the-light01There’s a certain bathroom that I frequent on an infrequent basis; Usually once a week, sometimes twice. It’s a semi-public bathroom that’s used by quite a few people. Sometimes the light is on when you go in. Sometimes the light is off. But I am sometimes caught by the light (or lack thereof) with my pants down.

The owner of said bathroom has put in a special, energy-saving light switch that I like to refer to as A HORRIBLE IDEA. This light switch has a setting for OFF (off all the time), a setting for ON (on all the time), and a setting for AUTO. The AUTO setting enables a motion detector on it that turns the light on if movement is detected. If the switch is set to AUTO and you walk in, the light comes on. It will turn off after 2 minutes. Some might think this is a genius, energy-saving wonder of an idea. I do not.

When I go into the bathroom, if I remember, I will flick the switch to ON. But sometimes I forget. Maybe I’m in a rush. Maybe I just finished my third coffee and realized that I haven’t peed in five hours and my bladder is about to burst. Maybe I’m turtling and there is no time to check what position the switch is in. Sometimes I just rush in and drop trou…

the-light03It is on these occasions, in the middle of enjoying the absolute relief of release, the AUTO setting kicks in and I’m left pooping in the dark. 😐

No big deal, most would say. But they’d be wrong.
With a sad sigh in the dark, I realize I forgot to switch the light to ON. I can’t reach the switch from where I am without getting off the pot and creating a veritable mess. I wave my hands in the dark. Nothing. I wave more frantically. Nothing. I wait until my eyes adjust, and fumble for the toilet paper in the dark.



sabreThe only problem with these motion detectors is that they DO NOT DETECT MOTION IN THE DARK. So the entire process is counter-intuitive. Therefore, the light will only turn back on if there is light so the motion detector can see you. Since I usually go to the bathroom with the door closed, there is little to no light once the bathroom light AUTOMATICALLY turns off. So unless you’re on the throne with a set of airplane directing wands, or a light sabre – you’re SOL – Pun intended. Once, I actually had my phone with me and I was able to trip the motion detector mid-poop by turning my phone on and waving it around like an idiot. That only lasted for two minutes, and then the light went off again. More frantic phone-waving ensued until the end of my bathroom visit. Oh to be a fly on the wall watching myself.

I have come to the conclusion that these light switches are entirely redundant, and should be banned. Either that, or they should be re-designed with different labelling. HAVE PHONE, WILL WAVE (please turn the light off 1-2 minutes into my poop, so that I have a chance of dropping my phone in the toilet as I fumble in the dark – I like taking chances!), POOPING (I’ll be here for at least ten minutes, so please leave the light on forever), and USELESS (off).

Appropriate motion-detector-money-saving-annoying-when-you're-pooping light switch labels.
Appropriate motion-detector-money-saving-annoying-when-you’re-pooping light switch labels.
Poop icon credit: Mourad Mokrane from The Noun Project