February 20, 2007
After working for two and a half years in a building that provided certain amenities, I am discovering that I have been conditioned, like Pavlov’s dogs, to expect some things to work a particular way. Flushing the toilet, for example, or washing my hands afterwards.
The building my previous engagement inhabits is equipped with automatic flush toilets and urinals. As soon as you move away from one it flushes automatically. My new employer’s building doesn’t have auto-flush technology, so every time I step away I have to return in order to flush. I’ve been conditioned to expect the toilet to react without my participation.
The faucets in the sinks were the same way. Each was equipped with a sensor that turned the water on or off based on whether your hands were under the spout or not. I find that even after nearly four weeks here I am still putting my hands under the faucet expecting the stream of water to appear as if by magic. I wonder how long it will take for me to stop expecting these automatic, proximity based events.