Columbia Star

1963        Celebrating 60 Years      2023

Flushing Technology

I’m just saying...



I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve been finding myself in a state of constant confusion lately.

It’s all this technology we’ve surrounded ourselves with! No one asked me, but if they did, I’d tell them it’s all just too much! From self-driving cars to self-flushing toilets, we are just becoming TOO dependent on machines!

And it doesn’t always work out well. I’m sure you’ve all heard about the accident with the self-driving car that killed a pedestrian and that car even had a HUMAN BEING in it!

Wasn’t there some point during that scenario where the human HAD to see the pedestrian in the street and realize the car was moving too fast? Wouldn’t the human have tried to stop the car somehow?

But that human didn’t and, sadly, the pedestrian’s injuries were fatal. The company has said they will “investigate,” and they should. But I think they should investigate the human in the car as well because that person may have been able to avoid the accident. I just hope the human wasn’t texting at the time.

And if self-driving cars are having problems… well you can just IMAGINE the scenarios that pop up in restrooms with these “self” flushing toilets and “automatic” hand dryers. If it were legal to have cameras in restrooms, I’m betting there could easily be full season of a television show based totally on people in bathrooms trying to figure out the automation. I can see it now….”Soggy Hands and Moist Behinds!”

Every bathroom, like every cash register, is different. I can’t speak for the men, but in every ladies’ room I’ve ever been in since the “automation revolution,” I don’t think I’ve ever found two alike!

It’s maddening sometimes…especially when you’re in a hurry or there’s a long line waiting on you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in one of those “auto-flush” bathrooms in a theater, airport, or some other crowded event, and the automatic flusher DOESN’T flush automatically!

So there you are…you waited in line for ten minutes after two coffees and a bottle of water, and the first act of the play was 90-minutes. You reaaaalllly had to go, but you were patient and didn’t complain as you waited in line, but now it’s YOUR turn! Yay!

You go into the stall, you hang your purse on the hook, do what you must to sit down and aaaahhh….sweet relief! You finally got to tinkle! Life is gooooooood.

You finish up, get yourself situated and get ready to exit the stall and turn around to hit the flusher…only there’s NOT one. There’s only that little black eye that’s blinking lazily at you. Your tinkle along with the TP you used sits calmly in the toilet bowl…completely undisturbed.

You panic.

You wave your hand in front of the “eye.” Nothing. As you feel sweat forming on your brow, you are aware of the impatient shuffling of feet and clearing of throats in the line outside. You know, because you yourself have done it, at least one woman in that line knows you’re finished because she sees your feet pointing away from the stall door. And she’s timing you.

The panic grows…you begin to frantically wave at the “eye” on the toilet….you use both hands….you use your arm…if you’re wearing a hat, you wave that too. You begin to hear exasperated sighs from the line of women…you hear the shuffling getting a little louder…the throat clearing turns into irritated grunts…and then…with a prayer to all things holy, you actually push that little black “eye” and YES!

The toilet begins to flush! You are weak with relief. You thank all the gods in all of the world you won’t have to endure the “walk of shame” by going out and telling the next woman in line, within earshot of then next dozen, that you “couldn’t flush” the toilet.

You take a deep breath of gratitude, pull back your shoulders, adjust your purse, and put a bemused smile on your face. You open the door to the eager, waiting faces and proudly saunter over to the sink area of the ladies’ room.

You wash your hands, using soap and singing the “Happy Birthday” song in your head so you will wash long enough and rinse. You turn toward the paper towel dispenser.

There isn’t one.

This time it’s a blue eye with a picture of a hand pointing toward it. You ponder what the hand and eye are trying to tell you…should you wave your hand over the eye? Should you put your hands under the dispenser? Is there a hidden lever somewhere on the machine?

By the time you ponder this, your hands are dry.

You leave as if you planned it that way.

I’m just saying.

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