Automated Hygenic

During the winter, spring, summer–well, just about almost every season with chills or humid heat–snot oozes down my nose, causing me to sniff it back up on reflex.  When sniffing it back up has reached maximum annoyance, I wipe the ooze with the base of my thumb and then wipe my hand on my shirt.  Or I may wipe the snot with my sleeve, leaving a gooey remnant on my clothing.

Either way, I wish I were surrounded by Kleenex and hand sanitizer because this is no way to go about one’s day.

My nose is always runny, and I don’t always have a pack of tissues or hand sanitizer with me.  Whenever I am in a public place like a restaurant or department store, I always expect the restroom to have paper towels.  Paper towels are not as comfortable as tissues–but they get the job done.

I always get annoyed, however, when there is a hand dryer in the restroom instead of a paper towel dispenser.  I can’t blow my nose with a hand dryer!

Even when there is no problem with my nose at the moment, I still hate hand dryers because they are ineffective.  They don’t get my hands dry.  They have the power of hair dryers.  I have to push the button again for the machine to go through another dry cycle.  And after going through another dry cycle, my hands are still wet.  Even those Dyson Airblades that have the power of a tornado still leave me moist, causing me to wipe my hands on my clothes.

Of the McDonald’s restaurants I have been to, many of them have hand dryers instead of paper towel dispensers.  The sign next to the hand dryer says that McDonald’s uses hand dyers because they are environmentally friendly and hygienic.  I understand the explanation of hand dyers being environment friendly, but I do not understand the hygienic part.  The button has to be touched in order to activate it and whoever had touched it before touched it with wet hands.  That doesn’t seem hygienic.

Although paper towels are not as environmentally friendly as hand dryers, I still prefer them over hand dryers because I need something to blow my nose with.  Yes, if I’m at a McDonald’s, I can just get napkins from the condiments counter and blow my nose in the restroom.  But my nose is very runny; I can’t keep going back-and-forth between the lobby and restroom.

But even paper towel dispensers can be an irritant, like the enMotion automatic machines equipped with a sensor that will dispense a sheet of paper towel with a wave of your hand, sounding like an electronic nails-on-chalkboard.  The length of paper towel isn’t always long enough, making you wave your hand over and over again in front of the machine’s Terminator-like red eye.

Have you ever seen those non-automatic paper towel dispensers with the wheel at the side?  Those seem better than the electronic dispensers because you can pull down the sheet of paper towel that’s already sticking out of the dispenser and another one will appear like magic.  With this dispenser you can pull at a faster rate.  However, these may get jammed easily, which is where the wheel comes in.  The wheel forces another sheet to pop out.  But there are two problems: Firstly, in my experience, the wheel itself gets jammed sometimes, and secondly, someone else had most likely touched it when the dispenser got jammed on him, and touching the wheel knowing that isn’t hygienic.

The best solution: Create an automatic paper towel dispenser similar to the enMotion that will dispense with a wave of a hand that will continue dispensing until the hand is removed.  That way, the person has the right amount of paper towel he or she needs, and it’s hygienic because the dispenser does not require touching.


Caricature by Andrei Vassiliev