There was a time when I considered myself technology savvy. In fact, I always remember my Gran in the 80’s confusing the attributes of a portable telephone handset with the TV remote control. I’d arrive just in time to watch Coronation Street with her, to be greeted with the familiar comment, ‘you’ll have to look at the TV as it’s not working when I press the remote control again‘. I’d smile and suggest maybe if she didn’t use the telephone to operate the TV we may be in with a chance ….. she would chuckle. And repeat the same manoeuvre a few days later.
Another of her favourite mistakes was attempting to answer the phone with the TV remote control and wondering why it wouldn’t work. Even when she remembered to use the telephone handset, she’d often hold it the wrong way up and wonder why everything was so quiet. I’d be shouting down the line, ‘turn the handset the other way round, Gran‘, after which it would go silent for a few seconds before she’d come back on the line with a much clearer voice saying, ‘oh, that’s so much better‘. She left us long ago, but the memories still make me chuckle to this day …..
Only 5 years ago, I’d be able to manipulate spreadsheets, construct eye-catching presentations, and merge documents using the latest tools and techniques. These days, with each new version of Microsoft, I’m chunnering and grumbling when I can’t find the tools as they’ve been put in a more ‘user-friendly’ format. User-friendly indeed. I never thought I’d see the day when I’d start insisting they kept things the way they used to be. It’s the kids that now come to my rescue and with the click of a button, and a look from them that says, ‘that was obvious‘, I certainly feel like technology has overtaken my capabilities. Sign of the times, I guess.
Even the oven is getting in on the gig these days. Back in the UK, I had a traditional gas oven which required your physical presence to turn it on, ensure nothing was blown up during the cooking process, guarantee food wasn’t burnt to a cinder and that it had been physically turned off and the flame extinguished when finished. When we moved to Canada nearly two and a half years ago, the house we bought has a ‘modern’ electric double oven and a variety of switches that I’ve never known how to operate. Trial and error in the early days saw me working out which switch turned each of the ovens on – and I haven’t deviated from this since. I also quickly discovered that the term ‘broil’ means ‘grill’ – but there have been several occasions when my husband has attempted to cook a dish and wondered why it was burning on the top as he mistook the ‘broil’ setting for ‘bake’. Subtle reactions I’ve made like raised eyebrows, deep sighs and constructive comments of, ‘if you cooked more often maybe these mistakes wouldn’t happen‘, have been blissfully disregarded by him – probably in the psychological hope that his chores will become redundant and I’ll assume all further accountability for the use of our kitchen appliances.So it was only when a good Canadian friend of mine visited for lunch last week and quizzically asked what the various switches and buttons did on my oven, that I had to admit I had absolutely no idea. There wasn’t an instruction booklet left when we bought the house from the previous owners and (rather like being with my husband), I have stuck solidly to its’ basic capabilities – never once thinking that I’m sure there’s extra functionality that would make my life so much easier staring me straight in the face.
It was only the following morning, that I suddenly thought about my oven again (as you do). Much like Aladdin’s golden lamp, I couldn’t help but feel that today’s equivalent of technological advances and the wonders of the modern-day ‘world-wide-web’, must hold the answer to my quest. So with some degree of haste, I scribbled down the model and make, and typed it into a well-known search engine. Literally seconds later, up popped the instruction manual and the ability to download it online. I can’t believe it took me 2.5 years for even the idea to occur but like all good things, I get there in the end. To say it has changed my life would be an understatement. Whilst I still feel like a technology dinosaur, I now have an oven with tons of additional capabilities which I’ve been busily utilising ever since.
It made me wonder how many other things there are that with just a few seconds on the internet and a fresh look at whether I’m using them to their full potential, I could vastly enhance how they’re utilised? Will the same approach work on my husband, I wonder ……. 🙂