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Snapshots: Automatic toilets, commercials, recycling, and sports apathy

Curtailed commentary on current conditions!



Print Edition: July 16, 2014

Illustrations by Anthony Biondi

Illustrations by Anthony Biondi

Poop on that notion!

Automatic flushing toilets are probably the most frustrating things I’ve ever been forced to put up with.  Sure, I suppose they’re convenient since a good chunk of people these days take the biggest shit possible and let it fester in the toilet bowl as a gift for the next person.

Getting rid of that problem is the only plus side to automatic toilets.

The last thing I want when relieving myself is to be startled by a noise from behind me that sounds like the rapture has finally come, only then to realize it’s just the toilet deciding to rudely flush itself without my permission. I’m not done my business yet — I do not appreciate this. I also don’t appreciate the toilet bestowing its water on my rear end.

If you move so much as an inch, the toilet flushes. If you make a noise, the toilet flushes. But when you’re officially done doing the deed, the toilet is silent. So you’re forced to manually push the damn button down to flush it, now that you’re actually finished.

In the end, these toilets really aren’t much of an improvement.



Commercially frustrated

When commercials actually achieve something new, I gain momentary respect for the industry trying desperately to stay ahead of online streaming.

The Salvation Army’s latest purchase of ad space on CTV’s website, for example, has earned my brief change of heart.

On the screen, a homeless person sits on the curb with a cardboard sign. As the camera pans, it freezes and the buffering circle pops up, spinning. As a user of terribly spotty internet, I’m short-fused and quick to blame Telus. Then the tagline flashes, “We all get frustrated by this.” The ad unfreezes and closes in on the unfortunate individual, “Why not this? It’s time to end poverty in Canada. Donate now.”

The Salvation Army’s marketing team got me. Frustrated by what I thought was a failing stream, I was ready to pause, reload, and change rooms for a stronger signal.

So well done, Sally-Ann; I can promise you I’m frustrated by the deeper problems at work in your marketing scheme, and I can promise you I have and will continue to donate. I truly hope you frustrate enough people with your fake buffering to evoke change.



Recycling isn’t an inconvenience

I recycle a lot. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m an environmentalist or even really that passionate about the environment, but I take my recycling seriously.

Just the other day I was in a coffee shop and noticed there was nowhere for me to recycle my straw wrapper. Upon asking the barista if there was a recycling bin close by, he responded with an annoyed sigh and a slight roll of the eyes.

 He did take my wrapper and put it in the recycling bin, which happened to be behind the counter only about two feet away from him, but I was made aware I had been a bother.

It wasn’t the fact that I couldn’t find a recycling bin that upset me as much as the negative attitude of the barista whom I had inconvenienced. No, I don’t expect everyone to put as much effort into recycling as I do, but we should at least try.

Have we really come to the point where it is too much of an inconvenience to put something in a recycling bin only two feet away? I’m disturbed by the thought of a society where making the smallest environmentally-conscious decision has become too much of a hassle.



“Sports don’t matter!”

“I don’t care about your stupid sports!” is a phrase you hear often if you surround yourself with people who aren’t sports fans. Usually this reaction is a response to the “sports buzz” — when the next big cup-of-whatever is being contended for and everyone is talking about it.

But it turns sport apathy into hostility.

You’ll hear claims stating “sports don’t matter!” and maybe even imperatives like “shut the hell up about FIFA!”

Watching sports doesn’t click for me either, but my apathy of the game does not extend to disrespect. I can understand if you get tired of hearing the hype around the game, but the game itself is something that should be respected.

People can be apathetic to something you consider important as well. They aren’t required to care about your fascinations to writing, art, or philosophy. But you hope they won’t talk down to your interests. The fact that you’re not invested in something doesn’t make it universally redundant.

Remember: these players are performing miracles in the artistry of their game every time they play, so try to at least appreciate their skills for what they’re worth.


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