Some nights, I miss simpler gadgets

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 24, 2015

When I was growing up, my dad had one of the earliest versions of the television remote.

Two kids.

Daddy, who has always watched television with a book or a crossword puzzle in hand, rarely got up to change the dial from 4 to 9 to 12. Instead, he waited.

When my brother or I appeared within calling distance, he just politely asked us to change the channel (and wait while he decided which one was best), or adjust the volume.

I recently found myself longing for one of those old, simple televisions. It was, by most people’s standards, the middle of the night. Mr. Honey was snoozing soundly. All in the world I wanted was to watch a few minutes’ replay of CNN’s recent presidential debate before I turned in.

But, no.

Mr. Honey’s smart TV was not cooperating. Ninety seconds in to my replay, the television wanted to educate me on the myriad of options I might enjoy.

Allow me to pause here and say that I’m not very good with remotes as I am rarely in charge of them at our house. That usually works fine, as television programming is mostly something that goes on in the background as I cook, have breakfast, dress for work, or do the ironing. But every now and then Mr. Honey vacates his chair and I give it a try.

On this particular night, according to the screen, my options included listening to I heart radio, watching Netflix, streaming videos from Amazon, or hulu. There were at least a dozen or so more, but no option that said, “return to cable” or “watch presidential debate.”

It was, however, highly recommended that I update the software on Mr. Honey’s television, presumably to make it even smarter.

I punched buttons on two remotes to no avail, and muttered some unladylike things in frustration. Finally, I turned the whole set-up off and back on (the solution to fixing most things electronic). But my struggle to just go back to Channel 29 was to be in vain.

I was honestly considering tossing the whole useless set-up out the back door before common sense prevailed and I just turned it off and turned in. Both the smart TV and I lived to battle another day.

Now, Lord help me, I have to replace my cracked smart phone with an even smarter smart phone. The one I have has already made me less smart – I once knew so many phone numbers, my husband never had to use a phone book. Since I programmed them into this gadget, I can barely remember my own.

I’m missing that harvest gold rotary dial in my parents’ kitchen already.

Michele Gerlach is publisher of The Star-News.