1. INT LOUNGE ROOM NIGHT
A FAMILY settles down comfortably in front of a TV. There are snacks, drinks…all ready for the night’s viewing pleasure.
You’d think in this day and age that we’d be able to just point our fingers at the screen and it would read our minds…but no, we’re dependent on the ‘old tech’ of the remote, and it’s an established fact that remotes always disappear or break. Our dog used to take ours and bury it reproachfully in the garden; an eloquent canine comment on the time humans waste watching the ‘little box of lights’.
Once you’ve finished blaming each other for the loss, the search begins; the upending of cushions, the looking down the sides of the sofa – always-hazardous vis a vis the perils of the MUCK that lives down there. When, eventually you find the remote, it’s the wrong one and belongs to some other gizmo that may or may not a) be alive, b) reside in the house, c)be in the shed.
The house is now upside tip, you’ve looked in all the likely spots, (once discovered in the freezer) but the chilling truth dawns…it’s gone. At this point, the youngsters abandon ship, but the oldsters who can recall the time when getting up to change a channel was the ‘norm’ press on, literally. Only of course, the modern TV isn’t designed for manual override, and you can spend an ungodly part the evening working that out.
Days later, when you do find the TV remote, (in the garage and run over) you rush indoors with it, tentatively tape up the innards and put in new batteries in the ardent hope that it will well…work. Its little lights flickers and die, and no amount of pointing it at the screen provides redress. Yup! You killed another one, and you know what this means don’t you? Either buy a new TV, or shell out nearly the same amount for a replacement remote. (You could try sitting peaceably round a laptop with a sullen teen.)
But there’s hope! Word on the street has it, that a ‘Universal Remote’ can be obtained at a fraction of the cost from some bloke called Dick Smith*. I make a surreptitious visit to this establishment, placing the remains of our old remote on the counter. The man behind the till gives me a knowing look.
“Bashed it to death did we?”
“It was a motor accident.”
“I’ve heard all the excuses under the sun.We get a lot of bashed remotes in here, its endemic…”
“Um..well OK, but I’d like a ‘universal remote’ please.”
“So what you want me to do Ma’am, is to give you a new, cheaper replacement, no questions asked?”
The man sucks on his disapproval, like a lozenge.
“May I suggest, If you look after your technology it looks after you? For the responsible owner, I recommend these special remote holders for your all-sorted remote needs, you see here? It comes with three-ply cushioned plastic…”
“No Thanks. I’d just like a universal remote, please.”
The man pauses, measures me up and finds a shortfall.
“Righto.” He goes to the back and passes me a generic remote, in plain packaging.
“I’ve put a card in.”
“Channel Surfers Anonymous. They give counseling.”
I pay up, slip the package into my pocket, pull up the collar of my raincoat and disappear into the night.
2010 – 2014
Rest In Pieces
*No disrespect to Dick Smith – a wonderful store!