You generally never hear anything come out of my mouth such as…”Those were the
good old days..” The reason that doesn’t happen very often is simply because I
happen to like change and welcome it as we pass through our lifetimes. For the
most part I think the advances we have made in science, medicine and technology
in the past fifty years or so are just nothing short of miraculous. All of us
are living longer and better as a result of the research and innovation which
have become available today.
As I said earlier, this is generally the case.
However there are a few things that I feel should have been left alone. These
are not in any sort of order, so don’t place any special emphasis on what I start
and end with.
Coffee. In my humble opinion there are just too many
types of coffee available to us today. We have latte’s, mochas, blended, espresso,
light roast, dark roast, caffeinated and decaffeinated. On top of all of this,
we have to choose grande, super, giant, tall, supreme, small and a hundred others.
Then you have to make a decision as to what to add, whipped cream, half and half,
skim milk, whole milk or creamer. Way too many things for me to handle for something
as common as a cup of coffee. I preferred it when all you had to do was just say…”I’d
like a cup of coffee.” Then the waitress would bring you one in a ceramic cup
that you could use to warm your hands while sipping on it for the next ten or
fifteen minutes. You didn’t waste valuable conversation time trying to make up
your mind as to what you wanted to order.
Stereos. We were talking
the other day about record changers and one of my kids wanted to know what these
were. I looked at him as if he’s just dropped in from Mars or somewhere, but then
realized he’s probably never seen a machine that could change the record from
one to another. We don’t even have a record player at our house anymore even though
there is a huge stack of albums out there in the garage somewhere. We don’t have
any tapes either. I never liked them anyway, so no big deal. You couldn’t figure
out where anything was on the tape and had to listen to a bunch of junk just to
get to the song you wanted. Eight tracks were the worst. At least with a record
you could pick up the needle and set it down on whatever song you wanted. My stereo
today is a marvelous piece of machinery. I’m certain it can do a thousand things
more than just play music. There are more buttons on this thing than knobs on
a 747. You’d have to have the eyesight of an owl just to read the print on them.
I’m amazed they can get letters printed this tiny. I want simple knobs such as
on-off, volume, bass, treble and balance. Everything else is totally unnecessary
and wasted on me. What do I need ‘fade’ for or ‘random’? Random, what?
Thermostat. The instruction booklet for the thermostat in my house is over
sixty pages. This is way more thermostat than I want or need. I knew I was in
trouble when I read the opening description which said….”Combining the brains
of a computer and the simplicity of a garage door opener….” I want a plain old
thermostat that has a lever that moves to the right for warmer and to the left
for cooler. The top has a little scale on it printed with large number that I
can read that shows a larger number running off to the right and smaller numbers
to the left. Simple. You want the place to be warmer? Move the lever to a larger
number. You want to get cooler, then move it down. You don’t want anything? Then
you simply move another lever into the off position. How easy can this be? This
is what I want. My current model has a table of contents that runs for two pages.
It can tell me the temperature outside, which I don’t need since I have a thermometer
on my bathroom window. This allows me to see what’s happening outside and thus
I know what kind of clothes to wear. I don’t need some device in the hallway downstairs
to help me out, thank you very much. I don’t need a ‘programmable daily schedule’
since my schedule changes every day. It might be cold when I leave in the morning
and hot when I get back home. I need a thermostat that just sits there and waits
for me to tell it what to do, not try to guess what I’ll want. It may be wrong.
I’ve lived all of my life without controlling the humidity inside my house. Why
do I want to start now?
Those are three of my pet peeves, I’m sure there’s
more but then I’ve run out of room again. I will admit I do like the new DVD models
better than the old VCR’s. On the one I’ve got, the clock sets itself automatically,
so I’m not stuck on midnight like I was for so many years.
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From North America - January
25 , 2005 column