I'm not your bitch, don't hang your shit on me.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Pushing my buttons

Whenever there is a new gadget or electrical doodad in the house, I am always the one who is given the instruction manual (or Bible, depending on the complexity of the item), and told to read it – mi padre is too busy to read, being the “man of the house,” and all.

Inevitably, I become the one people come to when they have questions on what works and what doesn't.

But, even though there are some things in my parents' house that have been here for years, some people think they know how to use them only because they’ve been around for so long.

Like the VCR.


My father asks me to record something for him because he isn't home. Fine. I program his show in a few seconds. Because the VCR is connected to a television set that is connected to several satellite receivers (my father loves to watch sports), he checks the cable lines to make sure it would record from the correct receiver.

Everything is fine until it is time to watch the recorded program.

My father doesn't realize the number of steps required in order to watch the show I taped for him. Not only do you have to rewind the tape, but you have to change the switch at the back of the television, press the TV/video button on the television remote, turn off one satellite receiver, and press the TV/video button on the VCR remote.

While he sits on the couch, waiting for the tape to rewind, I notice that he didn’t press the TV/video button on the VCR (which is probably the most important button, next to play, that allows you to watch the show). I reach across the coffee table to grab the remote, but he takes it before my fingers wrap around the matte grey and black plastic.

“I need to press a button,” I say, pointing to the remote.

“What do you think you’re doing?” my father replies, looking at me with a strange expression on his face.

His hand grabs onto the remote for dear life. He who controls the remote, controls the world.

God, don’t worry," I roll my eyes. "I just have to press a button, or you can’t watch the show.” I open my palm.

“Don’t you think I know how to work this?” my father’s voice raises a few octaves. “This VCR has been in this house for years…”

“I know. But you still have to press that button to see the show–“ he cuts me off.

“This is my house and I can do what I want. Don’t you think you can boss me around. This is my house and these are my things,” he fumes.

“Yeah?” I ask, raising my voice. “Well, if these are your things, you should learn how to use them." I point to the remote and the TV. "Last time you didn’t even program the VCR correctly and you ended up cutting off the ending of your soap opera.” I emphasize these last two words and let them sink in because my father thinks soap operas are for women, although he watches several a day.

“Just because you’re young you think you know everything. You don’t know anything. I’m older than you and you have a lot more life experience…”

“Whatever,” I mumble, turn around and walk out of the room. “You may have more life experience," I point to him, "but you still don’t know how to work the damn VCR.” I wave my finger towards the tape recorder.

If he had read the instruction manual, he would’ve had a point. Unfortunately, since he didn’t even read the cover, his argument is weak.

It doesn’t matter, anyway.

He has to call me back to press that stupid button, knowing that even though he holds the remote, I hold the power.


Blogger Steven said...

Ok, I should state that I am not (always) that mean to my father, but he's very stubborn in never wanting to read any instruction manuals (even for his car).

The day I'm not within calling distance, is the day every electronic appliance in the house stops working.

August 04, 2006 10:03 am  
Blogger Kevin said...

You just like pushing people's buttons, that's all.

August 04, 2006 11:41 am  
Blogger tornwordo said...

Some people are too smart for manuals. We just don't tape anything anymore it's such a cumbersome affair.

August 04, 2006 11:55 am  
Blogger Steven said...

Six: Yes. Yes, I do.

Torn: I'll bet if you wanted to tape your soap operas, you'd be calling me, too!


Manuals are good, especially when assembling IKEA furniture (now that's a challenge!).

August 04, 2006 12:00 pm  
Blogger savante said...

God, I'm terrified of manuals! Even IKEA manuals give me the shivers.


August 06, 2006 9:32 am  

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