Thursday, January 01, 2009

Read This Before Pressing "On" Switch

Never all that keen on Christmas, for a start it usually involves instructions you are supposed to read. I never do read them which means that I spend the rest of my life knowing I am only using said item to 5% of its capacity, which is incredibly irritating. So far, I have failed to read the instructions for
*a little handheld organiser thingy which meant I couldn't ever get it set up properly. It sits half in and half out of its box on the top of my shelf a constant reproach.
*every mobile phone I ever had. These phones are apparently so clever they can make dinner for you then email a picture of it to your best friend who's on a diet just to make her feel bad. This means I am about the only person in the whole world who uses her phone to ring people rather than write messages, surf the net, take photos, record music and play video-games when stuck on trains.
*iTunes. I have just about managed to download a TV show, but it is locked in my notebook when I want it in my laptop. I have the same problem with the digital camera and getting photographs out of it and onto the computer.
*the new Wii the children got for Christmas. This could get embarassing - tonight I tried to turn it off because my sons were squabbling over it(when I say "squabbling", the big one was lying on top of the little one while the little one screamed and went purple) and I couldn't, which undermined my parental authority somewhat.
Why don't I read the instructions? Why, when I am faced with a small closely printed booklet, or even worse, a large glossy manual, do I toss it over my shoulder saying "I'm sure I'll pick it up as I go along." Of course I don't. In the same way, I don't pick up Swahili or the basic principles of electrical engineering - why would you? That's why they write the manuals - for idiots like me who need them. And I really do know that I should read them, but some boredom siren kicks in, drowns out common sense, and I think "No, life's too short even to skim these Frequently Asked Questions or this Troubleshooting section, I'll see how I get on." I hope Barak Obama is the sort of guy when he gets a new Teasmade at Christmas, takes it carefully out of the box, puts it to one side, reaches in and pulls out the manual, then reads it word for word. If he's like me, we're doomed.


Jen Black said...

Nice to see you back again! We have sons who keep sending us Christmas presents of the new technology variety. Dh has almost mastered the new digital recorder, we love the new HD channel, but have I looked at the instruction book? Once. Did I read it? Yes, and prompty forgot everything it said and starting pressing buttons. Needless to say, I got us into a black netherworld from which dh had to rescue us.

CrazyCath said...

ROTFL - we are the only TWO women who use their phones to phone some one!!
I sure hope Barak reads the instructions too. ;0)

(Popped over via Crystal. I do occasionally you know. I should bookmark you again but I forget and get distracted... Anyway. You make me laugh. Which is a good thing. So I love the blog. And well done on the book and stuff. I have been following, and for a long time [as in years not weeks], just not following as closely as I might this last few months...)

elizaboo said...

lol re the instruction manuals!! In my house of 4 teenagers, I'm often running into situations like you Wii one!! I've given up - I have no authority any more - I am only a mother - and what do they know???!!!

Pam said...

I sympathise with you wifey and agree 100%. At least you've mastered "Tinternet" at Peter Kay's grandma calls it.
Happy New Year by the way!

Braja said...

I can take photos, but a Wii? I need to confess I don't know what it is, what it looks like, or what it does. This one completely got by me. I do live in a village....

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Same here - I get distracted looking for mis-prints, which is fun, and in the end Maureen has to show me how to use the appliance.

Happy New Year from Necky Knoll House!

Dave said...

I laughed at the description of the child pile on the floor, it reminds me of what's currently happening in my living room.

Oh, I hope none of them are turning purple.

I'd better check soon because I'm not sure what colour comes after purple.

Before I go I just wanted to say that I feel the same way about manuals. I like to think they're there in case I need a clue to solve the problem!! :)


Jaywalker said...

I can help you with turning off the Wii. The button with the picture of the little house is your friend. For all other purposes leave it to the children. They instinctively know what to do with the ridiculous thing. Mine know exactly where to click or wiggle, despite neither of them knowing how to read. Marvellous.

Happy New Year!

Frankofile said...

But on the other hand I study the 'instructions' with a box of chocolates, while other half just tucks in.

Le @ third on the right said...

you are not alone .... it's a time management thing ... and I love the sense of optimism ... manual, me noooo, take the rollercoaster ride of discovery ... and with the wii - we don't have one but I assume it has a power plug - pull it out.

Happiest of new years to you dear one - le

Henry the Leaphound said...

Don't worry, I can't switch Other Half's kids Playstation 3 off either, despite being shown several times and having gone to college to study electrical engineering albeit 20 years ago when switches were either on or off.

GoneBackSouth said...

It's because instructions are so irritating. All I want is a simple life where instructions aren't needed.

Linden said...

We must be related! I've had the same instruction manual thoughts many times - I think they are written by madmen. Proudly I say that I can now dial a telephone. Usually.
Linden Swift
Plainfield, Indiana, USA

Sara said...

Happy New Year.
We have a drawer full of instruction manuals for when they are needed - except I can never find the right one. But - it makes life more interesting I say to hubby - wouldn't it be boring if we all knew how everything worked - its much more fun to press a button and have a suprise to see what happens!

Shakespeare's Housekeeper said...

Hello Wifey!
Would also like to say Happy New Year to you and yours.
I know exactly where you are coming from- me and hubby decorated DD bedroom recently, and the amount of electrical equipment a 14 year old girl has is frightening. We just looked at it all for a few minutes and then proceeded to unplug anything we could.
The decorating was a breeze...but we both had to shrug our shoulders and hand anything and everything with a plug or a charger over to her to reinstate.
Neither of us would have known where to start. I couldn't even work out whether her hair straighteners were actually just that, or some form of electronic ruler.
She got everything up and running in no time.

SH xx

The Grocer said...

Learn to skim.

Happy New Year Judith to you and family.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Happy New Year to you and the family! Long time no contact, and an' that. Sounds like you've had a technical Christmas and now have an awful lot of reading to do!

May find you buried in a manual somewhere then.

CJ xx

Rachel said...

Shoot, I can't even figure out how to sign on to leave a comment on this blog. Reading instructions...blah!

My husband needs to read this to confirm that I am not the only one who wants to skip the manuals. What's the point? They will only change the technology as soon as you practically learn it all.

womagwriter said...

But if a thing's designed properly and well, you shouldn't have to read the manual - it should all be intuitive! You should only need to refer to the manual if something goes wrong or if you want to do something out of the ordinary.

So I'd blame the designers of these gadgets you can't get to work. They're obviously crap at their job. Plug and play.

Although in the case of the Wii and other games consoles, I find my sons are far better at intuitively understanding how the thing works than I am.

John Woodman said...

Switching off a Wii:

Pull out the plug?

The Cwtch said...

Ha! Me too! I had a lovely shiny new digital APS camera for Christmas (santa was kind). I am a cake maker and I used it to take some lovely shots of a wedding cake I made on Boxing Day. How hard can this be thought I. I have an APS camera I know how to use that. I have a digital camera I know how to use that too. Fab I took the shots and delivered the cake. Wonderful. Hmm until I tried to get the pictures off the camera. I consulted the "little" (actually it's about 2 inches thick) book and discovered you have to configure the memory card before you can use it. humph. unique photo opportunity well and truly missed. I decided to learn from my lesson and read the whole book cover to cover ... I got as far as the third page of diagrams and gave up .... will I never learn?

Expat mum said...

I know what you mean about the boredom, but we have so many under-utilized gadgets in our house that it drove me to start reading the instructions. I wonder what would happen in you were married to someone like my Ball & Chain (allergic to directions and instructions). It'd be like living in the last century.

Z said...

Unplug it. Even I can do that.

Although I always insisted on joining in with children's electronic games. Then they can both hate you instead of each other. Or, just possibly, you'll all have fun.

Manuals. Hm. I read the bits I have to. Once I've tried and failed to manage without.

James Higham said...

Something wrong with your formatting, WitN. It's skewed left.

wife in the north said...

re Jaywalker; used the house button. Retained control and face. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou.(Just pulling the plug doesn't work - tried it.)

Miriam said...

Happy New Year, lovely to see you post again. You always make me laugh.I've come to the stage where I hate getting new gadgets cos of instruction manuals (and judging by previous comments, I'm not alone!), but usually can bribe 12yr old to help. In case of row, I agree with others- pull out plug and to hell with lost games.Actually, even better if they lose stuff- it'll teach them not to wreck the season of peace and goodwill! By the way, does anyone know how to re-programme a stupid dishwasher that takes 2 hours to wash the dishes, knows if you open the door to put in stuff you forgot, and adds on that time as soon as you close it. I've tried kicking it- doesn't work! nessetHope the purple has returned to pink, mimi

Sandra Montgomery said...

I remember the year one of the kids got a present for Christmas that had the dreaded booklet [don't remember what the item was]. My son was about 5 and as daddy was struggling to work the thing without reading he piped up 'Lets read the destructions, daddy.' Out of the mouth of babes.

Then there was the time we replaced our VCR - which I knew how to pre program to record something while we were gone - with a skookum new one, a Sony, that just needed the program number punched into it. The instruction booklet was obviously written by someone in Japan with limited English because right at the crucial moment in the instructions on how to input the numbers, the sentence was complete nonsense. Never did figure out how to use the bloody thing. So instructions aren't always the best way to go.

My daughter never reads them claiming she can only figure it out by trial and error. She seems to get along fine and she has a lot of techie things as she is into photography.

Jorgelina said...

Hey, if anyone is still wondering how to turn the Wii off, apparently - googled for it - you hold the power button down for about 5 senconds and light goes red, as in off. ;)
Loved the post and comments, but it killed me that nobody was posting how to turn it off, not that I have a Wii myself! :D

annie said...

The reason we have husbands and sons is so that they can turn on electrical equipment like the dvd player, sort out your mobile so it works how you want it to, get the computer working, check car tyre pressure and take out the rubbish - Isnt it? I think every electical item should be sold with a nine year old boy included.

Jaywalker said...

Yay! I am so glad. Threat of little house = power.

Margareth said...

Having just read the book 'Wife in the North' - I found it totally boring.

It took until page 179 before the beauty of the place was even
eventually mentioned and the demeaning, of w.i.t.n's still living (still visiting) mother, by speaking of old lady pooh, is ddeplorable. It would seem to me that w.i.t.n. lacks her mother's grit, that is apparent in coping with her blindness.

Instead of the focus being on the
positive: having had a good education, a successful career, with future possibilities, being able to make a living, three healthy loving children, being loved by the man she loves, parents alive, good friends and living in an extraordinarily beautiful part of the world in one's own newly refurbished home,
the focus is on self: disorganised, selfish, self absorbed whose life would be less chaotic, if less time were spent 'talking' about the chaos and more time spent in getting on with and resolving the chaos that allegedly she deplores.

Sandra Montgomery said...

Well MargaretH...

Fortunately for Wife, hardly anyone agrees with you as her book sales speak for themselves.

I am reminded of something my mother taught me at an early age.

"If you can't say something nice...."

I am sure you can fill in the rest. On second thoughts, no I am not so sure you can.