Monday, November 27, 2006

Here Comes the Flush

I am becoming paranoid about the electronic toilets installed in our new building. There was something to be said for deciding when it was time to flush.

The new building sports many technological advances – elevators which only move when you scan your badge, lights that are triggered by movement, central heating and cooling that doesn't provide us with thermostats, and electronic bathrooms, sporting motion detectors for sinks and toilets. It's great that we no longer have to touch anything, but at what cost?

The electronic toilets are my current pet peeve. I admit to loving to be misted on a hot summer day at an outdoor café, but being misted where the sun doesn't shine as winter approaches is not nearly so pleasant.

I find myself sitting as still as a mouse for fear of triggering the electronic eye that initiates the flush. Last week as I sat there the toilet flushed 4 times before I got up. I never understood how these things worked, thinking maybe it was opening the stall door that triggered the flush. But that is definitely not true with our new toilets which are actually quite aggressive flushers.

I even envisioned bringing a "blinder" with me to the bathroom – something I could hang over the "eye" until I decided to let it see again. What do you think? Have I really lost it completely?

14 Comments:

Blogger Kristin said...

I really prefer to flush for myself. I hate the premature flushing almost as much as the seriously delayed flushing. I get so embarrassed leaving an unflushed toilet - I end up hanging out for extra time, waiting to see if it will flush and then I go for the override.

4:02 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

We don't have that many of those here, or maybe I just haven't experienced them much. I do agree with you. Guess they do this to decreases germs from everyone's touch? Do they have automatic doors entering and exiting the bathroom? I really wish they'd have that!

5:38 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

They shine an infra-red beam at your back. Some of the light reflects back and the toilet knows you are sitting there. When you move you change the amount of light being reflected back. When the light drops below some threshold, the toilet flush.

I hate them too - you fear adjusting yourself on the seat or, god forbid!, reaching for toilet paper.

6:43 PM  
Anonymous media concepts said...

We may need to add to the list of public restroom infirmities that includes "shy bladder syndrome." Perhaps hypo-kinesis syndrome, or HKS?

1:43 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Did the U.S. government install combination bidet/toilets? You can relive your Provence vacation next time you visit the restroom, oui?? Non???

No.

9:08 AM  
Blogger steve said...

Electric Eye? I REALLY don't like the sound of that...big brother is watching and he is a real sicko!!!

9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was so real......having just flown E to W and back again and visiting airport bathrooms both directions.

It would be funny if it weren't so true. ............ Actually it is funny. ....... No it's not ....... yes, it is.

Is my ambivalence showing this morning? At least KOB wasn't ambivalent since he cited this in today's DC Blogs!

:-)

K

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Bengal said...

When you have to scan your badge to get the toilet to flush, that's when it's time to conclude Big Brother is watching your every move!

When I was preparing to retire from the Navy and interviewing for "real" jobs, I heard a story about a contractor facility ... I think it was Boeing ... at which "need to know" and compartmentation were so regimented that you had to scan your badge for entry into every room, including the rest rooms. The access control system would not let an employee enter a rest room designated for the opposite gender.

Now, tell me, what's your reaction to that? Is it "that's absolutely ridiculous, what kind of nut case designed this system"? "Well, of course, why should it allow access to the 'wrong' rest rooms?" Or is it, "who the heck took the trouble to find out?"

11:27 AM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

So if you can find out where the infa-red eye is, could you not just hold or tape a paper "target" over it and it wouldn't flush untilmyou took it off or flushed manually? Richard should know! He always knows this kind of thing!

11:37 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- I too have hung around on occasion just to make sure the flush occurred. I don't see a way to override the sensor!

MOI -- No automated doors, only faucets and flushers.

Richard -- Yes, it's often when I reach for the T paper that the thing goes off.

MediaConcepts -- I'm not shy, simply offended that an electronic device is making a critical decision for me!

Reya -- No bidets, just standard issue toilets. Quelle domage...

Steve -- I would really be freaked if I learned the eye was a camera. Gross!

Kate -- Yep! It's everywhere...

Bengal -- I could poke a bunch of holes in the existing security measures, many of which don't make sense. But alas, no gender checking in our bathrooms...yet.

MOI -- That was my idea. I'll have to test it out.

1:29 PM  
Blogger Janet M. Kincaid said...

The irony of these new fangled toilets is, they're supposed to save on water consumption, but if they're repeatedly flushing while you're sitting on them, it becomes a moot point. Your building probably meets the latest in LEED regulations, hence the low flow, self-regulating flushers.

Terrifying, aren't they?

3:43 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Janet -- It's like having a robot that was incompletely programmed. It's scary to me that we are turning over more and more of our lives to electronics. I often wonder what might happen in the case of a fire with all these badge-activated doors and elevators, etc. Better not even go there...

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blind it! Of course, the value of a toilet that makes automatic mercy flushes might need to be reconsidered!

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The answer you seek is hiding right in front of you... OK, maybe it's a little to the left or the right. You can "blind" the eye by hanging a piece of toilet paper over it. This works, I use it everytime. :-)

11:19 AM  

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