I love technology and I love gadgets and games. It’s what this blog is all about, but what I can’t stand is useless technology. Just because we can do it, should we? This may seem like a frivolous rant, but it brings me to electronic faucets, toilets and showers. What’s the deal with these? Okay, I understand we need to save water, but these things just don’t work half the time.
At my work we have electric faucets in the washroom that have very little pressure and when they are working, they continually clunk on and off every few seconds. Sometimes you find yourself waving frantically in front of the little black insidious eye detector, begging it to give you just a few extra drops of water. Let’s not even talk about how these things fare in a power outage, something that is slowly becoming more common where I live.
When electric faucets do not work it’s not that bad, you can usually go to the next one and hope it automatically turns on for you, but what about toilets and urinals? Urinals are the absolute worst when they break down. There is usually no manual flush, which in itself is such a terrible idea. When one of these things break down no one notices for a few days until the awful smell of urine starts wafting throughout the washroom. Then the building management apologizes and tells you that it will be awhile before they are fixed because the little tiny part that is broken has to be imported from Germany! Toilets usually have a button to override the automatic flusher, a very wise idea, especially for those of us who need more than one flush per visit.
This brings us to the last of the automatic nonsense. Recently my buildings amenities were upgraded. The whole complex was closed down for a couple of months while they modernized everything. It turned out quite nice, and hopefully it will eventually raise the value of the condo. Anyway, I decided it was time to go for a swim. A mandatory shower is required before going into the pool.
I stepped into the shower and looked for the knobs to turn the water on. I see a cold and hot heat dial and turn it, but alas, nothing. Hmm. Why isn’t it working, I fiddle again and with a clunk, a single spray of cold water douses me. Ah, the little dreaded black eye is staring up at me… Damn you little black eyes, damn you all to hell I cry. Now the fun part is, how do I get the water to the temperature I like. Well with a little dance of waving my hand in front of the eye as I turn the cold and hot dial I slowly in spurts of spray get the temperature I like and then step under the shower head. Now I’m expecting the shower to stay one, but no, all I hear is the grinding clunk, clunk, clunk of the pipes shutting on and off as I move only slightly away from the ever present evil black eye. I start holding my hand behind myself and waving it back and forth in the hopes of getting a steady stream of water to no avail.
In theory, automatic faucets, toilets and showers sound like a good idea, but when they break there is often no alternative to getting them working again. The malfunctioning probably would be bearable from time to time if they actually worked flawlessly when you needed to use them, but often they don’t. Often they just squirt on and off in a pathetic attempt to do what they were designed to do. The one exception I have seen to this rule is hospitals; maybe they use better detectors in these places. If you are not willing to install top notch detectors, then why bother, it will just frustrate everyone.