I remember when VCRs came out. It seemed that no one over the age of 27 knew how to stop the clock from flashing 12:00.
It was such a simple fix that I never understood why the adults couldn’t figure it out. Even after I showed them how to fix the clock, they still couldn’t grasp it.
The same was true for programming the thing to record Columbo, The Andy Griffith Show, or any of the other programs that grownups couldn’t live without.
I always knew that if the electricity went out, I would be summoned to reprogram the unit.
It was a small thing, but it just seemed odd.
Then, home computers came out. The people who had the money to buy them couldn’t operate them. That wasn’t true in every case, but it was true fairly often.
They wanted the technology, but either they didn’t understand it, feared it, or just flat didn’t want to learn anything new.
That last one I’m finally starting to grasp.
Not too long ago, the heating and cooling system in our home finally went out. It was pushing 20 years old, so that’s pretty good. I almost choked on the price, but hey, it’s Texas. You don’t go without air-conditioning in the Lone Star State.
Where I drew the line was the controller the guy was replacing in the hallway. He began to tell me how I could program it for a morning phase, a midday phase, an afternoon phase, a vacation phase…
Hold it. No. Just no. All I wanted was an on/off, hotter/colder, thermostat.
The older unit that was in the house when we bought it had a programmable thermostat, and I had to get someone younger than 27 to figure it out so that we wouldn’t burn up or freeze.
“But, you paid for the Turbo 9000 Climate Controller Module,” he said.
I don’t care if I paid for a Prius. I just want on/off, hotter/colder.
So, he left and came back with exactly what I asked for. Later, when the thing stopped working and the screen went blank, I found out that it runs on triple A batteries.
I can’t win for losing.
Speaking of a Prius. I own one. I owned two before this one. Granted, these cars are pretty amazing feats of engineering. They get about 50 miles to the gallon. But, why do all of the things I need as a driver have to require a degree from MIT?
After we bought the one we have now, I was told that I could program some buttons on the rearview mirror to open and close the garage door. After reading the instructions and watching a couple of videos on YouTube, I not only had not programmed the buttons to open the garage door, I had completely confused our cat, who didn’t know whether I was coming home or leaving.
I finally gave up and stuck the garage door opener back on the sun visor.
To keep up with TV technology, I replaced our old set with a new Smart TV. I quickly discovered that the TV was now the only smart thing left in the living room.
After unfurling a schematic that looked like it came from the space shuttle, I finally figured out how to get a picture on the thing. But, I was faced with an array of squares on the screen that asked me if I wanted to watch something on cable, the Internet, the DVD player, or some other source.
I added the new remote control to the pile of the other four that sit on the table between our chairs.
Music also used to be much easier. If you wanted some, you turned on a radio. Now, you have the local stations, satellite radio, Pandora, iHeart Radio, and so on, all of which can be listened to through my phone. That is, if I could remember what the passwords are to get in and turn them on.
For power outages, we bought a new generator. I used to have a smaller one on wheels that I’d drag around the house to plug in when the juice went out. It was simple. If it had gas and oil, you turned a key and on it came. You plug it in, turn it on, and your wife’s curling iron works. Simple enough, right?
The new generator is large and has its own pad. I liked that idea very much. Then the guy who sold it to us lifted a lid and started showing me how to program it.
Wait. Something else I have to program? Why do I need to program a generator? Turns out, that for maintenance purposes, they need to come on and go off by themselves once a week. Fortunately, this thing doesn’t require triple A batteries.
All of this new technology is exhausting. I’d just like to go in the house and watch Columbo and Andy Griffith.
And I will. As soon as I figure out how.
©2017 John Moore
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