A pre-Halloween story

The elevators here at the flats have had those automatic dispensers for the past few months. I mean, obviously. It's been pumping... no, squirting... anyway, it's been dispensing... no, that's a repeat. It's been giving us hand sanitizer on demand for the most part of the past seven months, save those times when it's out of the stuff, or those rarer moments when someone's taken the whole thing off the elevator for maintenance or battery replacement or something.

It's been convenient, of course. Now that we're all expected to have clean hands, it's nice to not have to fumble around your stuff for alcohol or wet wipes when you think you need to sanitize your hands. Also, it gives you an excuse to be fidgety when you're feeling particularly fidgety. Just get some hand sanitizer and you're good to go, provided it does pump something out. Sometimes there's nothing, and you're left to feel slightly awkward for the rest of the elevator trip. Sometimes it gives two squirts instead of one, and you have really sticky hands that you have to rub so it dries off in time.

The problem is, those dispensers are placed somewhat awkwardly. They're all placed at the corner, just beside all the buttons. I guess it makes sense, though. I mean, you press a button, you clean your hands afterwards. You can't be too safe these days, after all, or so they say. Plastic cover on the buttons, a hand sanitizer dispenser right beside it, and you trapped in a small space with three other people.

That set-up could mean awkward situations. There will be times when you absolutely need to clean your hands, but someone decides to stand by the buttons, blocking the dispenser. You can say that guy has no sense of elevator etiquette. It's an evolving discipline, sure, but especially now that you have a limit of four people per elevator, there should be posters out and about saying that, if you're alone in the elevator, you should not stand by the buttons, in case someone enters in the middle of your trip. It just saves you all of the awkwardness: you don't have to scoot, and he doesn't have to grit his teeth. Another plus: there's a better chance the other corners are where the air blowers are. A slight gust of wind to dry you up can't be a bad thing.

Anyway, that set-up also means there will be times when the automatic dispensers would just squirt hand sanitizer from out of the blue. There's a guy standing right by it, and he's not doing anything, and then, skrrrrt blech. One pump of hand sanitizer on the floor. Or two, in those rare instances. You feel bad for the wasted cleaner.

There are also a handful of instances when the dispenser would just go skrrrrt blech from out of nowhere. Like, I'm the only one in the elevator, and I'm on the corner with the air blower, which is never the corner with the buttons, and then, one squirt of hand sanitizer, and then, another squirt of hand sanitizer. And then, yet another squirt. A dirty scanner, perhaps? It's Halloween tomorrow. There's a reason why I held this story for so long.

But then, in these times, that's barely a horror story. That, and I don't really like them, or am any good at them, for that matter.

And your responses...

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