Possibly the dual shower head is commonplace place in the wider world, but it’s not in mine. So when I recently encountered one in a hotel-room shower, I found it confusing, and vaguely freakish. I wondered: Is this some thick-headed vision of progress — the same level of “innovation” that answers the three-blade razor with a four-blader? Or is it simply a production error, an industrial design mutant?
What I would soon learn is that whatever the original intent, what it had become was, of all things, a moral crossroad.
As you might notice, there’s a sign hung just behind this two-header. Signs in the shower are another phenomenon I’m not used to. I read it carefully. “Refresh yourself,” it said in large type, and then in slightly smaller type: “restore our world.”
I had to keep reading all the type that was smaller still in order to absorb that this was my choice. I would not be able to do both.
According to the sign, one of the “Heavenly Shower heads” on this object had been disabled, “in an effort to minimize water usage and protect one of our most precious natural resources.”
But … if I wanted to “experience the most” from the Heavenly Shower contraption, I could reactive its full powers by pushing an indicated button.
I see. I can “experience the most” — provided that my interest in doing so trumps my interest in “protecting one of our most precious natural resources.” So go ahead: push the button and refresh yourself, hotshot. Precious resources can go to hell!
I’m sure that this hotel chain did not set out to convert its showers into a consumer behavior laboratory, confronting every guest with a stark choice between personal indulgence and the greater good. Probably the Heavenly Shower heads were installed in more carefree years. Probably they were then semi-disabled as a cost-saving maneuver. Probably the sign I was reading was a face-saving afterthought, spiced with a little eco-happy marketing claptrap.
Nevertheless. It’s a jarringly honest thing, this sign, if one takes the time to read it. "Refresh yourself or restore our world," is what it meant, and it may as well have said simply: “You cannot have it all.” Of course, that is precisely the last line of thought a bleary traveler, who just wants to take a damn shower, after all, wants to pursue.
Which is why this sign totally made my day.