The Dispenser of Necessary Items

One of the places where form does not follow function is in most public bathrooms. Handicap stalls are at the far end, forcing handicapped people to dodge traffic and swinging doors to get to the one stall that they can use–only to find it being used by someone who doesn’t need it. Towel dispensers are not near the sinks, so floors are almost always wet and slippery. Many stalls don’t have a place to hang your purse, making you hold it in your teeth or hang it around your neck or (ew) put your purse on the floor.

Sunscreen dispenser at Tohono Chul

Sunscreen dispenser at Tohono Chul

So when I stopped at Tohono Chul today (Tucson’s Botanical Garden) I was delighted to see this in the ladies’ room: a sunscreen dispenser. Our sun is hot and can burn, even in winter. I wear sunscreen on my face and hands every day of the year. But this small, free kindness was wonderful to find.

Even better, it was clear. Most zinc oxide is white and never fully absorbs. If you put it on your face, you feel like a plastic bag has been pulled over your head.

This was clear and worked well. I had a business conference call to make, and while I was talking, I wasn’t aging my skin (more).

After I left the bathroom, I began to wonder what other kind of dispensers I’d like to find–no, not the items you can find in a vending machine, but unexpected kindnesses–a dispenser of compliments, for example. (“Take a compliment, give a compliment.”)

There is something magic about Tohono Chul–while I was on my conference call, I was surrounded by a dozen different kinds of butterflies and a least 10 hummingbirds. In November. Life is good.


21 thoughts on “The Dispenser of Necessary Items

  1. I had to laugh while at the Denver International Airport. First of all I could barely get into the stall with my backpack. The I practically had to climb up on the toilet to close the door. The hook to hang my carry-ons was above my head and I hurt my back trying to get the said backpack up there. The whole time the toilet is flushing itself. I finally get settled and then have to stand on my head to get some tp because the dispense is below my knees.
    The toilet is doing its thing again while I try to get my backpack off the hook and the door open while crunched up against the toilet. Came out and had a hard time finding a faucet that worked. sigh.
    I’m glad you found something positive in Tucson. Lol

    • I’ve always thought that most public bathrooms are abysmally poorly designed.
      It’s really fun when you have two little girls below the age of 5, both of whom need to “go potty” while you help them in a stall the size of a phone booth! And it never fails: I really need the handicapped stall, as I have trouble sitting and standing without some kind of assistive device. And which is the first stall everyone makes a beeline for? I think it would make so much more sense for ALL the stalls to be ADA compliant. Yes, it would cost a bit more, but it would mean a much more comfortable experience for everyone who makes a trip to the necessary.

      • Seriously, they could do a line of bigger stalls for moms with kids and handicapped people (I need the rails, too), and then several others for those who can manage a smaller toilet. Absolutely.

    • That story sounds like a nightmare–but it was funny. I’ve been though that, too, except my toilet experience don’t have any hooks for the backpack, so I left it on and the backpack kept flushing the toilet, which was forceful and cold. Yeah, that’s how I knew it was cold.

  2. I’d like a dispenser of calm. There are times when it’s really hard to calm myself: when something makes me angry, or I’m Ill and just feel awful. It would be so lovely to be able to dispense a sort of bubble I could pull down over my head, creating an instantaneous aura of peace. Sigh. No, Susannah, just breathe. It’ll get better. You can create that sense of calm, you know how….

  3. May sound odd…but a dispenser of consideration for others would be nice. From both individuals. A consideration of what they are doing and how it effects the other and a consideration of what I am doing and how it effects the other. One might pause at the moment of speaking or action of doing something and think..perhaps..will this be a detriment to me or a benefit to me. Will it cheapen, worsen or move me away from interacting in humanity? Or will it teach me, build up, repair, heal, transform ? Or are we so focused on what we want to do, and dammed be the the results out there in the world…?

  4. When I was working behind the counter at the Post Office, we could have used a civility dispenser, or maybe a spray bottle of it, to use on some of the customers. Especially at Christmas…

  5. Not to be a buzzkill, but is “disappearing” sunblock effective? I would think zinc oxide works by forming a protective layer on the surface of the skin? I’m speaking theoretically, of course; as everybody knows geeks like me are only ever exposed to artificial light.

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