There are certain things that are so simple that it boggles my mind that our society can't implement them. I know it's an old cliche to say "We can put a man on the moon, but we can't do______." The blank usually involving something really important like inventing squeezable peanut butter or eliminating check-out lines.
However, I really don't understand why we continue to build millions of public bathrooms in this country that have doors that swing in, instead of out. What's the point of washing your hands if you're just going to have to touch the same surface as the guy straight from the stall?
The bathroom at my work is a perfect example. It has two doors, with a short hallway in between (for privacy); however, the first door swings in and the second swings out. After washing my hands, I can nudge the first door open with my foot, but the second door traps me. There is no wastebasket in the small hall, so I can't even use a paper towel to open the second door. This wouldn't be so disconcerting if I hadn't had to follow the same guy out of the bathroom two days in a row now.
Beardy McBearderson, as I'll refer to him, belongs to that school of hand-washers known as the Splashers. In today's corporate environment, few people will simply walk out the door unwashed in front of witnesses (also known as the Poppie School of Hand-Washing). When a Splasher spies you standing there, they'll walk over to the faucet and turn it on and off so fast that only a few molecules of water actually touch their hands. Having made this sacrifice to communal norms, they'll then dry themselves and act like this spritz of moisture had some sort of antiseptic effect. It is almost certain that Splashers wouldn't bother with the pretense of turning on the water if you weren't there. Like an electron, the simple act of observation changes their behaviour. Once, I caught a co-worker leaving the bathroom while the urinal was still flushing, making it mathematically impossible that he washed his hands. You can never look a person the same after.
I don't think we need a surgical scrub station in the bathroom, but it would be nice if we could escape without having to resort to pinkie fingers, wadded up paper towels, and elbows. I mean, after all, we did put a man on the moon.