Sunday, January 3, 2010

Device forces you to estimate how badly you stunk up the restroom

On a recent visit to my parents’ new home in Illinois, I took an interest in a lighting and fan control fixture on their restroom wall.
In addition to the on-off switch for the light, it had a column of buttons for the ceiling fan. The fan buttons were labeled with the number of minutes the fan would operate before shutting off. The fan times listed were 5, 10, 15 and 30 minutes.
In effect, these buttons force the bathroom user to determine how badly he or she stunk up the place. Mild stink? Five minutes. A little worse? Ten minutes. Oh, my God, what died in here? Fifteen minutes. Hazmat zone? Thirty minutes.
In the future, I can envision automated systems that determine how long the fan needs to run. But in the meantime, these machines will require truthful assessments by the user.

Bathroom control switch at my parents’ home;
Jim Carrey exits the bathroom and says, “Do NOT go in there!” Screen grab from “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” (1994).

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