It starts with turning on the television in the living room. Things have changed a lot since that first eighteen inch diagonal with the limited function remote control. When I push the "power" button on this new machine, a message appears on the screen: "Please Wait..." I do remember a time when there was such a thing as "warming up" your home entertainment system. This was when it consisted of a bunch of glass tubes that needed time for the electricity to flow through them all. That was back when electricity was thicker and ran more like maple syrup. Or something like that.
But that doesn't really explain why my TV is currently asking me to wait while I sit there waiting anxiously for the potpourri of digital entertainment that awaits just after that very polite assertion. A few seconds of staring at a blank screen would be okay. I don't think that I would panic unless those few seconds stretched out to half a minute or more. Then there is the matter of the ellipses, those three dots that come right after the request for my patience...Like we had some sort of enduring relationship that I should be able to refer to as I await the inevitable return of my broadcasting day. It might just as well ask me to "Have a little patience, huh?" But that wouldn't be very nice, would it? Somebody at the television factory put that little chip in that made me think that I had some mild choice about how long it took for the picture to appear on the screen. If I were to ask nicely, maybe not every time, but if I were to throw in my own "please," it might get me to that Simpsons episode just a little quicker. Or not.
Add to this video conundrum my relationship with the Wii Fit trainer. She's very good, and since I've been working with her for many months, she has been very encouraging. That wasn't always the case. It took me some time to work up to the point where this computer generated figure wouldn't chide me for the swaying or leaning or moving in something other than the instructed way. That doesn't mean that there aren't moments when our relationship is less than smooth. Like when I miss a day, and the machine asks, "Too busy to work out yesterday, eh?" Thanks for the reminder, but "eh?" It's those two little letters that are the ingratiating ones. I'm sure that's the syllable that is supposed to make it okay that a video game is chiding me on my priorities. Oh please.