How do You Wash Your Hands?

I usually use water. And sometimes soap.

However, it seems there are people out there who believe soap is sufficient. I attempted to use the taps at a Bar 38 the other day after using the toilet, only to have no water to wash my hands. Bar 38 has a mixed hand washing area, the men and women’s are off to either side and in the middle is a large, er, fountain thing, meant for hand washing.

Walking the 5 yards to the soap dispenser and back, then having no water had me wondering whether I was just missing a trick. Was there a hidden button? Was there a switch on the floor, or were they knee operated like at Yo! Sushi? No, there was just no water (and no staff downstairs to ask). With one last Herculean effort I managed to actually dismantle the entire top of the basin section, however unfortunately I hadn’t broken it and was not greeted with a rush of water a la a fire hydrant in an American movie.

It has happened to me before, I had almost exactly the same experience as Mr Angry on a Virgin train journey a few weeks ago. Whilst he explains it more eloquently than I can hope to, essentially he went to the toilet (bathroom if you’re American), put soap on his hands, only to find out (surprise) there was no running water once again.

I resolved the matter in a similar manner, using cheap toilet paper to scrap the soap off my hands and smell of cheap soap for many an hour afterwards. Not enjoyable. However it reminds me of a journey my friend took on one of the “new fancy trains” when Virgin first released them many years ago. He used one of the 2 fancy disabled toilets that are bigger than my flat but more complicated to operate. A series of indicator lights locks and unlocks the automatic door. The lack of a big lock to turn manually means my wife won’t use those facilities in case it pops open at any time. My friend had the opposite problem, it wouldn’t unlock.

Now, not the worst problem in the world as, frankly, if you need the loo, there’s not far to go. However soon a small band of helpful (or full bladdered) people and train staff outside banded together and attempted to force the door open. Nearly 45 minutes later there was no luck and whilst sat on the toilet (presumably with the lid down), my mate had an idea. Taking his belt off an using the, er, spoke thingy of the belt he wedged it in the door at various points in an attempt to do some lock-picking.

Suddenly the door burst (i.e. slowy rotated) open and the end to all his pain was here. Not quite. An old lady who had been waiting and was now quite desperate wished to use the facility. Citing queues at other facilities, she was going to risk using the “toilet of doom” as it had no doubt been monikered. However, wisely cautious of the door locking her in, she asked our hero if he wouldn’t mind holding the door open with his foot whilst she went to the toilet. And there followed 3 minutes of hell, listening to an old lady pee.

Let that be some sort of lesson to you all.


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