Sometimes objects out there in the world have a lot to say to me. When I go into a washroom, I make sure that I use soap. I also want to have my hands dry when I walk out the door.
Years ago, my office was at Catholic Central High School in London. I’d do my phone calls and paperwork there, and then zoom off to all sorts of schools to see low vision kids. The stress of the job often overwhelmed me. I was just going so fast. A washroom was right next door, and I’d sometimes fly out of there with hands dripping. It took me maybe two years to figure out that my bathroom behaviour was a symbol of what was “off” in my life.
One day, I decided to wait until my hands were completely dry. That was a trick, since the CCH hand dryers were definitely underpowered. But I was determined. I rubbed and waited and then rubbed some more, turned the dryer back on a few times, and felt the tension growing in my chest. What an education. Having a natural completion of the task seemed wise, but it was so hard to not lean forward into the next moment.
Then what about companions? I’m in a restaurant washroom rubbing away but another fellow is washing his hands at the sink. He’ll need the dryer in seconds! And my hands are still wet. What discipline it takes to finish the job while feeling him standing behind me. But that’s what I do. It’s good to feel the pressure, and to hold it gently, realizing that I will still be alive when my friend and I exit.
But some dryers are painfully loud. Such an assault on my whole being. I’ve decided that if there are no paper towels, I’ll drip dry. This seems to defeat my commitment to dry off completely, but really it doesn’t. What I’m committed to is my well-being, whether that means not subjecting myself to noxious noise or seeing a task to its natural end. If my heart and soul remain balanced and happy, then they’re available to the next person I meet.
So … thanks, all you manufacturers of hand dryers. Little do you realize that you’re contributing to my spiritual development.