Monday, April 6, 2009

Potty Trails

George Jetson has been on my mind lately. He lived in a world with many technological advances and cool gadgets. Some were useful, like the vacuum that cleaned rooms by itself. Others were weird, like the food machine that made full meals in pill form. George would pop the little pill in his mouth and say, "Thanks, Jane. The eggs were perfect, but you burned the toast." This confused me as a child, and still does - why would anyone want to eliminate eating? It is one of my favorite pastimes.
Regardless of the futuristic gadget, it rarely worked correctly. The vacuum began chasing occupants throughout the house. The food thingamajig combined breakfast foods with desserts. The treadmill ran too fast and George would get stuck on the conveyor, spinning round and round. The awesome machine that dumped George from his bed, then showered and dressed him while he remained partly asleep, occasionally tried to brush his teeth with razorblades. These were the hazards of a technological era.
Which brings me to my topic of the day: the bathroom in our new "green" building. Like many new-ish bathrooms, it is designed to eliminate most touching. You still have to wipe your naughty bits by hand, but I am sure someone is working on a solution that does not shoot water into ones nethers. For now, we must be satisfied with toilets that flush themselves, water that flows from a sink with a hand wave, and towels that sense the need for dispense(ing).
A typical trip:
I believe I have finally embedded the route from my cubical to the potties in my little pea brain. I leave my cubical and walk right, then right, then pause and look at the surroundings, then remember that it is yet one more right. Really, a GPS would be useful for office navigation. I enter the room, do my b'ness, then stand. The toilet does not flush. I reach for the button and flush manually, and it flushes a second time as I leave the stall. This is one invention I could live without. I am rather insulted that society has deemed me unable to dispose of my own waste. But I dislike wasting water and causing the thing to flush twice. The next time, I step gingerly forward, trying to trigger the flusher. Nothing. I open the door, and step slowly out, and finally, whoosh! I wonder - am I the only one who suffers minor stress about this? What if it doesn't flush? Will people think I am a non-flusher?


Next, the sink. No handles, so I wave my hand under the thing. Nothing. I wave faster. Nothing. I wave slower, then change the angle. Finally, it spews water for two seconds. Sigh. I remember when I thought this was cool - I was at a rest stop in Indiana circa 1988. Midwesterners were so ahead of their time. Thanks guys.
Time to tackle the towels: the towel dispenser is not as insensitive as the sink. In fact, it is quite generous. One hand wave, and I have a towel suitable for wrapping around my whole body, probably killing 13.5 trees. This to dry the miniscule droplets remaining on my hands from the miserly sink.
Return to desk - left, left, left again. Or, to change things up, I learned that an equally valid route consists of right, right, right, left, right. Phew!
Tomorrow's goal: determine which of the 40 printers is located in my near vicinity and download mapquest directions. Sort of a catch-22...I'd need to print the directions...


CaraBee said...

It is one of life's great ironies that so many things that were created to make our lives easier have in fact only made them more complicated.

I hate self-flushing toilets.

Maureen said...

We are both blogging about bathrooms! Two grown women and we still don't know how to use the toilet. Sad.