Having a large caffeine habit and a small bladder, I spend a lot of time in the washroom. (I recently attended a conference at a venue that had about a million toilet stalls in the ladies', and made it one of my conference goals to try every one.) (I succeeded, by the way. Drank some coffee to celebrate.) As a result, I have developed some very strong ideas about what makes a quality public washroom: Cleanliness. Good lighting. Purse hooks. Motivational graffiti. A favourable toilet : sink : dryer ratio. High paper towel availability. If there's pleasant-smelling hand lotion available as well, the place is automatically granted an extra star in the ratings.
Conversely, I'm also pretty firm about what makes a lousy washroom: Lineups. Puddles of any origin. Air dryers that sound like jet engines and make the flesh of your hands flow up to your elbows.
Notice that I didn't mention any automatic amenities in my list. I'm actually pretty ambivalent about auto-whatevers in washrooms. Auto dryers are preferable to drying my hands on my pants, yet inferior to a nice, generous rectangle of paper towel. Auto soap dispensers and faucets are fine if they work but stupid and useless if they don't - which is too often the case. And auto flush toilets - well, on one hand I didn't really want to touch that handle, but one poorly-timed auto flush has been known to undo years of intensive potty training. The risk assessment leans toward the negative.
Not to mention that it used to be that a gal could wrassle with her pantyhose (or weep lightly, or phone her sister, or whatever) for a couple of minutes in the stall and not waste endless quantities of potable water thanks to an overly aggressive auto flush. I always feel a little ridiculous for using four gallons of water to dispose of four ounces of urine, but I feel like a total asshole when the toilet flushes six times while I'm just trying to dig falafel crumbs out of my bra.
And if there's someone else in the bathroom while all this flushing is going on, I feel that surely they must be wondering what the hell I'm doing in there. I'd rather suffer the rest of my days with undergarments filled with falafel that have anyone think I'm struggling to flush some behemoth poo loaf, so I started to compile a list of things to yell out if the toilet flushes excessively whilst I fuss with my clothes:
'Why won't these fem hygiene products and diapers ever go down?'
'The fuzz is coming! Quick, ditch the stash!'
'Oooh, this foot spa is so invigorating!'
'Rinse and repeat...'
'Just washing my lunch dishes!'
'Go free, little crocodile!'
'How do you pee with these things on?'