Saturday 21 September 2019

Sinead Ryan: 'Washing my hands of toilet tech confusion'


'Twice recently I found myself unable to complete the most basic tasks of washing my hands' Stock photo: Getty
'Twice recently I found myself unable to complete the most basic tasks of washing my hands' Stock photo: Getty
Sinead Ryan

Sinead Ryan

When did bathrooms become so complicated? As I get older I prefer things simplified, straight-forward and easy to use. I favour not having to pass an engineering test before spending a penny, for instance. Yet it seems every new restaurant or trendy bar now needs to feature a design studio in the loo.

It started at airports. Honestly, what's so difficult about providing a vast shopping space, seats, restaurants and bathrooms? Yet twice recently I found myself unable to complete the most basic tasks of washing my hands because some clever clogs architect with a bigger budget than brain had secreted away the water, soap and drier from human contact. Perhaps they award each other prizes for how clever their hide-the-flush is.

I spent a diverting five minutes recently waving my hands under a piece of art disguised as a pristine steel sink in a vain attempt to locate a tap - not marked with so much as a symbol, arrow or clue as to how it was accessed. In the end, the hand gel in my bag had to suffice.

Weighing people for a flight can't be far off

Airports are always tiresome. I took a Ryanair flight on the first day of the new baggage rules. It took some squishing to get everything into the medium-sized handbag you're only allowed bring, but at the gate, staff seemed (already) utterly weary by the whole thing and were letting everybody on with their bigger bags and a verbal telling-off.

We're funny about paying for things. I couldn't care less where I sit, so never pay extra for a seat. I can't stand plasticky plane food, so bring my own. But I'll splash out on bottled water when tap will do, or for off-street parking so my car is safe.

Michael O'Leary may have finally got us to the end of our tether though. It's excessively irritating having the person you end up beside wearing a coat bracing enough to cross the Himalayas and which you know is stuffed with all his clothing because he was too cheap for a bag. Can it be long now before the cost-cutting/money-making (delete as appropriate) measures lead to a fat tax?

Will O'Leary have us all standing on a scale and charging a weight per kilo for our spare tyre? Shouldn't the skinnies get a bigger bag to even things out? That would keep us off the dreadful ham and cheese panini for good.

Going to great lengths to acquire an education

Stoke High School in Ipswich found itself with a new student recently. The seemingly bright lad, who registered as an asylum seeker on arrival to the UK, was placed there by the Home Office so he could get an education while his case was pending.

He was an unaccompanied minor, it said; a refugee from some war-torn African country, and the school was told to give him special care. Poor kid.

Yet it turns out he was smarter than the authorities.

Parents alleged the new pupil was 30. His school uniform belied his true age - given as 15 - and it was only when he allegedly revealed to fellow class-mates that he was actually an adult man, who desperately needed GCSEs because he feared his actual third-level qualifications wouldn't be recognised in England, they of course took to social media in outrage.

Parents immediately descended on the school demanding he be expelled, as he was clearly a danger to their actual 15-year-olds. Of course, there's no evidence he is, but you can see the dilemma.

The authorities are mortified, naturally, and probably do need to send him somewhere more appropriate than secondary school, but don't you admire the smarts of a bloke to want an education so much?

Irish Independent

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