It is rather scary how much modern society had become reliant on automation.
And how humorous it can be when the automation fails. I am sure we can all remember a time when we expected something to work automatically and it did not. Or seeing the same happen to another. Admit it the temptation to laugh is strong, especially when it happens to someone else. At least as long as they are not actually hurt by the failure. Ever see an automatic door not open?
I was recently reminded of one such failure that I encountered. I was in an airport on a layover. I can not recall where I was going to or from, just that it was an airport and I was in a bit of a hurry. It has been my experience that airport bathrooms either have all the modern conveniences (i.e. automatic sink, automatic flush, automatic … well everything) or they are something that bring back horrible memories of my first apartment.
This particular bathroom conveniently flushed when I stepped away from doing my pre-flush things. Then it less-than-conveniently shut off the water before my hands were actually washed, forcing me to wave my hands again of course. Two or three times. Now my hands were obviously wet. So class, what’s next? Very good. Dry the hands!
This bathroom had one of those automatic paper towel dispensers. The directions very clearly showed (in pictures to be safe): wave your hands here, and a paper towel will appear. So I waved my hand there. And nothing happened. Tried again. Nothing. Tried over there instead. Still nothing. By this time a crowd was forming. For some reason (most likely being over-tired from traveling) I was determined to get a paper towel. So I kept trying, twisting and turning in odd ways. By the end I think I was doing a tap dance routine with “big hands” worthy of Broadway. My growing audience was rather amused.
Finally I gave up. Walked away wiping my hands on my shirt. No sooner did I walk away then another person walks up and with a simple movement gets himself a paper towel.
Needless to say there was a bit of laughter when I left the bathroom. Me included!