Phantasm

I don't know what it is that touchscreens are meant to be sensing when you touch them--a pulse? DNA? Human skin cells? Plain old heat?--whatever it is, I seldom have enough of it to please our technological overlords. I tap, nothing.  I swipe, nothing. The other night, my mother thrust her iPad mini into my hands and instructed me to do a digital jigsaw puzzle (mostly, I think, to get me to stop making snide remarks about the terrible script of The Mentalist so she could concentrate on the mystery at hand).  Try though I might to drag a puzzle piece from the sidebar to its home in the emerging picture, it stayed steadfastly where it was, ignoring me completely.  Through trial and error I discovered that rubbing my index finger vigorously on my sock for a minute rendered it human fingerish enough to please the puzzle.  The question is, should I have to be going out of my way to please a puzzle?

Of course, the stakes are pretty low in the "will I or will I not complete an online jigsaw?" conundrum, but I once almost missed a plane as I stood there unable to access my boarding pass, hitting
zero bags to check
zero bags to check
zero bags to check
over and over to no avail until a ticketing agent yelled at me (it was JFK. I think they're allowed to yell at you there.), overrode the system and told me to run.

I understand that touch screens don't think MOST people are dead, so I'm willing to accept that they're useful. Most of the time. For many. But I am totally unwilling to concede that there is the slightest need for toilets that flush themselves or motion-activated sinks.  I know what you'll say.  Hygiene!  Water conservation!  And to you I say, stuff and nonsense.

If touch screens think I want nothing from them, self-flushing toilets are eager to respond to my slightest movement. The mid-pee flush is a startling and damp-making experience that I hope you will be spared. It is generally followed by the standing-up flush, the awkwardly mopping my water-sprinkled arse flush, and the putting-my coat back on flush. Gallons of water needlessly gone. In a drought.  Besides, I never said I needed any help with this, technology; you can just run along home.  The old fashioned lever was working fine.  In a really dodgy WC, one can always employ the foot flush, but generally, the hand works fine.  After all, seconds later, you'll be washing it.

Oh.  Except that now I can't do that either.  Thanks, futuristic sink.  Would that the sink would check in with the toilet and get some water-spurting tips. Alas, it is in cahoots with the damned touch screen. Oh, the long minutes I've spent waving my hands about like a hysterical maiden aunt in a melodrama, only to be regarded as imaginary by the very thing I'm waving at.

Maybe I should start carrying a bar of soap in my purse. I could always just wash my hands in the toilet. What's one more flush, after all?