Resetting the time machine(s)

By Marla Boone - Contributing Columnist

Now that the shock of reverting to Daylight Saving Time has passed, it’s time to go around the house and reset the four dozen or so clocks/timers/appliances that have been an hour off for over two months (hey … I’ve been busy).

In the category of “small mercies” is the obsolescence of most (but not all) VCRs. Look up “low tech” in the dictionary and you’ll see a photo exactly like the one at the top of this column. So yes, I still have a VCR, of course, because I still have movies on VHS tapes, of course. These are oldies but goodies that are enjoyable over and over. Don’t knock oldies but goodies. An uncomfortably large percentage of the population is made up of oldies (for sure) and goodies (seriously in question).

My friends gasp/laugh/shake their heads/throw up their hands when they see my VCR. This was their exact same reaction to my ancient flip phone before I went out and bought a “new” one. Lest I cause them to faint from surprise, I bought an iPhone 6, a model now four iPhones in arrears. This is enough behind the times that they don’t think I’ve turned over a high-tech leaf. But here are two dirty little secrets. The first is, I don’t really know how to use all or even most of the features on the phone. I don’t think even Steve Jobs (may he RIP) knew how to use the all the features on an iPhone. The second is, I don’t set the time on the VCR. I therefore have some otherwise frustrating moments averted. I can put these moments in the frustration bank and cash them in the next time I’m on hold with customer service for two or three hours. If I ever do need that VCR programmed, I can call a 12-year-old who will do two things: 1. Ask what a VCR is, and 2. Make fun of my old phone.

This, unfortunately, still leaves four dozen minus one clocks to reset. Some are easy. Lots of battery-operated clocks have that little wheel on the back that adjusts the hour and minute hands. All you have to do is get the clock off the wall and back on the hook thing again. So far, we’ve done the simple ones and skipped the impossible ones. But — and there is always a but, isn’t there? — now we are faced with the microwave, the coffee maker and (cue scary music … duh duh DUH) the vehicle clocks.

To say there is a lack of standardization in clock-setting is to downplay just how many buttons there are on microwaves. The manufacturers (who must have been exposed to that electromagnetic force just a little too long) have made this unnecessarily complex. Here is how it should be: press clock, enter time, press start. That is how my microwave is. But my microwave is older than my VCR. It is probably leaking all sorts of energy pulses all over the house and surrounding area.

The new microwaves, though, employ a 24-step process during which you are required to enter the time, the day, the month, and the year. Why? Why is this? After pressing enough buttons in a precise sequence, not unlike launching a Minuteman missile, the display still doesn’t contain anything except the time. Does the maker of this appliance think we’re going to try to program it to start cooking in two days? Two months? Two years? I’m not a picky eater, but even I am unwilling to consume food that has lingered in the wave on the vague promise it will begin cooking in a month or so.

The coffee maker is worse because it wants to know not only what time it is, but also what time you want it to begin brewing its life-sustaining gift to humanity. This is just complicated enough to be screwed up.

For sheer contrariness, however, nothing beats trying to set a clock in a car. Given the model of my phone and the antiquity of my microwave, it will not be startling for you to learn I drive a car built in 2002. In an effort to be sleek and modern-looking, Honda (who makes a great car and really should know better) made the icons for clock-setting very very very nearly invisible.

I have a friend who bought a specific car in part because it has an analog clock in it. Even though it is a luxury car with a snappy interior and navigation system, she still can’t get it to brew her coffee.

By Marla Boone

Contributing Columnist

Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for the Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call.

Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for the Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call.