These things I know are true: you cannot convince someone who doesn’t like Steely Dan to like Steely Dan; there’s no point in buying expensive coffee beans if you have a crappy coffee maker; and motion-sensor faucets should be vandalized with impunity or, even better, with heavy mallets.
Let me back up. For a while now, I’ve felt I must be missing the outrage gene. At very least, I suffer from indignation deficiency. This isn’t the same as intolerance. Things certainly annoy me. Why, just the other day, I pulled the flimsy plastic cheese-slice wrapper out of the recycling bin, and to be clear, it’s the wrappers that are plastic, not the cheese slice, although I can understand your confusion.
I flaunted the wrappers in the air and said to my wife, “You can’t recycle these!”
“And why not?” she asked defiantly.
“They’re too thin,” I replied. I was cool about it, reasonable, because in truth I have no idea what you can recycle, and no one really does.
But I wasn’t outraged. I’m not about to take to take to the streets or, more rashly, to Twitter to vent about how cheese flaps are not recyclable and, for that matter, why aren’t they, dagnabbit? We must all recycle vigilantly or the vaccination-deniers win! Or some such logic. It’s hard to think straight when you’re so filled with bile and processed dairy product.
When I see how people get so upset about things, I start to feel not quite normal. Why do I step so tentatively off the handle where others fly? What made all those NPR listeners, for example, get their tote bags in such a twist simply because the program “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” – a game show! – had Kim Kardashian as a guest?
I happened to catch that show when it aired, and all I could think was that I don’t recall ever hearing KK speak before, which means I live a sheltered and, it turns out, blessed life. But I never considered complaining to NPR that I would never donate again, mainly because I’ve never donated in the first place.
Is it that I can’t be bothered? Or is it that we don’t actually live in the Age of Outrage that I think we do? Maybe it’s only a small number of cranks who get in a froth about, say, dried parsley, but this outrage is then amplified via social media, which turns into the sense that everybody is really upset about grass-flavoured garnish.
Maybe I’m the only guy who wants to rip motion-sensor faucets off the commode. If so, I’m happy to see this blown out of proportion.
Here’s why: I’m standing at some knob-less sink, the faucet arched over the basin so you can’t see where the nearly invisible sensor wafer is nestled. I wave my hands underneath. I wave them again. I vogue them like a hand model. I abracadabra and jazz-hand. Finally, the water splashes on. Oops, it’s off again. I cup my hands and nudge them like I’m coaxing a lady up a ladder. AAAAH! Why won’t you come on!
It’s my thin wrists, isn’t it? Motion-sensor faucets discriminate against the slight-wristed. Wait, make that the slight-but-still-undeniably-manly-in-a-sinewy-way-wristed.
And then I have to repeat the same interpretive hand dance with the paper towel dispenser. I feel like a ghost, invisible, and not just socially!
I understand that this is a technology that is supposed to make our lives better by eliminating the transfer of germs to the taps. But germs and bacteria are everywhere. So we eliminate taps. People are still touching door handles and salt shakers and grocery carts and each other and themselves, which is a whole other gross problem. Hasn’t anyone seen War of the Worlds? Bacteria and Tom Cruise will always win!
Plus, because of these fussy faucets, how many people simply won’t bother to wash their hands? Let me correct that: how many more people won’t bother, because the number of non-washers in public bathrooms is already disgustingly high. It’s an outrage!
And the water from these taps is so tepid. What if I want to get a drink of water for my dog? Must the dog drink warm water? Shouldn’t the pet fanatics share my outrage as only pet fanatics can?
Death to motion-sensor faucets!
So it turns out I do have outrage.
I feel so normal now.