Tuesday, March 27, 2007

My First "Green" Bathroom


A principal has decided that homework “stifles” student motivation. Sure, why should we suck the life blood out of students who will graduate, find jobs and realize that school was a picnic when their jobs now require them to be on call 24 hours a day, work after work, work on weekends and make sacrifices for the “team” without overtime pay or even a thank you. Sure, cut them some slack now, for tomorrow they’ll be yet another lifeless worker bee in the world we call Gainful Employment.

Which leads me to my first visit to a “green” bathroom.

Today at work (where I’m expected to be on call 24 hours a day, work after work, work on weekends and make sacrifices for the “team” without overtime pay or even a thank you), I had to go to the bathroom. This happens to be a brand new building that I happened to be visiting, so imagine my surprise to find the women’s room had a tiny, uncomfortable looking commode and on the wall two buttons and a plaque explaining the two buttons. Having had bathroom experience for over 40 years, I was rather taken aback by a plaque that explained how to flush a toilet. The plaque explained that the building was “green” and that one button was for “liquid” waste, while the other button was for “solid” waste. Holy crap (pardon the pun), I now have to “sort” my own bodily functions now?

By using this system, the plaque explained, the building would save a gazillion gallons of water per year, YIPEEE!

This made me sit (on the uncomfortably small commode) and think about my bodily functions, which frankly isn’t something I prefer to do... ever. Since people can barely follow lines on a road or stop lights, how could they be expected to follow directions on which button to press after a bodily function. Therefore the argument of saving vast amounts of water was dependent upon humans actually following directions, and that could only mean that the earth would be a desolate arid ball of earth in no time at all.

That then got me to over-analyze the situation in that if I use toilet paper, was that not introducing a solid into the equation, and would my button pushing then be validated by the introduction of a solid into the bowl, therefore I would need to press the “solid” button? Of course it starts off as a solid, but since toilet paper is water soluble, at what point in the introduction to the water would it then be deemed a “liquid”, and how long did I need to hang around for this metamorphosis to occur?

Of course, after reconciling myself to a “liquid” break, I pressed the “liquid” button and watched the new commode flush the toilet paper (thankfully) and other liquid away. Of course I had to press the “solid” button to do a comparison on flush ratio (which I’m sure everyone does in their first visit to the “green” bathroom, I hope the creators took that into account when calculating the actual water savings), and found it to be only somewhat more forceful and probably adequate for flushing something deemed “solid”.

Excited about my newfound “green” bathroom initiation, I bumped into a male co-worker and asked him how he liked these new “green” bathrooms. Once again, not something you generally talk about in the halls of the workplace. He looked at me as though I sprouted an arm on my forehead. “you know!” I screeched, probably too loudly “the two buttons, one for liquids and solids”. He had no idea what I was talking about. He assured me that the men’s room was the same as usual; urinals and stalls, but no special buttons for liquid or waste.

Um... wait a minute!

Are the “green” people trying to tell us that WOMEN are the cause for the water shortage (yeah, I wasn’t aware the earth was so dangerously short on water either, and I would think that if Al Gore was right and polar ice caps are melting, that water would be the LAST thing we need to conserve). Am I being forced to sort my own waste merely because I’m a woman! Why aren’t men being forced to choose between liquid and solid? They have stalls and commodes in their bathrooms, and I’m pretty sure some of them use them to get a little liquid privacy moment, so they should be required to think before they press.

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