Petty Peeves

In the math world, the order of operations is a relatively straightforward concept. There are certain logical steps to follow in order to accurately solve a given problem: do what is in the parenthesis first, then exponents, etc. Day to day activities often have a logical order of operations as well: I typically tend to put my socks on before my shoes, I always pour my cereal before the milk and when I wash my hands, soap is usually the first step with the occasional pre-rinse. My mind was completely boggled recently after using the restroom at a nearby coffee shop. I look at the soap — it is an automatic dispenser. “Cool, we’re going the touchless route,” I thought to myself. I look down at the faucet and stumble back with bewilderment. It was a regular old manual faucet. What is the point of having a touch-free soap dispenser if you have to shut off the sink with your hands? I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt. They had great service, and the owners seemed like reasonable, thoughtful individuals. “I’m sure they at least have a nice automatic paper towel dispenser,” thinking that I could just use a towel to shut off the sink and still have some defense against the bacteria I left when I turned the sink on in the first place. Unacceptable. I have seen some that you can pump out towels with your elbow or forearm, or some that spin out another towel as you take one. This dispenser practically required you to use your freshly washed hands to grip the slimy, primitive crank system. Not even my dear Aunt Sally could excuse this travesty of proper hygiene.

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