Technologically Sorry

Am I the only person in the United States who does not know how to turn on a television set?

I admit, I am not a heavy watcher, so I don’t get a lot of practice.  Most of what I know about television I learned from reading the newspaper.  And those articles don’t include instructions on where to find the on/off button.  I do think that television can be educational, and that’s important.  I caught part of the Summer Olympics a few months ago and learned that beach volleyball is a sport in Latvia!  I used to watch Jeopardy with my son and learned what the highest lake in the world is.  Only now I forget the name.  And Asher went off to college, so what’s the point of watching Jeopardy now?   

Last night I sat down to watch the presidential debate.  I planned to stream it over the Internet and watch on my laptop from the comfort of my living room sofa.  But when I started the stream I saw it did not include captions.  I tried a few sites and was not able to find one with captioning.  We’ve had mandatory captioning of television programs shown on televisions since the 1990s, but when television programs are shown on the Internet they still don’t need to be captioned.  Figure that one out.   

But no matter, I have a fancy-shmancy Internet TV contraption, so I took my laptop into the den and tried to watch from there.  I tried the usual set up:  plug the silver thingee into the back of the big, rectangular whatsis, stick the three cables into the computer, turn on Bluetooth, go to the television programs list, find the channel, click “watch now,” wait for the picture to appear on my laptop, close my laptop, hold my breath, recite all my favorite numbers backwards while hopping on my right foot, and hope for magic to happen. 

It didn’t. 

So I unplugged and replugged, clicked every button that appeared, checked the connections, spoke the words “watch now” (well, really, yelled them) as I clicked on watch now, and hoped that something I did would do the trick. 

It didn’t.

So I did the next thing any somewhat intelligent (more or less), college-educated, technologically savvy woman of the 21st century would do:  I called my husband. 

No luck there.

Okay, I was running out of devices.  But there was still hope.  We actually have a real TV.  Yes, a gigantic box with a big antenna on top!  And a VCR on the shelf below!  Could I get that to work before the end of the debate?  I picked up the two remote controls that go with it.  Now, remember, you don’t control the TV through the TV remote.  Everyone knows that the way to control the TV is through the VCR remote.  You have to turn the TV setting to video, and that’s what makes the television program appear.  This is the easy part.  So I did that and got – visual static. There must be a way.

Then I noticed the angry red light of the digital TV box peeking from behind the TV.  It blinked accusingly.  Sheepishly I reached over and clicked the switch.  The box lit up with a friendly blue glow.  Then the TV screen lit up with a friendly blue glow.  Then Jim Lehrer’s face lit up – well, with a pretty normal color.  The captions appeared.  The debate went on – and I caught the entire last half of it.

Do you remember the Dark Ages when you had to get out of your seat to change the channel, and there were only three shows on at a time – in black and white?  It seems our lives are so complicated now.  The devices that were supposed to make things easier have created their own set of challenges.  We expect so much from the touch of a finger.  Sometimes I think it would be nice to get away from all this technology and information flow.  Maybe up to that high lake I learned about on Jeopardy – what was the name?  Maybe I should watch again to learn more about it. 

Now, where did I put that remote? 

Copyright 2012.  Do not reproduce without permission.

© Barbara Raimondo 2015