An Open Letter to a Hands-Free Public Bathroom Sink

Julien Perez
Julien Perez
February 25, 2022

Dear Hands-Free Public Bathroom Sink,

After yet another greasy popcorn binge during a Marvel movie, I travel to you for a cleansing. I like what I see. You and your fellow sinks have no faucet handles. A sleek upgrade, a long-awaited bathroom facelift for Regal Cinemas. Dripping in movie theater popcorn butter, I wave my hand in front of your sensor. No dice. I begin to wonder, maybe did something wrong. Maybe I’m waving wrong? Perhaps a bit too eagerly? Maybe you’re shy.

But after a variety of waves (cool, confident, and respectful) I’m still, somehow, invisible to this sensor. Then it hits me. am not the problem; your pitiful excuse for a bathroom sink is.

I move to the faucet next to me, your comrade. I attempt to regain my dignity as moviegoers file in around me, eager for a washing. Again, no luck. A person walks up from behind and uses the sink I was just previously at — you. For him, it works perfectly fine. I walk back to you and begin to wave as if to say, “I am real, I am human.” But again, you ignore me. I spiral, my self-esteem plummets. Maybe this is just too elite of a bathroom for someone like me. In that instance, I accidentally trigger the soap dispenser. Progress! Yet, without water, I am still unable to properly disinfect my germ-filled hands.

You all may be beautiful but your hearts are cold, judgemental. I stand there with dried soap on my hands, questioning my own existence when you suddenly turn on. I wash my hands for a brief three seconds before you cut the water short. A tease. Ah, the games you play. But I won’t give up, I wave frantically, hoping to be seen once more so that I can finish washing my hands. But again, I am shunned.

I know there’s no hope in another attempt. I walk to get a paper towel. Hoping for a dry respite to sop up this mess, I am yet again met with the same red eye, smugly choosing when to dispense, like a malevolent god. Another soldier in your bathroom army, I’m sure. Yet again, I am denied. I stand dripping wet with buttery, soapy hands. I decide that I’ve had enough, so I gather what’s left of my dignity and leave.

Oh, the shame that is wiping wet hands on jeans. The embarrassment of shaking someone’s hands moments after failing to properly dry yourself off. But you all wouldn’t know anything about that. Must be lonely at the top.

I can’t help but think this was all part of your design. None of you want a world filled with clean hands; all you want is power. Fancy bathrooms, I see your intention clearly now.

With Contempt,

Julien Perez