I’m not a fan of hand dryers.
Not that I like having wet hands or anything, but hand dryers – especially those new ones – annoy me.
You know the ones, they look a bit like a toaster with no sides and are mounted on the wall of every public toilet in the world.
It presents you with a bit of an odd choice a) wipe your hands on something that actually, y’know, dries them, or b) limp-wristedly drop your hands in and out of a machine that sounds vaguely like a scooter, and leaves your hands cold and moist.
This does seem to be a trend in society – overcomplicating things with technology and being preoccupied with ‘progress’. Although I am a bit confused as to why ‘progress’ always has to give me a headache.
Take your mobile phone. When was the last time you looked at it? Probably pretty recently, you may even be reading this on your mobile right now. Do you notice the one thing you’re not doing with your mobile right now?
Yup, making a phone call.
Around 90% of the time when I’m using my phone it’s for something other than making a phone call. I’ll go days without making or receiving one, but will use my phone to send emails, browse the internet, chuck a bird at a pig, etc. Occasionally I’ll use it to text too, but even that’s only on New Year’s Day at 12:01am.
Actually make that 12.45am, the network usually crashes until then.
Most phones now come with video calling capabilities too. When was the last time you actually saw someone using that, other than on the TV advert for it? Call me a traditionalist, but if I want to see someone when I talk to them, I’ll either go visit them or invite them round. There’s no need to involve Wi-Fi or Apple.
And they’ve developed a new way of typing on your mobile now too. This involves a circle on the face of the phone, which you slide your finger around in order to choose the specific letters you want. Sound familiar? It should do, it’s how we used to dial phones. So ‘progress’ here apparently reads ’stuff we did 20 years ago’.
Even kitchen appliances are getting in on the act – everything’s got a digital readout. Washing machines used to have a dial, now they have an in-built computer. The last one I bought had a thirty page manual. I wanted a clean shirt, not a certificate.
My favourite has to be the toaster I saw which had a digital display though. Surely if there’s one appliance that doesn’t need a hard drive it’s a toaster. What’s this even for? Syncing your phone to your breakfast?
The last time I went to buy a TV was ridiculous too – mainly because they getting ‘improved’. I needed to get a new one a while ago, and was asked what ‘refresh’ rate I was looking for, whether I needed a TV with Advanced Contrast Enhancer, and whether I needed an internet TV (and if so did I want it inbuilt or one where I needed a dongle)?
I eventually managed to sidestep all of the technological hieroglyphics and just bought a TV which looked pretty good and wasn’t too expensive.
Then I looked at the remote.
I’ve seen less complicated boiler instructions (just…). There was a button for everything – the weirdest one had a big heart on it which worryingly has no effect on the TV at all. (Was it just a thank you from Sony..?)
No wonder old people get so confused with this stuff – it took me a week to work out that the Exit, Return, Home and Back buttons essentially all did the same thing.
Last but not least are electric toothbrushes. A toothbrush is essentially a stick with bristles on, that you rub onto your teeth. How can you possibly complicate that? You don’t need much in the way of qualifications to use a toothbrush (a hand, an arm, some teeth), and it’s not the most strenuous of activities. Men especially have been practicing that motion for years.
I do think there have been incredible changes in technology – if it wasn’t for Twitter I wouldn’t know what was going on in the world half the time – but for the normal, day to day things, I reckon we can live without the complications.
Especially if they make a stupid noise and don’t dry my hands properly.