Thursday, May 23, 2013

Waving My Hand under the Manual Towel Dispenser

Do you ever become so automated that you can’t function properly?

I spent 39 years in the computer industry, but I don’t consider myself a gadget geek. In fact I’m happy to get by with my laptop, email, Word for writing my novels, and the Internet. I don’t text, and a cell phone is to use for emergency calls and when I’m traveling.

I recently read a book called The Paradox of Choice on how we become overwhelmed by choices in our modern world. Rather than a few breakfast cereals to consider, we have a whole six-foot high aisle in the supermarket.

But the subject at hand. We also have become dependent upon tools of automation. When my laptop went through its death throes two years ago, my writing suffered, and I had a panic attack.

But we can all enjoy some humor with this world of automation. In the old days, restrooms had paper towel dispenser where we pulled out the towel by hand. Now we have automated genies where we wave our hand underneath and the towel appears. The problem is, not all buildings have converted over. I finally have become used to the new dispenser, but, recently, I found myself waving my hand under a towel dispenser, and nothing happened. I shook my hand more vigorously until I finally noticed that I was trying to convince a manual towel dispenser to operate as an automated one. No wonder it wasn’t cooperating.

The lesson—I’ve got to pay attention.

How have you been led astray by technology or lack thereof?

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