I don’t mind the rain in Panama. When it rains the temperature remains warm unlike at home where the temperature drops to the single digits Celsius most of the time. And rain on a Sunday doesn’t really bother me either. It’s a time to get caught up on reading, napping and watching television. The problem comes in the latter activity; watching television.
Eugene Polley and Zenith engineer, invented the “Flashmatic” the first wireless television remote in 1955. The Flashmatic worked with four photocells, one in each corner of the television screen. A directional flashlight activated the four control functions, turning the picture and sound on and off and the channel tuner dial clockwise and counter-clockwise. The Flashmatic had problems on sunny days because the sunlight sometimes changed the channels at random.
I don’t watch a lot of television although I do like the occasional binge day of movies. The problem with watching television on a rainy day is that usually SU likes to do the same thing. And I really have a dislike for watching television with him. Why? Because he has an itchy trigger finger and a short attention span. He sits on the couch bouncing back and forth between two or three or five different television programs and it drives me insane. If I can get myself settled in watching something before he discovers that’s what I’m doing, it’s not a problem. But if I get up to go to the bathroom it’s almost like ceding “command and control” to that little black box. Ugh!
I’ve been fortunate that most evenings we agree on at least one television show; the BBC version of Top Gear. Admittedly we are a few years behind the times, but that doesn’t matter. When the channel surfing begins it’s time for me to retire elsewhere and do some reading. And when he puts on a not so great show like he did yesterday (Domestic Disturbance) and walks out of the room it really ticks me off. I’d rather have the television off than have what I call “brain clutter” on the boob tube. Once I point out what he’s doing he’ll settle in to one program but it doesn’t take long for the surfing to begin again.
The remote situation bothered me so much yesterday that I thought that maybe I would do a bit of research on the problem. Turns out men have to have “command and control” over the remote, view multiple programs at one time and use the remote control during commercial breaks. And guess what? Men dominate use of the remote control! That one is not news to me! Yeah, I get that.
I found an article on etiquette with the remote control that I found pretty interesting. This is reprinted from the good old BBC News website it’s a little dated but here goes:
10 tips on remote control etiquette
New research suggests men are still hogging the television remote control – 41% of men and 30% of women claim to rule the sofa entertainment, says a poll by Intel. We asked some etiquette experts what the rules are on button-hogging.
1. The first rule of politeness is “No Quick Changes”. The remote-controller who speeds through a hundred channels without even one breathless pause in one minute has committed a social crime, worthy of being remote-deprived for the rest of the of the social hour. People should be allowed to at least know what programme is being rejected by the controller. (Letitia Baldrige, author and lecturer on manners)
2. Do not hide the remote control when you are going to the bathroom. This overt power play is sure to offend your female companion. (Mr Manners of Tomorrow’s News)
3. It’s only when women are widowed that they discover there’s such a thing as a remote control and they find all kinds of things that are on television, like musicals as well as westerns. If you can’t agree with your partner what to watch, then split up immediately because it can’t be resolved. (Lynne Truss, author of bestseller Eats, Shoots and Leaves and about to tackle the subject of manners)
4. If there’s someone in the room who is about to appear on the television himself or herself- a performer, politician, quiz show contestant or felon caught in the act by police – they get priority. (Letitia Baldrige, author and lecturer on manners)
5. Buy two televisions or do without the man. No woman who can squeeze into a pair of trousers should be with a man who hogs the remote. It’s emotional violence and mental cruelty. It means your life is not under your control. I don’t want to control a man but neither do I want to be controlled. (Writer and broadcaster Marcelle D’Argy Smith)
6. Men present in the TV room may well lobby for a girly-girly show, such as a big bosoms contest, but their choices may be rejected simply by the numerical strength of the women present. Democracy is a human right which overshadows an individual’s right to watch beauty pageants. (Letitia Baldrige)
7. When you do share the remote, remember this is a risky strategy, because you’ve got to be prepared for those times when the other person actually does take control. The upside is that this approach puts a stop to any arguing.(Peter Post, author of Essential Manners for Men: What to Do, When to Do It and Why)
8. Sports-mad viewers should be given their own TV set – in an out-of-the-way place in the house, such as the kitchen or a bathroom – where they can remain undisturbed and undisturbing to others while watching the game. (Letitia Baldrige)
9. People on diets should be allowed to veto the watching of cooking shows. (Letitia Baldrige)
10. Agree with each other and say “let’s look through what’s on”. The problem with that is the man usually just goes ahead anyway. (Lynne Truss)
I don’t think that getting two televisions is the solution; I barely care for the one that is in the house now. “Command and control” has been a chronic problem in our household and like they say “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”; I’m just glad that I have many other things that I can do and that those lazy, rainy Sundays don’t last forever.