Why can’t they can’t leave things alone?

Sign in a Game Reserve in Eswatini - that's Swaziland to you oldsters (Photo by Roger M. Kaye)

I woke up and reached for the light switch. It wasn’t there!

Every day I pull the cord hanging by my bedside but today there was a switch on the wall by the door. Never mind, I must get on with my familiar routine.

In the bathroom I reach for my toothbrush. It looks much the same as always but the simple on – off switch has been replaced by a sliding switch that doesn’t quite slide properly. However, after a few moments fiddling I manage to switch the brush on.

I go downstairs; it’s time for my morning coffee. The trip is uneventful, apart from all the new light switches, but it doesn’t take me too long to sort them out. The kitchen looks normal, much as I left it last night, then I see the kettle. It has a control panel that could probably start a nuclear war, if I had the launch codes. I look in vain for a “coffee now” button.

OK, if that’s the way things are, I have a workaround – a small saucepan and my stove’s gas rings. I fill the saucepan with cold water. That’s funny, the hot tap is on the left and the cold on the right; it used to be the other way round. I turn on the gas, half expecting to see electricity pouring out, but all is well. No changes here.

While my water is coming to the boil, I have a small battle with the coffee pot. Since I was a child, helping my mother make coffee for guests, the lid of the coffee pot always unscrewed anti-clockwise. (For the younger generation, reading this after a hard day protesting against ________  or  _________ – you can fill in the blanks, ‘anti’ is just a way of describing how the lid turns. I have nothing against clocks, wise or otherwise.) Today, the lid unscrews clockwise.

The toot from the boiling kettle jerks me awake. No, it’s not the kettle, it’s my alarm clock and I am still in bed. The light switch is in its rightful place. As I move downstairs to start my day, I realise it was just a dream, an absurd dream. Why would anyone want to change all our familiar surrounding for no particular advantage.

The kettle won’t start a nuclear war but gives me an excellent cup of coffee. As usual, I take it to the computer room to bring myself up to date. I open my e-mail and get an excited notice – We have updated your e-mail service – it announces. Yes, the screen has been changed out of all recognition. I just want to read any incoming messages but have to spend the first ten minutes finding the right buttons.

Finally back in contact with the world, I am ready to continue working on the photo album for my recent holiday. I click on the album’s icon and get a totally alien screen. Since my last use of the program, yesterday, it has been updated and “improved”. I try to add a new photo and fail miserably. Yesterday’s button has gone and I can’t find its replacement. Of course, the company has a help desk, they must be able to help, that’s what desks do in these modern times. I reach for my smart phone. To my horror, its been updated, I can’t find the phone function.

Now I have a fully-updated photo album program, but I can’t add a photo and I have a fully-updated smart phone but I can’t make a phone call.

To make me feel better, I go to my bank’s website. Perhaps the stock exchange has gone up and I am worth a fortune. But, what do I find? The web site has been updated and I can’t find my account.

Perhaps I need to be updated.

About the Author
The author has been living in Rehovot since making Aliya in 1970. A retired physicist, he divides his time between writing adventure novels, getting his sometimes unorthodox views on the world into print, and working in his garden. An enthusiastic skier and world traveler, the author has visited many countries. His first novels "Snow Job - a Len Palmer Mystery" and "Not My Job – a Second Len Palmer Mystery" are published for Amazon Kindle. The author is currently working on the third Len Palmer Mystery - "Do Your Job".
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