Thursday, March 27, 2008

Hand Washing

Different cultures must teach hand washing differently. I know different parents do. I work in Information Technology, IT. Some also call it Data Processing, DP. It’s all the same. The industry used to be full of geeks. Still is. They just don’t work here. Well, a few do. Most of the geeks must work for Micromess, or gaming companies such as EA. We are the groups that write the code that prints out your bill, pays you, accounts for stock, real exciting stuff. We are big time excited when a computer screen has more than 4 colors on it. In this part of the business, there are about 50 percent of the positions filled with people from other countries. Green card holders, H1B Visa people. This is due to a number of factors. The one that business lies to Congress about, is that the poor multi-billion, multi-national companies, just can’t find skilled help in the United States. Maybe that is true. Five years later and we can’t find bin Laden. But some of the congress people can find hookers all night long. Maybe the companies find the hookers for them? That would explain why they can’t find skilled workers, they are spending time finding hookers for politicians. I mean they can’t find skilled IT workers. I figure the high priced hookers are very skilled. I have no trouble finding skilled workers for IT. I know of three looking for jobs right now. The guy who sold me some furnace filters from Lowe’s last week, he’s one. I found him. The lunch shift manager at McDougall’s, he’s another one. Laid off when cell phone usage doubled but all the companies collapsed under poor management.

Let’s return to Potty talk.

Recently, the place I’m working at, decided to install all new bathroom mechanicals. Everything is now these automatic sensor rigs.

You walk up or sit down, when you move away, the motion camera flushes for you. At least they tell us they are motion sensitive cameras. I wonder if somewhere in India, this isn’t a control room of people monitoring those cameras and moving a joy-stick to “flush” for us. Thank goodness, they got the ones that also feature a little push button so you can still flush away. When you wash, you wave your hands under the soap dispenser and water faucet and they turn on. It takes the soap dispensers about fourteen waves before they let go with a squirt of precious soap. I keep wanting to charge the company an hours time every week, waiting for the soap dispenser to return from its break. It all works out in the end. Of the four faucets, one is ADHD. It just turns on whenever it wants. I’ll be sitting in there, all alone, and the water goes on. Off. On. Off. On…. On again. OffonoffONOFFONOFFONOFFONOFF. Then the air freshener will join in and emit a POOF. I’ll pass some gas and flush once. It’s just like a symphony. Quite amusing in a strange way. The towel dispenser, one of them, is also a motion activated one.

Does anyone else think these things make you feel like an idiot? I mean, you stand there with dripping hands, waving at this towel thing. I can hear it talking right back to me. Take your pick. “Hey! Sailor! Nice WAVE!” Or (think of Robert De Niro in the movie Taxi Driver here) “You Waved? You waved at ME? Were you waving AT me? Did you WAVE at me?” I’ve tried different waves. The least effective is the Queen Elizabeth of England wave. You know the twist of the wrist one. She must not have these contraptions at Buckingham Palace. Half the time, I give up and go use the manual towel dispenser.

These strange devices don’t seem to bother most of our guest workers. I don’t think most of them have seen indoor plumbing anyway. I know they have not. Seems they were flushing all the paper towels and clogging up the toilets. The company sent out an email and then posted signs in every toilet stall, advising us NOT to flush rolls of paper towels. I mean, the TP in the place is one step softer than copy paper. But that must still be too soft, as our guest workers go for the course paper towels to clean up with. Maybe we should accommodate them. Have management run yet another survey and decide what type of bamboo leaves should be provided.

So lately I’ve noticed two types of hand washers. The people who DON’T. One guy, he had an entire method whereby he avoids touching anything. Except himself. I think he has to touch himself. But I don’t have positive proof, nor will I seek it. Let’s not draw any false conclusions here. Oh, why not, it’s just the Intermess. Some people, will wave at the paper towel dispenser, and then use that paper towel, so they don’t touch anything, to touch everything else. This guy, he goes one better. Back when we still had the old manual flush urinals, he would zip up, stand back and then pick up his foot and STEP on the flush handle. Just think of how many wonderful germs he transferred from the floor to the handle. For the next person to spread around. I hope he loves the new automated flusher. I kept wondering if he stomped on the flusher with just a tad bit of gusto and broke off the handle, would the bathroom flood?

The next group seems to be a small faction of our guest workers. To them, there is something magical about the left hand. After they finish expulsing bodily liquids, they zip up. The left hand then goes into the left pocket. They start waving at the water faucet. It starts running. They run the right hand under there, splash their faces, splash the counter tops, the floor. Then, head to a get a towel. Leaving behind a good half gallon of water everywhere. But NOT ONE DROP on that magic left hand. I’ve not figured it out. Don’t plan to.

To get out of the bathroom, you can open the door by hand or wave at this spot on the wall and the door does an “open sesame” deal. I enjoy doing Open Sesame.

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