Exile is more than a geographical concept. You can be an exile in your homeland, in your own house, in a room. (Mahmoud Darwish)
I had envisioned a post entitled, Exile in a Foreign Land, to describe the experience of being a guest in the home of an adult child. Before you conjure up images of me travelling abroad or ending up locked in the guest room, let me explain.
My general approach to life is that the worlds inhabited by other generations, both older and younger, represent something akin to a foreign land. And being away from the lake for an extended period, regardless of where I am, always has the feeling of exile. That’s just me.
On the other hand, consider this. A modern household in the city has any number of schedules, routines and appliances that can easily trip up a person such as I – dishwasher, stove, washer and dryer – all come with unique ways of operation. Even the ways people dispose of their garbage is unique to where they live. Thank the powers that be my granddaughters survived the years of having to be strapped into various devices. Had I been in charge of the complicated process of getting a child into a car seat, I’m not sure what may have occurred.
But all these challenges have nothing on the complications that ensue when I am left in charge of the TV remote. On prior visits this situation usually occurred when the kids asked me to put on a certain program and I could not manage the request even if they had roasted my toes over the gas range. Lately, at the ripe, old ages of four and seven, they manage on their own.
For the record, let me state that I am a highly educated individual – twelve years of school, a bachelor’s degree, a year of specialization after my degree, time in the workforce and several subsequent years of graduate work. There is no justification for my continual failure to master the handling of the TV remote when staying as a guest in my daughter’s home. I have had my excuses. After all, we aren’t talking about the simple turn-the-TV-on-and-off situation that I mastered in my early twenties. TV’s today are multiple use platforms. The options are legion – cable TV channels, shows taped on the PVR, programming available on-demand, X-box games, Netflix choices. Each requiring what seems to me to be a complex set of unique, TV remote actions.
For 2016, I have resolved to conquer the demon remote. My accomplishments over the past two weeks are impressive, if I don’t say so myself. I can now properly turn on and off the TV without randomly hitting buttons that end up shutting down all devices and ensuring that turning anything back on will be impossible for me. I can access the list of PVR choices, I can check out on-demand options and best of all – wait for it folks – I can access and use Netflix. This requires manipulating no less than two devices – the remote and the X-box controller.
Not that I have a ton of time or inclination to watch TV, but oh what a world has opened up to me when I do. More than any of that is the sheer sense of accomplishment.
For my next foray into foreign land, I might just figure out how to use my granddaughter’s iPad. The sky is the limit.