How quickly we get used to convenience, even when unsolicited.
We have an automatic toilet in our home. Anyone who has ever been in Japan will probably know what I'm talking about. For those of you who don't know of this completely unnecessary phenomenon, allow me to explain: Imagine your toilet as an A.I. that knows you better than you know yourself, and that anticipates any action you could possibly imagine doing on the toilet. A touch-screen on the wall allows you to scroll through multiple pages of options, ranging from simple stuff like the brightness of the light and the manual flush, to the more complicated scenarios like the temperature of your seat, the power of the bidet-spritz, and a host of much scarier stuff I have yet to explore.
Naturally neither my partner nor I would ever have chosen to install such an intelligent device in our bathroom. Both of us are of the old-fashioned opinion that our own brain ought to be the most intelligent presence when alone in the bathroom, and this hi-tech 'crapdroid' often poses a challenge to our analog toilet rituals. We did not install this machine and would have never considered it. The toilet came with the house, along with other exhibits of questionable spending on the part of the previous owner. We removed most of those exhibits, but removing the toilet simply seemed excessive, so we chose to adapt to it.
When we moved in last year, we were initially intimidated by 'Robobowl' and its elaborate instruction manual. It just seemed like a lot of homework for a process that requires the basic decision between number 1 and number 2. The home thankfully has old fashioned toilets as well, where finding the light switch is the most technically challenging part of the journey. Another bonus about these analogue beauties is that they won't crap out on you whenever the power goes out, which, here in the Bahamas, happens with quite some frequency. But as the title of this post indicates, we slowly adapted to our 'smart-ass', and inevitably came to view its complications as convenience. As time went by, we warmed up to the machine, as its seat warmed up to our asses, and our asses did not seem to protest.
At this point we have not only adjusted to the technology, but we have become comfortable with it. The seat raises automatically when you enter, cleans automatically, and lowers after you're done. The flushing process is automated and rationed to fit the size of the job. If you're half asleep (which is often the case in the toilet closest to the bed) you no longer have to force your brain to start up its basic functions, knowing that your toilet won't leave any trace of your visit.
But it is exactly that numbing of our brains which modern gadgets so conveniently encourage that puts us in challenging and sometimes embarrassing situations whenever those gadgets are not around. When I grew up I had all the phone numbers of my friends and family memorized because i didn't always carry my address book with me. These days most of us rely solely on our phones to remember phone numbers. If I would be stranded somewhere without my phone, and needed to call someone, I might be severely out of luck remembering which number to call.
These thoughts circled my brain after I stepped out of the toilet this morning. It was not the high tech toilet, but rather one of the regular toilets outside our bedroom. I was still half asleep, and I was standing patiently in front of the bowl waiting for it to raise its seat for me. I waited quite a while before I realized I had become a full-on toilet slave.