mikelietz dot org



First, folks, let me preface this with the statement that this is all that I intend to write regarding the events of 11 Sept. 2001, and I mean no disrespect by it. I understand that it was a tragic thing in New York and Washington, but more than a month has passed and too many people are waving flags around and dwelling in the past.

Mind you, I'm a callous prick from Ohio who's never sensitive enough about these sorts of things. I just think that it's high time we stopped all the pitying and being pitied and got back on with being the home of the brave and the land of the free.

And as for that freedom, we seem willing to give up some of our mandated freedoms just for a renewed sense of security. I took up flying again today (26/10/2001), and let me be the first to say that there are some freedoms I don't want to give up.

I'm willing to put up with slightly longer lines, also with the need to flash my ID three times extra and I'm almost in favor of keeping only ticketed passengers in the already overcrowded departure areas. I'll put my tool with it's three inch blade in my suitcase, and carry my laptop through the metal detectors.

But at Chicago Midway (MDW) airport today I had deny one freedom too many. I'm of course talking about the new automatic drinking fountains.

It seems that somebody has determined that people are taking too many sips at the drinking fountains, so now even if you hold in the button, you only get fifteen seconds of water. I counted. Fifteen per push, shove, poke or prod.

Then you have to push the button again, for another barely refreshing fifteen. A minor inconvenience, you might say.

Nay, says I. Who has the right to decide how long I want to take a drink? Who moreover lays out the capital to develop and deploy these time-limited drinking fountains, when that money could be better spent solving real problems?

I know that this is a different situation from my disdain for automagically flushing toilets--The reasoning behind this upgrade doesn't lie in a pragmatic approach to current society. At least I don't think so.

I can't for the life of me figure out why having the ability to control the amount of water that you drink from a publicly provided, free spigot should be out of your hands. Can you? Is this a plan to abate the long lines that don't form behind popular fountains? Could fifteen seconds' worth be the proper amount of water per person per drink? Is that all that's safe to drink? Or is it one more small part of the grand scheme for us to accept total mechanical domination over our entire lives? Or is it just some cruel corporate joke?

I don't know about you, but this is one I don't want to let get away.