Reader, I am not sure how old you are, and I am not telling you my age. Being vain, I refuse to say it aloud. Being a lady, I refuse to answer the question of my years when so impolitely asked. However, I will admit that I remember life without TV remote controls.
Remotes originally were expensive, after they were actually available to consumers.
I was little, very little, building my earliest memories when my father brought home a television with a remote. Being the young, military couple that they were, my parents reveled in the thought of having a TV for the house, eschewing hand-me-down entertainment appliances from friends. No more massive televisions with small knobs labeled 2 through 13. No more waiting for a screen to warm up before viewing. And this new TV had a remote.
I am not sure entirely sure if that new tv for the house was actually new, but certainly its remote was new to me.
This remote was hefty, rectangular, and quite 1980s. About 6 inches long and 3 inches high, the remote boasted five buttons: on/off, channel up, channel down, volume up, volume down. It was an older television set, after all. Sometimes we forget how much form has changed with function.
The remote made sounds when the buttons were pressed, one sound for depression and one sound as the button snapped back up into its place. My parents and I giggled as the box mechanically exclaimed “choocka-choocka” with each channel change. Eventually, the three of us starting calling the remote control by its new name: choocka-choocka.
“Hey Colleen, have you seen the choocka choocka?”
“Wow, car commercials are always so loud. Please turn down the choocka-choocka.”
The nostalgia that arises from memories of my family’s use of onomatopoeia is quaint and comfortable, but I should return to my main point: losing a remote will change your life. While replacing a houseful of carpet this summer, I tossed my bedroom tv remote in a box in the scurry of clearing the room. For about the next few weeks, I was still clearing out the house of former treasures and unnecessary gems, adding to the disorganization of household items. They say it is darkest before the dawn, don’t they?
In the meantime, I had no remote. No dozing through channel changing to best match volume and interest as I fall asleep. Where could my little friend be? I felt, in a way, abandoned by a household appliance that was no longer pulling its weight and pitching in for the balance of the house. Honestly, America, I cannot remember a more frustrating and uncomfortable time in my life, especially as it just seemed to drag on. Somehow I never seemed to remember my lost remote until I was struggling to keep my eyes open and collapse into bed. However, nothing will wake me up faster than an unlit bedroom that hosts sounds of only my breath, HVAC vents, and the ghosts. Silence in a big, scary house creeps me out.
I think again, “Ugh, need to find that blasted thing tomorrow.” Rinse and repeat. Shuffle to the tv to flip from perma-news to history channel/infomercials.
Fortunately, I mustered the madness enough to find it (sitting in a box in the closet of one of my guest rooms). I am able to sleep better again, thank goodness. Lesson learned.