Friday, August 26, 2011

Oh hey there, post I wrote in April upon returning from Israel, and never posted...

There are some things that Israel does so incredibly much better than the US does. I'm not talking about politics or education or child-rearing or any of that socially-relevant blah blah, I'm talking about what really matters: for example, many public bathrooms have foot-pedal flushers. Here in the states, in public bathrooms most of the toilet flushers are still manual and you got lots of people who don't want to touch the handle so they either waste a bunch of paper wrapping their hands in it and then drop that paper on the floor, or they don't flush at all (gross) or they just go ahead and flush with their foot anyway, making the handle way dirtier than it was and way grosser for the next person who didn't have a thing about not touching it with their hand before, but now that you put the bottom of your damn shoe on it... Anyway, foot-pedal flushers would just solve all that. Is that really so hard to do?

Since we started with flushing mechanisms already, let's keep on: for years and years I've wondered why the Israeli-style toilet with two settings of flush hasn't taken hold here in the US, at least among the environmentally conscious. Two levers, one for small flush and one for big flush. Choose as necessary. Not hard, and they've really been doing that forever. Here? Never seen it, except in the home of Israelis who live here, and one or two Jewish institutions. (Update: they have these at some of the public restrooms at the University of the Pacific, in Stockton, CA.)

Ok: on the street. Parking in the cities is painful and terrible in Israel, but they're eons ahead of us when it comes to paying for parking. Here we've made the giant leap from per-car meters to numbered spots and every-half-block parking machines. I don't know who benefits from that change; I find it infinitely more annoying to have to remember the spot number and find the machine, never mind that the guy behind me now usually doesn't benefit when I put in an hour's worth of quarters and then leave after 15 minutes. Anyway, there's a whole new system in Israel that never requires you to have cash on hand, really lets you pay per-time-used and not estimate-in-advance-and-then-get-screwed-style (don't tell me you've never gotten a ticket after being about 49 seconds late), and lets you pay from your cellphone. I don't know all the details of how it works, I just know it's awesome. Only drawback I see is that if you are just visiting a city or renting a car, you might be a little screwed, but I'm not sure.

But, but, the truth will out: never mind how technologically advanced Israel is in general, how many innovations come from the software and hardware companies there (hello, cellphones) and how they're piloting a huge new electric-car initiative next year... never mind even the flushing mechanisms and the parking system. SERIOUSLY, ISRAEL, WHY DO I HAVE TO SHOWER ON THE FLOOR? HOW HARD IS IT TO MAKE A LITTLE LIP AROUND THE SHOWER SO THAT THE BATHROOM DOESN'T HAVE TO FLOOD EVERY SINGLE TIME AND SO THAT I DON'T HAVE TO WORK WITH A MOP OR SQUEEGEE TO CLEAN THE FLOORS IMMEDIATELY AFTER I'VE JUST CLEANED MYSELF??? Get with the program, man.


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