Media Closet controls

Herein lies the problem.

What do you call an expensive multi-media system that is supposed to work with the push of one button but instead requires three controls per device and a closetful of equipment? I call it the temptation to swing a baseball bat. Three smart, thoughtful young men have spent so many hours installing, wiring and programming our new system that they have morphed into family members—quasi-nephews. So why oh why can’t the troublesome high tech glitches be corrected?

As people of my age go, I am more knowledgeable than average. I know that the first rule when something goes wrong with a cable box, computer, cell phone, camera, etc., is to unplug it or turn it off, then restart it. That often works. Otherwise, though I don’t understand what the root of the problem is, I’m sure it must be my fault.

There is a voodoo element to my relationship with technology that led, in the early days of Kindle, to my ordering an e-book and then standing at a window with my device open to the light, half expecting a winged book angel to show up. I didn’t know much but I had faith. The same could be said about our granddaughter, age 8. She doesn’t know the first thing about how cell signals and internets work and yet performs miracles. Recently she asked that I play “Despacito” on my car radio. I explained that I didn’t have that song in my iTunes collection so it couldn’t be done. She held out her hand: “Nana, give me your phone.” I still don’t know what she did but less than a minute passed before she and her little friend in the back seat were grooving to the song.

I keep hoping for a clear explanation as to why our three wise young men can’t perform the same miracles as an eight-year-old. As the last installer/nephew left at sundown Friday, I asked if the system was ever going to work as it was supposed to. “Oh, definitely,” was his answer. “Then why does it keep conking out?” He shrugged his shoulders and smiled the smile of a man at peace with himself and the vagaries of technology: “It’s electronic. Things happen.”



About Alexis

Alexis Rankin Popik, author of Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The Berkshire Review and Potpourri Magazine. She has penned numerous articles about local history that have been published in Connecticut Explored and the University of Connecticut School of Law and The Hartford Seminary publications. A former union organizer, Popik traveled the country educating shipyard workers about health and safety and founded a labor-management health plan before turning to writing fiction full-time. She lives with her husband in New England.
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