A local eatery near me whose interior design invokes the 1930s features a bathroom with a white steel crank-roll paper towel dispenser. When spun on its ungeared mechanism, an analogous, glorious measure of towel appears directly and immediately, as if sent from heaven.
Rolling out a proper portion of towel feels remarkable largely because that victory also seems so rare, even despite constant celebrations of technological accomplishment. The frequency with which technology works precariously has been obscured by culture’s obsession with technological progress, its religious belief in computation, and its confidence in the mastery of design. In truth, hardly anything works very well anymore.