Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It Must Have Seemed Like A Good Idea at the Time

We had a small problem with our hot water a couple of days ago -- we had none. Technically we had lots of the stuff -- our water tank was full of hot water, but it was useless because none of it came out of the faucets (the problem is fixed now -- the bypass valve had jiggled itself into the closed position). Since cold showers are not particularly attractive to me, I packed up my shampoo, towel, shower shoes and other assorted items of personal hygiene and set off to use the campground's shower.

The shower room consisted of a sink, a couple of toilets, two shower stalls, and various and sundry "science experiments" that were creeping up the walls and doing the mold-and-mildew-naughty in the drains. But it was still better than a freezing shower -- and, besides, this is why I pack shower shoes and have learned to dress and undress in a way that nothing ever touches the floor or walls!

When I looked at the wall between the shower stalls, this is what I saw:

Four switches on the outside, in between the two stalls. The lights were out in the stall, so I took a gamble and moved the lower switch to the up position. The lights came on. So far so good. But what could the upper switch be for? More lights? A fan, maybe? Let's find out!

To my amazement, the upper switch turns on (and off) the water in the shower! Someone must have thought it was a good idea to replace the normal faucets that have served us all so well since indoor plumbing moved beyond an architectural indulgence, and install an electrical mechanism to start/stop the water flow.

Hmm... combining water and electricity needlessly. What could possibly go wrong?

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