Advent of the Shower Nazis?

The capital of Arkansas is the city of Little Rock, strategically located in our state. It is the most populous city in the state and acquired its name (from the French “le Petit Rocher“) when an early-seventeenth century explorer made landing during his river explorations near a small rock formation along the Arkansas River.

FROM:  http://tiny.cc/jgvrvx The Old State House

FROM: http://tiny.cc/jgvrvx
The Old State House

Arkansas state government is located in Little Rock as well as numerous historical sites and attractions including the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Center (home to President Clinton’s records and memorabilia). It’s a beautiful city with a colorful history and a vibrant southern community where hospitality is exceptional and no one’s a stranger.

I actually live closer to Little Flock, Arkansas than Little Rock, Arkansas, with the former town being hidden in the northwest corner of the state, while the latter is a shiny gem at the State’s geographic center. Since I needed to attend a meeting in Little Rock today, we traveled there yesterday afternoon. It’s a fairly easy journey thanks to the Interstate Highways and even though it was a rainy day (for the most part) all the plants and grass are beginning to green up, so I found myself gratefully contemplating Spring!

Photo from our hotel

Photo from our hotel looking out on the Arkansas River

When we checked into our hotel on the riverfront, I did what comes naturally … flipping on the television in the room. The first story to capture my attention was news of a move by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue $15,000 in grant monies to the University of Tulsa to monitor “how much time hotel guests spend in the shower.

Excuse me? Put the towel down, ma’am, and step away from that bathtub!

According to reports, the idea behind this EPA grant is to monitor hotel guest usage of water in order to modify their behavior. If the Tulsa school can develop a wireless device that measures water consumption during a shower, this device has the potential to be installed in every hotel room in order to encourage hotel guests to conserve water by being made aware of how much water they’re using.

Sketch of bridge outside the hotel

Sketch of bridge outside the hotel

When I check into a hotel, the very last thing I want to do is be cognizant of my water usage. After collecting layers of road dust for four to six hours (depending on where I’ve come from), I hand over my credit card with the express intention of luxuriating in a steaming hot shower.

That’s part of the implied contract:  I pay the hotel for the room and in turn, the hotel provides the hot water and a comfortable bed for me. I can go cheap … and possibly have the water suddenly turn cold after three minutes – or I can pony up additional funds for a better room in hopes I’ll have ten or twelve minutes (or more) of relaxation and peace after being cooped up in a vehicle.

After I heard this story on a news program, I found out a bit more information. Apparently, the EPA has come forward to explain the water monitoring is part of a student design competition, not actually a project spearheaded by the EPA. I accept their explanation at face value. My one concern, though, is these kinds of studies frequently take on a life of their own.

Tonight we were watching the Soup Nazi segment from Seinfeld. (Our grandson hadn’t ever viewed the episode.) Maybe it’s not the closest analogy to monitoring hotel guest water consumption, but the notion of an EPA regulation addressing personal showering habits chills me to the bone … kind of like taking a cold shower.

Renée