Thursday, July 22, 2010


WHAT DO AMERICAN FAUCETS DO I FORGET


You'd think the kitchen and bathroom faucets in our house would be more alike in their details, in view of the fact that Germany and Japan were allies during WWII.

Also on the plus side are the facts that both countries use the metric system and their faucets swivel left for HOT and right for COLD; but beyond that level of international cooperation is where the trouble begins, because when it comes to the real basic of OFF and ON, Japan and Germany are on opposite sides of the world. The J faucet (bathroom) goes down for ON and up for OFF, whereas the G faucet (kitchen) categorically rejects such unregimented folly. What do American faucets do I forget... Such culturomental gaps are common in serial expats who, in designing their own houses, can fall prey to mere design.

Also, when it comes time to replace a part on our metric G faucet you'd think it could be found in this hemisphere. If one were lacking certain scruples that hinder success in business, one could come up with a number reasons why a J/G faucet maker would find some respective way to undercome global metric and L-R system standardization so as to make their own devices most appealing to their countrymen (i.e., you have no choice), and the products of their former allies' devices less appealing (i.e., OFF is ON, and vice-versa).

On the other hand, however, whether left or right, surely the J faucets that get shipped to G don't do like they do in J, so why should the G faucets in J be totally G, when everyone here - except A's like me - goes J ON and J OFF? Is anyone minding the worldstore?

One positive aspect of all this is that if you have a J faucet in your J bathroom and a G faucet in your J kitchen, you always have to remember where you are when you want some water to flow, which keeps you alert and firmly in the now of both time and place unless you want to get drenched as you stand there. So it is that I never go into the bathroom and turn the water OFF, and always vice-versa in the kitchen, which is the way international relations should be in any case but of course they aren't, are they, just look at the faucetry for one thing, and all those international plumbers making a big mess of the world flow for all to see. They should spend some time in my kitchen and then use my bathroom, or vice-versa.

6 comments:

Entre Nous said...

With my chronic left-right confusion sounds like my sort of place....

Tabor said...

I think in America we try to by Chinese and that resolves the issue.

thesoybean said...

i think it's more or less the same, given that i don't recall having any faucet confusion in my recent trips home, as opposed to blinkers/windshield wipers, which get me every time...

Rob said...

I can't speak for the rest of the USA, but in the parts of New England I've lived, it's always been down for off, up for on, left hot, right cold. The exception that proves the rule being a few houses plumbed before the age of standardization or by a clueless home-handyman plumbed cold left, hot right. It's always down for off, though. Always.

Robert Brady said...

Rob, DOWN=OFF IS intuitive, but it would appear that 'always' has a different meaning in Japan, or at least my bathroom sink...

Robert Brady said...

Maybe I should video it for youtube...