I was in Europe for 11 straight days during which I washed my hands numerous times in six different cities. You see, the faucets are different from place to place. It behooves me to tell you that it’s definitely not ‘you’ve seen one, you’ve seen all’. You can’t really be faucet-proficient. That’s to say, complacent people won’t get to wash hands.

At some places, it’s the plain old turn-a-knob, at others; it’s sensors, push, twist or beg. One time in a town called Grasse, I washed my hands clean with French savon. After, I’m staring at the faucet because there is no knob to turn, no sensor either.

So I put my hands under the tap, begging. Only to realise I needed to ‘kick-start’ the water-supply. I smile at how big a fool I might have been. But suddenly conclude that I can’t read the French instructions. Alas! There were no instructions ‘to read’.

My advice is, look at the tap and check for sensors. If you don’t immediately see it, look down. If there’s nothing you can kick, there’s bound to be knob you can twist, turn or push.

Coming to hand dryers.

I have seen the best hand drying towels ever. So, it’s a roll. You pull it down and wipe your hands. After you’ve done the deed, the used portion gets pulled up automatically. Genius.

I like to imagine they take the fully used roll, wash it, treat it with bleach and roll it back as fresh, to be used by soft hands, hard hands and hands that have been up to no good. If I learn tomorrow that they just throw away the used roll, I’d be mildly depressed.

Then there are those regular hand dryers — blow-dry, hot or cold stream, recycled paper towels, and plain old shake-off in front of the mirror.

Spotting and using the hand dryer is not as challenging as operating a faucet, honestly. But it might be a task at one instant or the other. Another time, I washed my hands (I forget where because I feel like I’ve been everywhere even though I know I haven’t). After successfully operating the faucet and getting a good stream of crystal-clear water, it’s drying time. Only, I don’t see a dryer.

So I take a look around but I fail to spot one. There’s something written in perhaps, German but I instantly decide against Google Translating it. I start to shake off my hands. In the process I finally spot the sneaky hand towels, concealed under the spotless mirror.

And with dry hands, I venture on. Smarter and cleaner.