Thursday, March 12, 2009

Seven Modern Technologies to be Developed in Spain

1.  Coat hooks. 

I have a seemingly unusual penchant for choosing to wear a coat and attempting to use public restrooms.  Because coat hooks—one of the superior inventions of Western Civilization—do not exist in Spanish bathrooms, I am required either to drape my coat across my knees, or to contrive some mechanism for storing it on the door handle, stall-wall, or handicap railing.  This inconvenience can be avoided by placing hooks of pre-determined sizes on the insides of stall-doors.

2.  Speed-walking.  

Invented by early American industrialists and the poor, over-worked immigrants that they employed, the science of speed-walking (not to be confused with the pseudo-sport Power-walking) was perfected by the Germans in the 1930’s.  How this technology never made its way south of the Alps is beyond me.  Its introduction to Spain will greatly smooth the running of business, government, and daily transportation.  It also means that I will no longer have to deal with confused middle-aged women who believe that they are taking their Sunday after-church stroll down Calle Sardenya, when in fact, they are obstructing my rush through the stuffy, unnaturally-lit metro tunnels at 9:45 on a Tuesday morning.  If I miss the L3 out of Plaza Catalunya by 1.5 seconds one more time…

3.  Pizza.  

Spaniards, and Europeans in general, seem to have confused the cheese-smeared, baked cotton t-shirts they eat with pizza.  Pizza, by nature, should be crusty, saucy, doughy, cheesy, greasy, and full of flavor.  What Spaniards call pizza is crusty, floury, and completely bereft of what anyone would call flavor, sauce or toppings.  “La Pizza mas Fina” is the slogan of one pizzeria, and the picture that accompanies it shows a chef ironing dough to make it just that much thinner.  Pizza, like power-walking (but unlike hotdogs and hamburgers, which, I am told, were not invented by Americans or the residents of Frankfurt and Hamburg, but by Frenchmen living in Switzerland--or possibly Swissmen who happened to speak French) is a truly All-American invention.  However, unlike speed-walking, the original model was indeed the best, and no further improvements or detractions need be made.  Keep pizza American!

4.  Motion-detectors on elevators.  

These—ostensibly—already exist on Spanish elevators.  However, they make the mistake of placing the motion-detectors inside the doors.  This critical error entails two further failings: one, that it is possible to be entirely within the elevator, and yet still obstruct the doors from closing by stepping in front of the still-exposed detector; and two, that if you happen to be on the other side of the door, that is, coming into the elevator, the motion detector does nothing to help you, as the door will hit you (and refuse to stop closing as it hits you) before you ever reach the motion-detector.  Motion detectors should be place synchronously within the closing doors, and, if possible, accompanied by a pressure-detector to prevent me getting crushed another time. 

5.  Tap-water.  

We’ve already been over this.  But just to re-cap: please make it taste better. 

6.  Watches.  

Or, in a more general sense, clocks.  While it is refreshing to show up fifteen-minutes late (because of that lady in the metro station) and find that the person with whom you had a meeting is still occupied and thus did not notice that you were late, it is equally as exacerbating when you arrive on time, and are required to wait twenty-minutes for your appointment to arrive.  Even worse is rushing to get to a class on time, and sitting around with nothing to do for  half an hour while you and half the class wait for the professor to show up (the other half of the class is enjoying wine and cigarettes at the bar down the street, and probably won’t bother showing up until the last ten minutes of class).

      7.  Couches.  

These, like motion-detectors, already theoretically exist in Spain.  However, they are seldom employed in their most perfect form—that is, as vehicles for nap-taking.  While the Spanish have shown amazing resilience towards the industrialization of modern lifestyles by maintaining the mid-day siesta, this two-hour break does little good if one must commute 45-minutes each way to reach home, sofa and bed.  Stragetically placing couches in University libraries would circumvent this inconvenience, and allow for heavily-fatigued students (of which there will be many more once the controversial Bolonya reforms are enforced) to pass out on surfaces at least marginally more comfortable than book-ridden desks.   




  1. I can definitely identify with your desire to introduce watches. chile was the same way, especially with one of our professors. it was always a toss up whether or not he would even be in class, and then we had to wait for x amount of time until he did show up! very aggravating when you have to take an hour long metro ride just to find out that there was no point.

    and couches. chileans had couches, but they weren't the kind that invited naps. you took a nap on marcia's couch - how was it? i avoided it as much as possible...

  2. Were you not taught to do as the Romans do when in Rome? I cannot discern whether you are being incredibly dry sarcastic humor about the American in a foreign country, or whether you really are venting.

  3. it would appear that you have picked up on my often-missed sense of irony; however, a number of the inventions (namely coat-hooks and motion detectors) are very serious concerns of mine.

    and the pizza.