October 2nd, 2008


Automation and the Lost Art of Manual Overrides

Restrooms across Texas are now fitted with automatic faucets, automatic soap and towel dispensers, and automatic flushers. Its the dawning of a new age where we don't have to lift a finger - even when they stop working.

In all this technological advancement, we've forgotten something of ourselves. How to operate these devices. Because 90% of the appliances work themselves, we now stare at the other 10% in near-panic. I stuck my hands under the faucet at one of the men's rooms which had yet to be converted, and nothing happened. I stood back in shocked disbelief wondering what to do next. Then I spied that archaic "handle" and decided to toy with that. Wouldn't you know it - water came out after twisting it. I was saved! Of course that restroom is filled with unflushed urinals, because we've been conditioned to simply walk away from them so they can do their thing. When faced with a manual device, we're so used to walking away that these non-modernized devices remain silent, and unclean.

I'm of the opinion, however, that all these techno-gadgets ought to at least have manual overrides. Sometimes the water doesn't come out out the automatic faucet, and there's no way to turn it on. When the "wave hand here" device doesn't flow forth with the towels, the lack of a lever means wet hands. A sign of the times, I suppose. He doesn't know how to use the shells!

Such is life.

Or like my friend is wont to say, ce lave! (He is washing himself?)

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