As I vainly tried to wash my hands in the trickle of sensor-faucet at the rest area near Toledo, I realized once again how much I despise automatic sinks. I believe I predicted something about me dying in an automatic bathroom scenario somewhere around five or six years ago (five years, three months, one week to be exact -ed.). I still stand by the distinct possibility of either being electrocuted by a water-logged hand dryer or having a full-on anger-induced stroke the next time an automatic air freshener sprays antiseptic lilac mist directly onto my corneas.
And as I stood there, waving my hands like a maniac for three-second bursts of water that felt like it was produced within the belly of an Ice Giant and shot through refrigerated pipes, I realized once again how automation isn’t always the best thing. I couldn’t help but wonder how many cases of cold and flu virus are spread annually when people just give up, and don’t even make it to the soap part of washing their hands, because the automated device that’s supposed to help retard the spread of germs wasn’t calibrated or isn’t functioning correctly.
I believe it’s called “irony.” It’s also pretty indicative of how a lot new technology, designed to make our lives easier and safer, is neither easier, nor safer. I get the premise of spraying antiseptic lilac mist on a schedule in a public restroom, I do not get the motion-detector, laser-beam accuracy in which they shoot, dribble or spout lilac-smelling chemicals on your general person, regardless of placement of person or machine. Up high, it rains down upon you. Face level, well, you get a great lilac whiff as it sears off your eyelids. I don’t even want to talk about the sadists who install these things underneath sinks, so people mistake the wet hiss as a precursor to possible cobra strikes and hurt themselves vacating the area. (I’m willing to admit this may or may not have happened to me personally. Maybe. New Mexico has some scary bathrooms, y’all.)
It just seems like it would be a lot easier to put a can of Lysol on the back of the toilet with a sign that says, “Don’t spray this directly into your own face, or your friend’s face, or the face of someone standing close to you, unless of course you want to burn their corneas off. Also, do not fold, spindle or mutilate with fire, due to risk of explosion. This facility is released from all liability for self-intoxication, and anyone who loses nose hair, nose structure, or function of further bodily breathing apparatus due to intentional inhalation of Lysol. We reserve the right to limit patron usage of Lysol, and you know what, screw it, we’re installing the automatic sprayers…”
It’s a brave new world, with the same old problems. And I still hate automatic sinks.
(Be safe out there, you never know where a water-logged hand dryer lurks.)