Techy toi­let trou­bles

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - An­nie Lane

DEAR READ­ERS >> A re­cent col­umn talked about some­one be­ing grossed out when en­ter­ing a bath­room stall be­cause the pre­vi­ous oc­cu­pant failed to flush. I was pretty hard on that pre­vi­ous oc­cu­pant, as­sum­ing they were at fault. Quite a few read­ers pointed out that this might have been a prob­lem of tech­nol­ogy and not in­con­sid­er­a­tion. Here are two of the let­ters that I re­ally en­joyed read­ing: DEAR AN­NIE >> In your May 18 col­umn, “Dis­mayed in North Carolina” was con­fronted with an un­flushed toi­let when en­ter­ing a stall. Yes, the pre­vi­ous user should have checked, but as one who trav­els and dines out fre­quently, I long ago chocked this up to the pro­lif­er­a­tion of toi­lets and uri­nals that flush automatica­lly.

It is rare to en­counter a re­stroom that does not have them, so it’s pos­si­ble the pre­vi­ous user, the one who “Dis­mayed” fol­lowed, had as­sumed his toi­let would flush automatica­lly when he left and did not bother to check. These automatic flush­ers have been a bless­ing, as the sit­u­a­tion “Dis­mayed” en­coun­tered had been hap­pen­ing with in­creas­ing fre­quency be­fore their in­tro­duc­tion. —AFanof Au­to­mat­ics

DEAR AN­NIE >> I just read the let­ter from “Dis­mayed in North Carolina” and feel that I have to point out an­other side of the equa­tion: The gen­tle­man in ques­tion may not have been just “dis­gust­ingly lazy,” but rather didn’t re­al­ize it had not flushed. I might some­times be guilty of the same of­fense and not aware of it. We live in a highly au­to­mated world. Toi­lets don’t al­ways come with han­dles any­more. All the plumb­ing fix­tures in my work­place and most of the pub­lic places I “visit” are au­to­mated.

I have be­come so used to the toi­lets flush­ing them­selves. Some­times the toi­let is au­to­mated but still doesn’t flush it­self, so I have to do it. And it can be dif­fi­cult to find the but­ton to push to man­u­ally flush. Very of­ten they hide it some­where on the side of the elec­tron­ics.

I laugh when I stand in front of the sink and hold out my hands to wash them, wait­ing for the faucet to turn it­self on automatica­lly, and then re­al­ize that the plumb­ing is not au­to­mated, so I turn on the faucets by hand. I place my hands un­der the pa­per towel dis­penser and wait for it to spit out a length of pa­per and noth­ing comes out be­cause I did not pull on the ex­posed piece or press the dis­pens­ing but­ton or han­dle.

Yes, there may be times when some­one is just lazy, but it may also be that we are so con­di­tioned by au­to­ma­tion that we do not re­al­ize our busi­ness is still in the bowl when we exit the stall. — Too Con­di­tioned by


DEAR AU­TO­MA­TION FANS AND SUB­JECTS >> You make good points, but there still is no ex­cuse for leav­ing the stall un­til the toi­let has flushed. If it is au­to­mated and won’t flush, there should be a han­dle or but­ton to flush man­u­ally. If there isn’t one, then that com­pany should be called out and forced by pub­lic pres­sure to of­fer a man­ual al­ter­na­tive.

“Ask Me Any­thing: A Year of Ad­vice From Dear An­nie” is out now! An­nie Lane’s de­but book — fea­tur­ing fa­vorite col­umns on love, friend­ship, fam­ily and eti­quette — is avail­able as a paper­back and e-book. Visit http:// www.cre­ator­spub­lish­ for more in­for­ma­tion. Send your ques­tions for An­nie Lane to dear­an­[email protected]­

You make good points, but there still is no ex­cuse for leav­ing the stall un­til the toi­let has flushed.

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