“Where’s the remote?”
In our household, it is a question that ranks right up there with, “Have you seen my car keys?”
In this case, I knew the answer. “It is under a magazine on the end table.”
“No,” she said, “that’s not the one I’m looking for.”
“Which one are you looking for?”
“The long skinny black one with the blue numbers.”
“Look under the couch, the cat was batting something around down there.”
“No, those are your car keys.”
That saved me a question. “Try the junk drawer,” I told her.
The junk drawer is a place where everything in our house winds up sooner or later. It is where we hide the things most vital to our existence among the things that are utterly meaningless.
“It’s not there. It’s not anywhere.”
“Sorry to hear that,” I said, hoping my condolences would draw the conversation to a hasty conclusion.
No such luck.
“Find it for me,” she said.
“Because you are the electronic thingy guy.”
That explained a lot. “So what are you trying to do?”
“I want to watch a DVD.”
“Oh, for that you’ll need a remote.”
So I trudged downstairs to the basement storage room. It is where I keep a large cardboard box filled to the brim with remotes. I am fairly certain there is a long skinny black remote with blue numbers in the box. There has to be.
I am also sure that it doesn’t operate the DVD. Still, if I bring it back upstairs, I might convince her that the DVD player is dead and that we need a new one. That way I will know where the DVD remote is at least for a couple of weeks.
So I began sorting through remotes.
The box holds at least one remote for every TV we ever owned. It contained multiple remotes for every cable and satellite service we ever subscribed to. It has remotes for every brand of VCR, DVD and DVR’s we ever purchased and remotes for fireplaces in homes we no longer live in. It even holds such exotic fare as remotes for radios, ceiling fans and remote control toys.
It is all in the box.
So here is an interesting question. Why does every electronics manufacture seems to believe that we want a new, unique and utterly baffling remote control for everything we buy?
Here is a better question. Why do electronic device manufactures believe that having a big cardboard box filled with remotes – is a convenience?
It is a heck of a lot easier to get up, walk across the room and push a button than it is to spend a day searching for a remote, only to find that the cat has batted it under the couch (along with your car keys).
But the best question of all is: why aren’t the conveniences of modern life… convenient?
In that sense, remotes are like keys and passwords. One is great, five is an inconvenience but fifty will lock you out of modern civilization.
I finally found a suitable long skinny black remote with blue numbers and returned upstairs to find my wife settled comfortably on the couch watching her DVD.
“Oh, you found the remote,” I said.
“Naw,” she said, “your grand-daughter, Mattie, told me how to use the Smart Remote App on my phone. Now my phone controls everything.”
“As the electronic thingy guy, I thought you would know all about that.”