After waking up every morning and lying in bed, looking at my phone for far too long, I will finally work up the courage to get up. I reach for my nightstand and grab the light’s remote (1), slide the lights on, then change the color from magenta to white and set it to maximum brightness.
I go downstairs, grab the universal remote for the TV in the living room (2) and turn it on Take first while drinking coffee. I go back upstairs to my office and wake up my laptop with my Bluetooth trackpad (3). i will play wordenter every guess with my Bluetooth keyboard (4), and then it’s time to shower, get dressed, and get out of the house.
I live in the suburbs, so if I want to go somewhere it means driving, which means pressing the button on my key fob to unlock my car (5). I do the shopping, go back home and bring the groceries in through the garage. To open it I use the remote control (6) that is in my glove box. I put everything away, eat some lunch, procrastinate, work and procrastinate some more. When I’ve given up work for the day, I go to my bedroom and turn on the TV (7) and watch something on the Game Show Network while I style my hair. Whenever my fiancée finishes work, we gather downstairs, turn on the TV and press the PlayStation button in the center of the controller (8) and continue playing for several hours lately by Ghost of Tsushima.
In theory, the sheer number of these small devices I communicate with on a daily basis seems inefficient, even overwhelming
The story of my daily life can be told through all the remotes I use. In theory, the sheer number of these small devices I communicate with on a daily basis seems inefficient, even overwhelming. But I’ve found that using separate remotes that each serve a different purpose and don’t overlap helps remind me of the fun of living in a high-tech era.
The touchscreen has reigned supreme for many years. Life in 2023 involves a relentless use of different technology, interfaces and screens, all ostensibly designed to make your life easier. But for me they fail more often than they succeed. For example, it is impossible that the self-scan in the supermarket simplifies the shopping process. Why would my gym give me something as easy and simple as a plastic membership card when they can force me to download a crappy app instead? And while I know some people like their voice assistants, I find the ominous presence of Alexa, Siri, and the nameless Google Assistant creepy, intrusive, and more trouble than they’re worth.
The touchscreen on my iPhone is full of infinite possibilities — maybe it’s pulling me into a primo Wikipedia wormhole, but it also risks sucking me into a corner of Twitter where people are horrible to each other. There are so many variables. Meanwhile, all my wonderful little remotes are for one purpose. When I use them I know exactly what’s going to happen, which is why they are able to reliably and authentically bring joy to my stupid 21st century existence. When I pick up my light remote and change the mood of the room from cyan to magenta, I feel justifiably grateful to be alive today, in an age where I can seamlessly change the mood of my home by using a small device to change the color. change and brightness of the lights. My ancestors could never do that.
When I was a kid I never imagined my future would include a house with a backyard, the kind of normal existence where you observe garbage day every Monday and drive into town on the weekend
There are remote controls that I love, not because of the device itself, but because of the meaning behind it. I love using my garage remote and car keys (actually a remote) because it makes me feel like a real suburban adult like I saw in the movies when I was growing up in Manhattan. When I was a kid, I never imagined my future would include a house with a backyard, the kind of normie existence where you have to observe garbage day every Monday and drive into town on the weekend. Every time I hit the button to unlock my car and hear that beep, I think about how I really like the life I’ve built for myself, that things don’t always end up the way you planned, and that’s a good thing also .
The remote to my downstairs TV has the most emotional significance of the bunch for me. It’s the end result of one of my fiancé’s Rube Goldbergian projects, in which he wanted to condense the television remote, Roku remote, and HDMI switcher into one remote—a task I told him was totally unnecessary , since I obviously don’t mind having lots of different remotes. Nevertheless, he’s a certified tinkerer, determined to take on this absurdly complicated plan to turn three remotes into one, which required him to buy another universal remote that he integrated into the one we’re currently using. Sometimes when I pick up the remote I’m like, “Damn, I really love this guy.”
(For the sake of transparency, I must tell you that my remotes don’t always inspire satisfaction – for example, I hate the remote for the TCL Roku TV in my bedroom, which is unreliable and always pathetically begs me to voice it. try commands.)
I spend a lot of time thinking about how tedious and life-consuming technology can be. But the relationships I’ve developed with my remotes remind me of the benefit of living in this age of infinite devices. The world can feel scary and alienating and overwhelming. I know everything will be fine as long as I face it head-on, lit up like a thousand-armed Buddhist statue, holding a different remote control in each hand.