Column: Flush with modern technologyIndoor plumbing is a wonderful innovation. Like a magic spell cast by fairies and probably some Mario Brothers, it brings us fresh, cool water and hauls away things we would rather not think about.
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
Indoor plumbing is a wonderful innovation. Like a magic spell cast by fairies and probably some Mario Brothers, it brings us fresh, cool water and hauls away things we would rather not think about.
Indoor plumbing has saved us from some of the many inconveniences our ancestors had to deal with on a daily basis, things like bathing in water heated on stoves, or going to the well every time they wanted a drink, or, you know, splinters in inconvenient places when someone forgot to sand the outhouse.
Still, it seems like there are limits to just how far that innovation can take you. Consider for a moment the toilet. It’s an amazing example of human ingenuity, but once you’ve got the basic design there’s only so much you can do with it. You can make it out of nicer materials. You can make it use less water, which mostly just seems to mean you have to flush more. You could cover it with feathers, I suppose, although I’m not sure why you would want to.
Whatever you do, though, in the end it’s still a toilet.
That doesn’t stop people from trying to sell us fancier – and, of course, more expensive — commodes, though. Kohler’s Numi, for example, sells on the company’s website for just under $6,400. For that money, you get what Kohler describes as “unmatched design,” which seems to mean it looks less like a typical curvy-bowled toilet and more like one of those foam coolers you might buy at the gas station, only shinier. Although, you probably don’t want to mix them up.
You also get technology like an adjustable-height bowl to ease the sitting and standing process, a hands-free seat, sure to be popular in mixed-gender households. Also, the seat is heated. Because, why not?
The toilet comes with a touchscreen remote control, for some reason – an iPotty, maybe? I’m not sure how far away Kohler expects people to be when they use this particular toilet. Although, based on the video advertisement on the company’s site it does show a pretty cool spinning whirlpool graphic when the toilet is flushing. That has to be worth at least $75 all by itself.
The Numi comes with a built-in bidet, which extends out of the bowl when needed. I imagine that’s a useful feature if you enjoy spraying jets of water at your fanny, but watching it deploy puts me uncomfortably in mind of what I imagine an alien probe might look like.
It all seems a big excessive, but who am I to judge? Maybe there are people out there who are willing to spend an extra $6,000 or so for the pleasure of having warm air blowing on their feet while they … well, you know what they’re doing.
Still, I could accept it all and move on with another column about biking or something if not for one little detail. That detail is this: On the Kohler website the Numi is promoted with photos of it prominently displayed in a living room. A fancy living room. With lots of big windows.
Maybe it’s my Midwestern roots showing. Maybe in New York and Los Angeles living room toilets are all the rage. Maybe they’re using it as a cooler. All I know is, if I walk into someone’s living room and there’s a toilet prominently on display, I’m going to have to find another option.
Maybe they have an outhouse.