Close Encounters Of the Turd Kind

I am in a fight with automatic flush toilets.

Why do we need these things? Are we really so lazy as not to be able to lift a finger (or a foot) to flush after we’ve managed to wipe? (I hope.) Information Overload Alert: I don’t always sit, okay? If I’m willing to work my quads for a squat, I think I can handle the minimal effort required to dispose of the contents of the bowl.

Here’s my problem: they flush at the wrong times.

Say you’re sitting – or squatting – or taking a wide stance like former Senator Larry Craig. And for no real reason other than a possibly small, save-you-from-a-fall-or-from-peeing-on-the-seat shift of weight, the damned toilet erupts like a whirlpool. This is powerful momentum, y’all. You get splashed.

I’m not even kidding. You get splashed. I can’t figure out, from an engineering perspective, why the function that is meant to draw all bowl contents down somehow manages to propel a good portion of it up. At your ass.

That doesn’t happen when you flush the thing yourself.

Worse yet: this happens before you’re finished. Sometimes before you’ve even started.

And then you know what happens?

It doesn’t flush when you’re done.

So now you’ve gone and relieved yourself, gotten your backside bathed against its will and become That Person who leaves the stall with your DNA still populating the porcelain.

And don’t think you can trigger it to flush somehow when it really matters, like you can sometimes manage to get an automatic sink faucet or towel dispenser to work if you wave at it just right, stand on one leg and turn around. You can’t. I’ve tried several times. The toilets at work are automated. At least three times in the last month, I’ve gotten an unwarranted ass-bath and then done some sort of ridiculous dance in front of whatever sensor there might be (I still can’t find it) to try to trip the mechanism. Even duplicating your initial movements won’t do it. It’s completely unpredictable. It’s like nothing else I’ve ever encountered. Heaven forbid someone come into the bathroom and go doubling over to look for a stall not occupied by a pair of feet. They’re certain to see you doing some sort of Toilet Two-Step just to get the coast to clear.

It’s like they don’t want to be toilets. They want to be bidets.

Which I also do not enjoy.

And don’t try to tell me the automated toilet is meant to save water. It’s not possible. It doesn’t make any sense. A flush is a flush is a flush. No, in fact these sudden sprayers do nothing but waste water.

Get it? Waste water?

And there’s no solution. There’s no non-sensor version in a nearby stall. There’s  no way to avoid this fickle flusher unless you spend an entire workday holding it in. Nope. You’re doomed to wag your backside around, lift a leg like a dog, flap your hands, shimmy and sway side-to-side, only to emerge flustered and red-faced to fight with the damned automatic faucet and squirt your pantleg with foam soap.

You know what? The woods and some carefully examined leaves.


21 thoughts on “Close Encounters Of the Turd Kind

  1. LOL!!! Why don’t you just call it a day and do stand up comedy? Honestly you make me howl! This happens to me all the time. I HATE these automatic flush toilets. They do not do the job right. I hate automatic soap dispensers and taps too. They don’t work either. And neither do the towel dispensers you have to wave at. Personally I think they are all the work of sadists who have planted johnny cams in women’s bathrooms. And one of these days we will be making asses of ourselves (pun intended) on a reality show. Some days I really wish I had a penis and could use a urinal.

  2. Oh, I am so with you on these things. Have you tried putting the liners down on them? You just about get the damn thing lined up and whooosh! down it goes, and you end up having to sit on what you had previously decided wasn’t sanitary enough to sit down on. But now it is because it just washed itself…

    They are gross. They expel pee and feces because they flush harder than non-auto-flush toilets.

    When I lived in Switzerland there was a restaurant that had the coolest toilet. I used to make visitors go and visit it. Seriously.

    Now wouldn’t that be better than an automatic flushing toilet?

      • Elyse = thanks for sharing this video. When I lived in France, the bar I frequented had this EXACT toilet. The first time I saw it, it frightened me. The second time, I was mesmerized. And every time after that? I was perhaps a bit buzzed so I just treated it like a butt massager. Such memories…

    • Elyse, I had that very experience, several times in a row. I’m stubborn and had decided I wasn’t going to sit on the john on this new-fangled hotel without the thin-paper toilet cover. I finally got it to stay by sneaking it in BELOW the sensor.
      This happened at a writer’s conference a couple of years ago, and I decided it all was a metaphor for my writing efforts – down the tube before anyone would even look at them. I wanted to do a funny write-up on the experience, but TSS has done it better than I could have.

  3. I absolutely DESPISE those things! And let’s not forget the indignity in those oh too narrow stalls…I shudder to think of it. Thanks for telling it like it is, and letting the s#!* fall where it may. I may never leave my den again.

  4. I do think, though, that the reason for these stupid things is that SO MANY people were using public toilets without flushing. You may remember how badly the public toilets used to smell. Or opening a stall door and seeing a pool of seething crap and backing out, saying to yourself, “No thanks, I’ll wait until someone comes out of the other stall.”

    • You might be right… though I have never understood the people who don’t flush, and have always assumed it must have had something to do with a non-functioning toilet…but yet I still judge the people who leave it. Like I think they should just stand there and be all, “I’m sorry, no, this is not an accessible facility.”

  5. Most of those have a little button you can push for manual flushing. Don’t yours?

    Also, the reason for all these “hands free” bathroom devices is to avoid the spread of germs. People who are wiping, then touching the toilet lever, then maybe not washing properly (or at all), then touch the door handle. Then when YOU touch it, you spread all that yuck all around. If you don’t actually have to TOUCH anything, in theory it prevents the spread of germs.

    All that being said, I still hate all of those things. I think I may be invisible or a ghost because I can never ever get the faucets to turn on, no matter how many hand jives I do in front, arouind and behind it.

    • Reeeeallly? I had no idea of this button. Must search.

      As for avoiding the spread of germs: okay. I can support that. Except STOP SPRAYING WASTE BYPRODUCTS UP ONTO MY ASS SLASH THE SEAT. Is all.

      • Hate them. HATE. THEM. There’s a little, tiny black button behind the toilet next to a little red light. This won’t alleviate your certain butt-bath from the auto flush feature, but at least you may be spared the Desperate Dance of No-Flush Shame.

  6. Solution: Carry a roll of duct tape in your purse. Before sitting, squating, whatever (TMI), tear off a piece large enough to cover the sensor, usually a red glass panel. Conduct business, dry cheeks. Stand, remove tape. Toilet flushes.

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