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Street smarts in the ladies’ room

By Staff | Jul 24, 2015

Technology has passed me by. And nowhere is it more evident than when I visit the ladies’ room at the local … well, wherever.

A trip to the ladies’ room is supposed to refresh me, and that’s what it would do if I could simply flush, wash and dry before I leave. But most often anymore my intellect is challenged by these very basic restroom protocols, and I feel the need to lie down with a cold compress when my experience in there is finally over. We’ve come a long way since the outhouse, but honestly, I’m not sure where this whole procedure is headed.

More than once I’ve gone to flush the toilet, only to find that I have no idea which button or doohickey is supposed to get that job done. When I finally figure it out, I’m glad to get on to handwashing so I can leave, only to find that no water comes out when I wave my hand under the faucet. Finally, I reach a faucet where cold water will actually spill onto my hands and reach for the soap dispenser.

Once again, nothing. But usually there’s an 8-year-old a couple of sinks down having tremendous success with this process.

When my hands are adequately dripping, I go to get a towel or have my hands blow-dried like the grand prize calf at the 4H and FFA beef show. If there is a towel dispenser I find myself examining it as if it’s some kind of new life form as I search for the button to push or knob or dial to turn. Sometimes paper comes spewing out if I wave my hand underneath it – and sometimes not. The air dryer will either leave you believing you could have blown on your hands yourself and gotten just as much done, or it will nearly rip the skin right off of your hands. Skinning wild game would take far less time with one of these inventions.

I spent all those childhood years of watching “The Jetsons” on Saturday morning and didn’t learn a thing about how to really prepare for my future. At the time I didn’t know preparing for my future would involve learning how to flush the toilet and wash my hands. I thought I aced that one once I was out of diapers.

For the farm woman, it’s much the same kind of ladies’ room dilemma when she finds herself answering Mother Nature’s call in the field. Mother Nature simply will not be ignored, and when the nearest latrine is 10 miles away, “baring it all” is more a term of desperation than it is a high-paying offer from Hugh Heffner or the tabloids.

I’d been helping out in the fields here and there for 20 years before another farm woman told me the most efficient way to “go” in the field. It was a great plan, but it also meant the risk of exposing my backside to whomever might be gracing the surrounding gravel roads or the field next to ours – since the plan did not involve hiding myself in the nearest tall corn.

Truthfully, I’m not sure I feel all that comfortable anymore even being in the tall corn, because with satellites and drones seeing all they see, I’m afraid I’ll end up on YouTube-or just as bad, the star of some Russian “America’s Got Talent” super show.

After all, it does take some special talent to make everything go where it’s supposed to go AND keep the bathroom tissue clean – or as clean as it can be after it’s been riding around in a bread wrapper in the tractor cab throughout the last four harvest seasons.

It might still be far less stressful for the farm woman to go in the field than to figure out some of these modern lavatory facilities-and there are no 8-year-olds out there showing us how it’s done, either. After all, we’re closer to the outhouse era than they are.

Oh, to just be able to check the wind direction outside when mother nature calls.

Schwaller is a Farm News correspondent from Milford. Reach her by e-mail at kschwaller@evertek.net and at www.karenschwaller.com.

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