Saturday, September 15, 2007

Channeling Andy Rooney

In an airport again. On my way to Canada this time. Stopped to use a restroom -- three stalls, all lined up, all occupied. Used those motion-activated flushing mechanisms, which means that each time one of us shifted, the damn thing flushed again, which happened roughly every five seconds.

Aside from the horrific environmental waste, this is just stupid. Everything in the bathroom was automated, the sink, the soap, the toilets, the towels, and not one goddamn thing worked the way it was supposed to. An extraordinary amount of time, money, and effort went into making my bowel-moving experience both more wasteful and less convenient. And -- why? Because we've literally become too collectively lazy to wipe our own fucking asses?

I caught a few episodes of "American Inventor" a while back. I had some interest in the concept -- my father's a scientist, and most of our money growing up came from patents on his inventions -- but I was vaguely appalled by the steady stream of new bike seats, sunglasses, and perfume bottles. There wasn't a single new idea there, and these people had devoted years of their life and thousands of dollars to -- what? A better bar of soap?

If this (admittedly sensationalistic) piece of pop-culture is any indication, the new god of invention isn't progress but convenience. It's a sad irony that such an astounding amount of intelligence has gone towards developing new technologies that have pampered us into drooling incompetence. Living in such a decadent culture is almost enough to make me run off into the woords and become a survivalist.

But not quite. After all, what would I do if I needed to rent a Buffy DVD at 11:59pm?

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