Friday, October 24, 2008

Does This Seem Odd To You?

I can’t work any of the media equipment in our house, either upstairs or down, without access to three manuals, four remotes, my conversation hat, and six beers.

Not one single piece of equipment operates according to its instructions. There are ancillary little boxes and switches on shelves nearby the equipment, lights flashing and beeps beeping, and the DVD player in our bedroom doesn’t work for more than half an hour without a portable fan trained on it. (I discovered this by accident, but you don’t even want to hear that story.)

In short, I am married to an engineer. Wherever he is, there is a dusting of wire bits and the faint sulfuric whiff of metal solder in the air, prompting visitors to query, “Been boiling eggs?” No, just waiting for that ferry to Hell.

Along with the fact that I am married to an engineer comes the additional fact that I am married to an engineer who appears to be incapable of accurately taping the correct episode of anything. We begin to watch the tape of The Mentalist, only to find that we are watching a grainy Hudson Selectmen meeting from 2006, or even better, the belly dancing class on local cable. This class isn’t even campy, let me tell you, somebody paid somebody off to get this on the air.

So today, after (literally) 30 years of this, I asked him, “Do you think this is acceptable?”

“What? I wrote out the instructions and stuck them to the bookcase.”

“Rich, YOU YOURSELF can’t manage this equipment without your calculator and your Boy Scout compass!”

“You just have to read my instructions! I spent a lot of time making those instructions for you.”

[Here is a sampling from the instructions: "Video selector IS on unless Sony TV says Video 1, otherwise will say 'not connected'. VCR = 3, Video 2/LD also may say 'not connected'.]

I feel like that man named Charlie who is still riding the subway through Boston. You can just hand me a sandwich once in awhile. I’ll be trying to find the input for the red jack, or is it the black one that needs the yellow hole? Oh, well . . . . see you sometime . . . .

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