Life Without a Remote

We don’t often think about the little conveniences that we have these days. While those of the older generation might remember, many of us tend to forget just how life used to be in the past.

A while back, that reality slammed down on me. I was visiting a friend. We were just hanging out, watching a bit of television while we chatted when his phone rang.

“Here,” he handed me the television remote. “Pick out something to watch while I take this call.”

I stared at the device once he left the room. All of those buttons. Some were to change the channels but others, I gathered, controlled other things like the DVD player and whatnot. Completely befuddled, I played with it. I ended up messing up the television for a moment, switching the channel to another device.

I quickly muted it, then figured out how to get the television back to where it had been previously. Afraid to press my luck I left it like that, completely silent.

My friend returned a few minutes later. “Why did you mute it?” he asked. “I went into the other room so you wouldn’t have to.”

“Oh, I was afraid that the noise would still bother you,” I lied. I wasn’t about to tell him the truth!

He gave me a look and started laughing. “You don’t know how to work the remote, do you?”

I shrugged, embarassed. I’ve used a computer to watch movies on for so long that the devices have outgrown my limited knowledge.

He offered to teach me but I refused. I see no point in learning how to use a device that I have no intentions of owning in the future, so why bother cluttering my mind with useless knowledge? I’ll figure it out if I ever need to…which I hopefully won’t.

Have you ever stumbled upon tech that completely befuddled you? Please share your stories in the comments below.


  • Linda Sand

    My husband has our TV set up to do so many things I have no idea how to run any of it. On 9/11 I had workers coming to my home. They asked it they could watch my TV. I turned it on but didn’t know how to get sound through the speakers. I finally realized if I turned off the mute on the TV we could get direct sound.

  • Carla

    I’ll never forget that day when my mom visited us and heard the phone ringing. Rather than answer the call, she went around the house and collected all the phones and remotes she found and brought them to me…saying in a befuddled quiet voice “You answer it….” My giggles pop up when I think of it..
    My mom didn’t know which was a phone and which was a tv/dvd remote!

    Sigh….I miss her terribly.

    • Annie

      Bwahaha! Oh, bless her! I imagine that you DO miss her a lot. I know I still miss my dad, and he’s been gone for over half of my life. Once they are gone, memories are all we have of them to cherish.