Am I the only one who really hates hand-dryers?
Public and workplace bathrooms are otherwise relatively peaceful places, where one can take a reprieve from their day, check their voicemail and scroll through Facebook on their phone. Enter the hand-dryer, which is the epitome of overkill, and which insists on not just drying your hands with hygienic efficiency, but impersonating an industrial power tool at the same time.
A hand-dryer I knew once was sweet and soft. It wrapped your clammy hands in its gentle warmth, circulating its hot breeze around your fingers. It turned on when you gave it explicit permission (by pushing its big silver button), not when it just 'sensed' that the time is right.
I'm not talking about this hand-dryer today. I'm talking the ones that take the opportunity not only to dry your hands, but to scream about what they're doing for the rest of the floor to hear. Their unnecessarily powerful air-streams rattle cubical walls; their high-pitched howls assault my ears. When someone turns a modern hand-dryer on, I find myself focusing on deep-breathing to combat the anxiety that is rising in my gut. The only thing worse is when they turn themselves on, in an unjustified act of autonomy, just because someone happens to walk past. In these cases, I have no time to brace myself, and feel as though the hand-dryer has used an unfair surprise tactic to beat me down.
If it's between a hand-dryer and a paper towel, of course I go for the paper towel, even though I'm aware that forests are cleared so that people like me can enjoy single-use absorbent paper. If it's just me and the hand-dryer, what I've tended to do over the years is shake the excess water off my hands and wipe them dry on my clothes. Dave says this is unhygienic; I think what he really means is that it's very unclassy.
I had this realisation for myself fairly recently, when I was working at a place where all the employees except me came from very rich families. I remember a moment when I was standing in front of the bathroom mirror, next to the receptionist. She had just endured the electric hand-dryer, and was now primly applying moisturising cream to her parched hands (one of the other perils of hand-dryers). I, on the other hand, was standing there with wet hand-marks strewn across the front of my pants. In a moment of enlightenment, I said, "I probably shouldn't dry my hands on my pants". She replied, "Yes, it's probably not the best look".
My conclusion is: there is no good way to dry one's hands when one is out and about, away from the soft and sustainable towels of home. I'm sorry to end on such a bleak note, but I think it's true.
I'm curious about others' experiences with hand-drying in public? Do you feel equally passionate in your hatred of electric hand-dryers? Are you thinking that I need to build a bridge and get over this? Are you aware of any better alternatives for drying one's hands in public? I really do want to know.