The other day I sat on my remote control. Now don’t laugh, I’m sure this has happened to you, too. Maybe you didn’t sit on the remote, but you pushed a button you didn’t mean to push and suddenly that show you’ve been waiting hours to watch has turned into fuzz.

So what did I do? The obvious. I started hitting more buttons. Source. Menu. Guide. Info. Action.  Each time I pushed a button, my buttons were pushed to the limit. Regretfully, I had to call my husband (for some reason men’s brains have a direct connection to the remote control, among other things)and he remedied the situation. Of course, not without his usual grumbles about my inabilities to learn how the remote works.

I could learn how it works, but truthfully, it’s just not something I want to wrap my brain around. There are so many more important things to think about  these days: Will I ever get that million dollars they say is needed to retire? How long can my elderly mother live on her own? Will future generations remember how to talk to each other? How to work a TV is not at the top of my list. 

It used to be so simple. On. Off. Volume. A limited number of channel choices. A knob to adjust the picture, horizontal or vertical. And of course, we had to get up to change the channel. But that exercise was good for us. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I love all these new cable choices. And  someday I may understand how streaming through Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime actually work.

But for now it’s just too confusing. The stereo is connected to the amplifier which leads to the DVD/CD player which is wired to the TV which feeds off the satellite box which is picking up signals from outer space. It’s enough to make me feel like an alien in my own home.

Which is exactly how I felt the other night.

My friend and I got together for a glass of wine and a movie. She recently had a new entertainment center installed and we were excited about watching an award winning film in the comfort of her home. Unfortunately, the TV had other plans. It wouldn’t recognize the movie and kept displaying a show via cable. 

After a few seconds of frustrated button pushing, we decided we should probably read the manual. Afterall, as young moms we had assembled Barbie play houses, toy kitchens, bicycles, you name it, we’d put it together. So how hard could these instructions be to follow?

Actually, impossible if you can’t even read them! Some time in the last few years, printing has gotten so much smaller. Minutes later, reading glasses in place, brains in Logic 101 mode, we were ready to tackle the information.

What happened to simple steps? A,B,C, Done. This manual was more confusing than the Kama Sutre, and definitley not as much fun.

After following them step by step, the words ‘No input’ flashed across the screen. Followed by ‘No data available – choose again.’I had a few choice words to input into the situation, but choice are not, the movie chose not to appear on the screen.

 “Let’s Google it,” my friend suggested. Which of course, led us on one of those “link opening chases”, taking us further from our initial question. Still, we were not women to be beaten by technology. Refilling our wine glasses, we trudged on, until finally we got the darn thing to play…in French! But at least we had the movie complete with audio and visual. And somehow switching to English only took a few minutes.

I was so relieved, I tossed the remote across the room and danced around. Dizzy with happiness, I flopped onto the couch and you guessed it, sat right on top of the remote! As the movie turned to fuzz, I turned to my friend and suggested we take our wine outside and look at the stars.

For that we didn’t need reading glasses, an instruction manual, or a remote control.

Janie Emaus believes that when the world is falling apart, we're just one laugh away from putting it together again.  She writes about how life is NOW compared to THEN, with her special blend of funny and sweet. She is the author of the time travel romance, Before the After, and the young adult novel, Mercury in Retro Love.  And she has an essay in the Best Selling humor anthology, You Have Lipstick On Your Teeth.  She is a staff writer at In The Powder Roomand blogs frequently for The Huffington Post. She is proud to be named a 2013 BlogHer Voice of the Year. To learn more about Janie visit her blog www.theboomerrants.com and her website www.JanieEmaus.com.