Thursday, May 07, 2009

Thrill Ride

Not too long ago, while dining at The Bucanneer downtown, I took The Eight Year Old to the restroom and discovered a stunning thing: the XLerator.

I thought when I bought my blender--the infamous Black & Decker CrushMaster--that I had found the most macho of non-woodworking electonic appliances. Boy was I wrong,

The XLerator is hands-down the most powerful and loudest hand dryer on the planet. Wash your hands, shake free the excess water, and punch the button on the XLerator. The bathroom is filled with the rushing roar of a fighter jet at takeoff, and your hands are blasted with an F5 tornado of hot air so powerful that the moisture is whisked away in a matter of seconds. You'll leave the restroom with ringing ears, but your hands will be real dry.

The Eight Year Old's conclusion: "That's AWESOME!"

One might say that the XLerator is to handdryers what the Hummer is to sports utility vehicles (the original Hummer, not the wussy H3)--extreme, testosterone laden, and completely over the top.

But, as it turns out, the XLerator is actually marketed as a green appliance--which explains its presence at a self-avowedly green restaurant like the Bucaneer. Not only do you avoid all those paper towels, but the one quick, massive blast of air supposedly uses less electricity than the old traditional model, which puffs warm air gently over your hands while you twist and rub them for a good sixty seconds before getting impatient and leaving the restroom with damp hands.

The electricity savings sounds plausible enough at first brush, but I bet there's one factor the manufacturers didn't consider. During our 45-minute dinner The Eight Year Old managed to come up with excuses to go back to the bathroom THREE more times. I tried telling him that it was a bathroom not a thrill ride, but the young are remakably obtuse in such matters.

So, I figure the go-greeners are now seeing a 4X increase in handdryer usage, which pretty much cancels out any energy savings. But, it was a valiant try.

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