KITCHEN SINK DRAMA
Iam finding it increasingly difficult to turn on the television. I don’t mean that I can’t bear the relentless bad news and the laughing bankers — though I will concede that that is not helping matters — what I mean is that physically, literally, I am finding it too hard to turn on the television.
In the good old days, turning on the television involved a short walk across the room, a push on a button and then — and this is how old I am — a simple choice between the 405 and the 625 button.
Later, remote controls came in and made us fat and lazy. And because I have always presumed that technology is supposed to make life easier, I assumed that the next step would be that you’d just have to think about turning the television on and it would come to pass.
But that’s not what happened at all. In order to turn on the new television in our bedroom, you need three remote controls, two of which are almost maddeningly identical. You press a button on one, then you press a different button on the second, then you select something called HTM12, and then you hope for the best.
I don’t know what the third one is for yet, unless it exists simply to be confused with the second one. Most times, I just don’t bother turning the television on at all.
I have long suspected that technology is not my friend, but, just lately, it feels like it has started to gang up on me. Last week, a friend asked me to scan an old photograph that I’d come across and I had to admit that I’d no idea how to use the scanner.
She told me that she’d recently set two hours aside to learn how to use her own scanner and that when she turned it on, it instructed her to ‘place item to be scanned here’, and then to press ‘scan’. She didn’t think that should be beyond me, but she doesn’t know how things have been around here lately.
I cannot use our new coffee machine. I tried Skyping once and I didn’t like it because it made my head look too small. I don’t know how to upload photos from my camera to my computer and I can’t even countenance printing any. The old Twitter app I used on my phone has disappeared and I can’t figure out how to navigate the new one. Somebody
In order to turn on the new TV in our bedroom, you need three remote controls... so I just don’t bother
asked me the other day if we had Netflix and I honestly didn’t know the answer.
I do know that The Teenager and I watched Les Misérables on a television set on her birthday without having to buy it on a DVD. Was that Netflix? Or did she just sprinkle some sort of technological pixie dust over the television that made Hugh Jackman appear, as if by magic?
You know those kind of barcodey- type boxes that are appearing everywhere with an invitation to scan them on your phone? Right now, it seems more likely to me that I will cross the Grand Canyon on a tightrope than I will ever figure out how to do that, and — trust me — that really is not very likely at all.
The temptation now is just to give in. To accept that technology has passed me by and prepare for a twilight life of being utterly baffled by stuff that my kids kind indecently easy. But if I succumb to the twilight, then I might be a very long time in the dark.
And while I know I’ll never be any sort of a technical whiz, I genuinely would like to keep up with the rest of the world as it forges ahead in ever more dazzling ways. I just wish it was all a little easier.
That old photograph I mentioned — that was taken by a camera and developed in a chemist and, had we still been back there, I would have simply met up with my friend and handed it to her. To me, that was a pretty straightforward process.
Now, though, it has to be scanned and emailed to her and if I’d taken it on my camera (which I can’t actually use, if I’m being totally honest), then I would have had to upload it to my computer first. How is that progress?
Ah, I protest too much. I shall make the effort, I will stare in horror at the scanner and I’ll try to work out how new-release films are mysteriously appearing on the television.
Just as soon, that is, as I’ve figured out how to turn it on.