« Busted | Main | Not for love or money »

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Embarrassing Technology Malfunctions

Those of you who live outside of Israel may not be aware of the amazing technological advances we here in the holy land take for granted.  One of the neatest among them is the Invisibility Cloak that has become so popular here.

What's that?  You hadn't heard about it? 

For some time now, there has been an invisibility cloak (identical to the one featured in Harry Potter) available to the general Israeli public. 

No, really!

Back in the US where this technology hasn't yet caught on, men (and even sometimes women) are forced to walk a considerable distance from the roadway to find some privacy when 'caught short' during a long drive.  Even the old maxim 'If you're a man, the world is your bathroom' has it's limits defined by the rules of decorum. 

But here in Israel, the introduction of the invisibility cloak has made those long marches to find the cover of trees or bushes completely unnecessary!  All one has to do is stand on the shoulder of the highway wrapped securely in this wonderful device and nobody is the wiser! 

However, I have to say that they don't seem to have worked out all the bugs in this new technology, because quite frequently I'll be driving down the highway and see a man standing on the side of the road urinating in plain site of all the passing motorists!  I'm assuming that these unfortunate individuals were unaware that they were experiencing some sort of malfunction with their invisibility cloaks.  I know I was much too embarrassed to tell them.

Being a relative newcomer, I haven't gotten around to picking up one of these nifty cloaks...  so on the rare occasions that nature calls while I am driving, I'm still required to engage in the old-fashioned practice of seeking shelter in the bushes, or behind a well-placed tree.

I can't wait for them to work out these potentially-embarrassing technical glitches in the invisibility technology because it sure would be neat to be able to stand right next to my car at the height of rush hour and 'write my name in the sand!'

221_16_5_8

Posted by David Bogner on June 1, 2005 | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c581e53ef00e55051f4788834

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Embarrassing Technology Malfunctions:

» MICTURITION TRADITIONS from Blog d'Elisson
A post by David Bogner set me to thinking about the issue of Micturition Alfresco, AKA Pissin’ in Public. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 1, 2005 7:27:10 PM

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

See this.

http://www.indipod.com/

and read more about it here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4578895.stm

Posted by: Frummer? | Jun 1, 2005 12:00:10 PM

David, that was really gross.

Posted by: Sarah | Jun 1, 2005 1:01:33 PM

Clearly, they forgot to tag it "Successfully tested on Emperors and Hobbits"...

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Jun 1, 2005 1:07:54 PM

And what about people driving their cases, up to their wrists, picking their nose as if tomorrow will never come? They seem to think that we can't see into their car!

Posted by: Dave | Jun 1, 2005 1:46:58 PM

cases= cars

(that was due to a technology malfunction whereby the keyboard did not work properly. All fixed now :))

Posted by: Dave | Jun 1, 2005 1:47:54 PM

Dave:

They're watching the road ahead, and if they can't see you, I suppose you can't see them!

My wife says its only men who pick their noses in their cars! Is she right?

Posted by: Frummer? | Jun 1, 2005 2:36:23 PM

Frummer... And people have accused me of having too much time on my hands!

Sarah... Feeling left out? Steve, the helpful soul over at 'The Sneeze' has thoughtfully provided a nice selection of aids allow women to enjoy the freedom of roadside urination. You can see it here.

mademoiselle a. ... Although today's dose of irony was meant to poke fun at the practitioners of this public sport... I often wonder if they really think we can't see them!

Dave... I can almost forgive people their disgusting preening rituals that take place inside the car, if only someone would explain this, um, other behavior. Maybe it's a Mediterranean thing... sort of like doing an impression of one of those fountains in Rome! :-)

Frummer... I've seen plenty of women picking noses... swabbing out ears... applying make-up... making ahem, 'adjustments' to their attire... all as if they were home alone in their bathroom!

Posted by: David | Jun 1, 2005 2:42:46 PM

Well people in NY also have a similar problem. You see
a new technology that is taking over by storm is the
invention of DVD players inside vehicles. This has
created a scenario where if one is watching something
risque and does not have tinted glass he too is
clearly unaware that this cloaking device is
malfunctioning and now may very well get a ticket
for his ignorance.

Posted by: shloimy | Jun 1, 2005 3:57:14 PM

I always thought it was a sign of classic Israeli machismo - "We don't need no stinkin' bathrooms".

But the funny flip side to this to me is how grown Israeli men need to relieve themselves, they feel the need to announce to everyone "I need to make pee-pee." What are they - four years old?

Posted by: Dave | Jun 1, 2005 4:36:43 PM

And I was worried what passersby would think the other day on our community Walk for Israel, when my sister-in-law had to escort my 3-year-old nephew off the main thoroughfare to an alleyway to pee against the wall, which was still in plain sight of everyone.

David, just tell your fellow Israelis to "mind your P's and Q's!"

Posted by: Pearl | Jun 1, 2005 5:04:29 PM

I've seen plenty of women picking noses... swabbing out ears... applying make-up... making ahem, 'adjustments' to their attire

They must be accustomed to using those car curtains you photographed a few weeks ago...

Posted by: Tanya | Jun 1, 2005 5:05:59 PM

Ah, now I understand! Sort of an "Emperor's New Invisibility Cloak" kind of a thing, eh? I've been wondering! Maybe there just aren't enough strategically-placed restrooms? How much do you want to bet that if Ma'atz added restrooms along Hwy. 1 for example, people would not stop & use them?

Posted by: AmyS | Jun 1, 2005 5:33:19 PM

David:

"And people have accused me of having too much time on my hands!"

Aren't we lucky! :)

Posted by: Frummer? | Jun 1, 2005 5:41:20 PM

Shloimy: I mean this suggestion with affection and respect. Speaking of technology malfunctions, you don't have to press enter when you get to the right of the text box. You can just keep typing the next word and the text box will wrap the words to the new line for you automatically. That way your comments won't be the only ones with short lines.

I really gotta go now and make pee-pee. I usually use my neighbor's driveway.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Jun 1, 2005 5:47:25 PM

No, they all purchased the special Harry Potter Cloak.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/sci_tech/newsid_2730000/2730639.stm

Posted by: Jack | Jun 1, 2005 5:48:17 PM

Shloimy... Even more
disturbing is the
number of cars you
see with DVD screens
on the dashboard!
My car only has them
in the back of the
driver's and passenger's
headrest. It worries
me to see drivers
watching movies while
they are supposed to
be driving (and picking
their noses)!!! ;-)

Dave... That reminds me of when I was getting my physical for the Israeli Army. A pretty young soldier was speaking in very rapid Hebrew and I didn't understand what she had told me to do... so I asked her to repeat herself. She very slowly said, "Lech l'heder 104 bishveel b'dikat sheten!" (go to room 104 for a urine test). I understood everything but the word for urine. When I asked her for clarification she shouted "Atah meveen Peepee?!" loud enough for everyone in the room to stop and stare. Yeah, good times.

Pearl... as always, ouch! No, it would seem that Israelis really have no shame.

Tanya... Curtains only work if you have them drawn. I've watched women do all of the unseemly things that men do, and more.

AmyS... There are at least as many restrooms available to Israelis as there are to Americans. In fact, very few Israeli places have a 'Restrooms are for patrons only' attitude. So it's gotta be something else.

Frummer... My secretary seems to spend half her day outside smoking. I figure I'm allowed breaks too. The difference is that I use my 'smoke breaks' to respond to comments. :-)

Doctor Bean... I got nothin! You finally managed to leave me speechless! :-)

Jack... I knew I could count on you for the real deal. Thanks.

Posted by: David | Jun 1, 2005 6:16:51 PM

David,

I wanted to write a post about this, but my story was more disturbing. I was walking on a path through the "green space" in my neighborhood, a guy saw me, stopped "had a malfunction in his cloaking device" and I didn't know what to do. I would have had to walk directly by him while he was doing what he was doing!

I stopped and pretended to search in my bag (maybe for his remote control?) and he didn't even seem fased by it.

geez!

Posted by: Safranit | Jun 1, 2005 7:31:51 PM

David--off topic here, but I must ask the question:

WHY DO YOU NOT HAVE A SYNDICATED COLUMN IN SOME PUBLICATION?

Not that your words are wasted on your blogging pals, but there is such a target audience who is missing the great fun and insights that you share.

Have you ever approached a print publication or even a press service? If not, you certainly ought to! And this is coming from not just a reader, but from someone employed in the publishing industry. Your words supersede much of what I read in my day-to-day job!

Posted by: Pearl | Jun 1, 2005 7:51:09 PM

Safranit... You should have kept walking. I'm starting to learn that someone acting rudely (no matter whose standards we are using to judge) is only half the equation. If we acknowledge the rudeness and allow it to impact what we do than the equation is completed.

Pearl... That's very sweet of you to say. I have always had a hankering to write professionally (which I sort of do anyway, but marketing isn't what you were talking about). There have been a few things standing in the way, though:

1. I'm scared. I worried that if I actually had to meet deadlines it would cease being fun.
2. I'd have to polish my prose. I almost never edit or rewrite my journal entries. Sure, I make a quick pass to see if there are any glaring grammar or spelling problems... but most of what you see here is written in one shot, in about 20 minutes.
3. I don't have an agent. I have no head for business and hate the idea of negotiating on my own behalf. Therefore, if I was ever to seriously entertain the idea of writing a column, I would need representation.

So... #1 and #2 I could probably come to terms with... but unless you know an agent that wants to take on a complete unknown... I will be here guarding my amateur status on the off-chance that they ever decide to make blogging an Olympic event.

Posted by: David | Jun 1, 2005 8:40:36 PM

If you think a DVD in the dash is dangerous, just wait until they're web surfing while driving.

Posted by: The Observer | Jun 1, 2005 8:45:15 PM

I will be here guarding my amateur status on the off-chance that they ever decide to make blogging an Olympic event.

That is good. Because we know that when they say to you "Atah meveen Peepee beh cos" you will understand that they need to confirm that you have not taken any of the Smith-Corona typing steroids which would provide an unfair advantage.

We must protect the integrity of the games.

Posted by: Jack | Jun 1, 2005 8:51:21 PM

Hey, if you know of public restrooms right alongside Highway 1, I'd love to know where they are!! We once made an emergency stop at Ben Gurion because it was the only place we knew we'd find a rest room.

Posted by: AmyS | Jun 1, 2005 9:31:31 PM

Actually, this public peeing is a technological innovation in it's own right. It turns out that peeing on your tires improves traction, and of course who doesn't want more traction? Of course, if the whole thing is just utilitarian, you wonder why no one considers the windshield, which could use a good cleaning.

Ok, I've grossed myself out now. Thanks for the inspiration.

Posted by: AbbaGav | Jun 1, 2005 9:41:00 PM

The Observer... G-d help us all! Israelis have enough to juggle while driving, what with cell phones (sometimes 2 or 3 at a time), radar detectors, radios, DVDs, electric razors, make-up... and of course food. I think this might be the thing that finally does us in.

Jack... Thanks for keeping me honest. :-)

AmyS... There are gas stations and/or small food stands within 2 minutes of almost every exit. If I have the kids in the car, I usually plan on getting off at the Beit Shemesh exit and going over to the gas station near Shimshon Junction.

AbbaGav... I'm afraid to ask where you learned this little factoid. I'm hoping it wasn't from personal experience. :-)

Posted by: David | Jun 1, 2005 11:05:01 PM

Of course, if the whole thing is just utilitarian, you wonder why no one considers the windshield, which could use a good cleaning.

Cabbage leaves will provide a clean, streakfree windshield.

Posted by: Jack | Jun 2, 2005 1:55:57 AM

Maybe the "strategically placed" public bathrooms are so dirty that no one wants to use them. Wouldn't surprise me at all.

Therefore... (and all anti-globalization, pro-cultural-preservation sentiments anyone might have aside)... never underestimate the power of McDonalds!

Posted by: Irina | Jun 2, 2005 3:10:54 AM

Jack... actually, if you look back in my archives I think it was newspaper that did the trick... but I like the way you're thinkin'. :-)

Irena... You have no idea. Restrooms here are either sparkling clean or so unspeakably filthy that garage mechanics would complain. The worst part is there is almost no correlation between the type of establishment and the condition of the bathrooms. I've been to very nice restaurants in Jerusalem that had bathrooms that made me want to burn my clothes afterwards... and I've been to gas stations where the restroom fixtures and floors were clean enough to eat off of (not to mention modern & tastefully appointed).

Posted by: David | Jun 2, 2005 9:36:12 AM

Jack... actually, if you look back in my archives I think it was newspaper that did the trick... but I like the way you're thinkin'. :-)

Martha, er, David I know all about the newspaper trick but it is not nearly as much fun.

Posted by: Jack | Jun 2, 2005 10:06:09 AM

**This comment is rated PG-13**
This reminds me of the time I was out jogging along a main road. I was in my own little world, concentrating on breathing and then, suddenly, I saw a urinating penis 20 feet in front of me.
I was in shock, and so, I stayed there, jogging in place, right next to him, staring intently at his penis while his urination continued. He uttered a few sentences along the lines "what are you doing, what are you looking at"
I wanted to embarass him and make him realize that what he was doing was so gross and just low class.
Unfortunately, I let my anger get the best of me and we exchanged angry words which probably isn't the smartest thing to do when I was out alone jogging, but I was so mad. I memorized his license plate and told him I was going to call the police (is public urination a misdameanor here?)
By the time I got home (and it was one of my fastest times ever because I was so mad and also nervous he would follow me in his car) I had vented my frustration and let it go.

For me, it was just another example of people's lack of respect for public spaces and other people.

Posted by: Naomi | Jun 2, 2005 11:32:58 AM

Gee, David; apparently you've never been to France, where public urination happens everywhere - including at bus kiosks in downtown Paris.

Maybe it's just that we North Americans have a more energetic sense of public decorum. Or something.

Posted by: Peter | Jun 2, 2005 11:56:28 AM

Naomi... I'm glad that you 'vented' your frustration before involving the police because I suspect you would have encountered a whole new reason to be angry. 'Quality of life' crimes are not a particularly high priority with the local constabulary. I imagine that even if you had been able to flag down a passing police car while the man was still in flagrante delicto, the policeman (assuming it was a man) would probably say something to the effect of, "Lady... what do you want me to do? He had to go... better he should have made in his pants?". At that point you would have a pretty sound case for justifiable homicide... which is why I'm glad you ran home and did nothing. This is a tough place to live sometimes.

Peter... Let me understand this... Are you trying to lower my opinion of the French, or simply excuse the Israelis because they are acting like the French? I don't think you could possibly surprise me with new lows of French behavior... and I don't feel the need to excuse this particular Israeli habit just because the French share it. My dog doesn't like to go to the bathroom while being watched... I think I'm on safe ground to expect at least this level of shame from my countrymen. :-)

Posted by: David | Jun 2, 2005 12:09:52 PM

In a classic case of treppenwitz, I thought of the perfect line for Naomi to have used just after I had responded to her comment:

When the urinater (sounds like a down-and-out superhero, no?) asked her what she was staring at, she should have replied, "You remind me of a kid who comes home from school proudly waving a failing report card in front of his parents. I wouldn't be waving that thing around so proudly if I were you!"

Posted by: David | Jun 2, 2005 12:15:55 PM

Your last comment reminds me of a very funny situation I heard several years ago -- it has been widely purported that a well-known turn-of-the-century (19th, that is) French actress humbled a flasher by laughing at his "exhibition" and succintly telling him he had nothing to "exhibit!" LOL.

Posted by: zahava | Jun 2, 2005 1:20:54 PM

I'm not entirely sure that Israel was first in the race towards this marvellous invention. I think it may have been in circulation in quite a large portion of central/Southern Europe through the 70s and 80s when I used to holiday there as a child. Or perhaps what I saw was just people being rude...

Better than an invisibility cloak would be a selective-visibility-inhibitor, which we could use to adjust any offensive sights to a bunch of blurry outsized pixels. I would definitely go out more often, armed with one of those.

Posted by: Alice (in Texas) | Jun 2, 2005 3:53:07 PM

ohh, I like that. Must remember that one. You know, I think I'd let the whole peeing by the road thing slide if we could only solve the dog poop/lack of pooper scooper problem in this country. But that is another story for another day.

Posted by: Naomi | Jun 2, 2005 3:59:52 PM

Zahava... Oh great... what is it all of a sudden that everyone wants to throw the French up to me?

Alice... You're probably right about Israel not being the first. But in keeping with a 57+ year tradition, we try to adopt only the worst of everyone else's culture. :-)

Naomi... Oh please, don't get my wife started with this one. This issue is a current hot-button topic on our community. Just... let's not talk about it right now, mmmkay?

Posted by: David | Jun 2, 2005 4:19:25 PM

To change the subject a bit... I love seeing people getting out of their cars ten minutes before sunset and davening mincha along the side of the road.

Posted by: Beth | Jun 3, 2005 9:15:11 AM

Beth... I enjoy that too. Especially enjoy big picnic holidays where total strangers will wander around a KKL picnic area gather ing a minyan.

Shabbat Shalom

Posted by: David | Jun 3, 2005 3:55:24 PM

Oh this was an absolutely hysterical post! YES! And mind you, our Porties have owned said cloaks for decades now, and proudly flaunt them everywhere in the city, especially but not exclusively at corners. They'll even greet you as you walk by, isn't that nice of them.

When I was doing research at the Dolphin Reef I used to sometimes climb onto the Lab's roof on very clear-water days to watch the interactions. There was only one man on the peer at that time and all of a sudden he looked around, yanked out his spraying weaponry and happily went for it. My shouting at him gave him the fright of his life - or so I hope. He was ziping up as he fled. Who does that??

Posted by: Lioness | Jun 3, 2005 8:34:49 PM

Oh this was an absolutely hysterical post! YES! And mind you, our Porties have owned said cloaks for decades now, and proudly flaunt them everywhere in the city, especially but not exclusively at corners. They'll even greet you as you walk by, isn't that nice of them.

When I was doing research at the Dolphin Reef I used to sometimes climb onto the Lab's roof on very clear-water days to watch the interactions. There was only one man on the peer at that time and all of a sudden he looked around, yanked out his spraying weaponry and happily went for it. My shouting at him gave him the fright of his life - or so I hope. He was zipping up as he fled. Who does that??

Posted by: Lioness | Jun 3, 2005 8:35:25 PM

Post a comment