. Oh look, you failed. Again. Must be pretty disheartening to fail at something so many times every single day. See you in an hour when you try again. Don‘t even think about going downstairs — they use the same dispenser and it knows all about you. Then I start hearing voices of my co-workers, whispering about me behind the stalls just after they’ve witnessed my poor pull. My eyes start darting around. “Who said that? What do you know about me? I don’t have an automatic dispenser at home — it’s not my fault!” and I run out of the bathroom in tears. Luckily the Kleenex still come out of a box manually.


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