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Snubbed by a blind water faucet
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When I travel, I expect to be shoved and pushed around by people. That’s the simple reality of life in a fallen world where everyone’s looking out for number one and you’re standing between a skinny Australian tourist and his eight-dollar decaf latte. I expect my fellow passengers to be rude to me, but more and more, it’s the inanimate objects that are ruining my day. I’ve had arguments with escalators that won’t escalate, battles with reclining seats that won’t recline and shouting matches with too many forgetful hotel alarm clocks to count. Of all the inanimate objects out there though, none is as arrogant, spiteful or annoying to this traveler as those electronic seeing-eye water faucets.

Long ago — when my hair was much thicker — I flew to Little Rock, Ark., almost every week for a solid year. I learned that Arkansas airport bathroom faucets didn’t like me. I would try to wash my hands after the flight, and those little seeing-eye faucets would just ignore me as if I wasn’t there. Other travelers would walk up and their faucets would instantly spew water out. I would stand there and wave my hands under my faucet, dance, and beg and nothing would happen. Week after week, I tried every faucet in the bathroom but it was always the same: no water. If you traveled to Little Rock in the early ’90s and visited the airport bathroom, you’ll probably remember me. I was the guy mumbling in the corner, "I’m alive, dang it! Recognize me! Give me a sign… just a little water!"

I don’t mean to pick on Arkansas water faucets. I’ve had the same trouble all over the world, and even when I’ve been able to get one of those seeing eyes to recognize me, it only seems to last for a second or two. Wave, water, wait… wave, water, wait… wave, water, wait — is that any way to treat a traveler who just wants a little water? No, it’s not. Inanimate objects shouldn’t ignore you. From now on, I’m going to look for bathrooms that have real water faucets with real on-and-off handles. If I can’t find any of those, then I’m going to carry a bar of soap and a map of the world’s water fountains. I figure I’m less likely to be arrested for washing up in a water fountain than I would be for ripping a water faucet out by its blind eyeball.


David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Conyers, can be reached at