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Paulclem

Turn on, Tune in, and Drop Off

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...as Timothy Leary almost said, yet today I just hoped that the old Auntie would be able to do just that.

The Old Auntie, who claims she is 82, had to give me her date of birth today when I was phoning up the Digital Switchover people to confirm when the engineer was coming to fit the new free Freeview digital box. (People over 75 get a free box and free fitting as the country goes completely digital). “1922” she said. I made no comment on that, but was able to confirm that the engineer would indeed be arriving between 12 and 4pm, not the 8 to 12 slot she had told me about earlier in the week. The letter had unhelpfully arrived that morning.

I informed the Old Auntie that I would pop home and return in time to greet the engineer, and be available to show her how the box works. So, instead of walking back and getting soaked, I took the bus, and an hour later I arrived home to a cooked breakfast. Super.

Later that morning, I set off with my wife to town. She was going shopping, and I was going to see an Auntie about a TV. We got a call. The engineer had arrived and was fitting the new box. It was 11.20am.

I proceeded on the 55 min journey this time, and arrived to find the engineer gone. There was a new Freeview Box sitting on the old Video Recorder that we bought her and the Old Uncle 10 years ago, but which they were never able to master. Shuffling such thoughts to the back of my mind, I had a quick go with the new controller.

So then the tutorial began.

1. Turn on the TV first.

2. Turn on the box.

3. Choose the number of the channel.

4. Enjoy.

Forty minutes later I think she was just about there. To be fair, the buttons on the new controller were a bit stiff, but she was getting it.

I have noticed frustrated colleagues on telephones trying to describe the place and times of appointments to second language speakers, and their voices rising just a semi-tone higher, as the stress clutched at their weary throats. Of course I wasn’t like that at all.

I left hoping that she would be able to turn on and tune in. (Dropping off is completely optional). I did call her this afternoon, and she said she had had it on. But then if pride makes you say you are 82, when in fact you are 89...
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