There was once a book (it may have been “Good to Great”) that suggested you should eliminate the peripheral opponents in your life. Presumably, peripheral opponents would be those things standing in the gap between you and where you wish to be or go.
Each morning, Elizabeth turns them on and each evening around the moment when every member of the family has reached the peak of their fatigue, it is time for the lamps to be turned off.
For the sake of a hypothetical example, I will probably be the first to let others know I have become too tired to finish this final chore of the day. It’s kind of that last pass through the house checking the locks on the doors and giving things a once-over so you know you can close your eyes and be done with the day.
Of course, later the same evening you may need a drink of water only to find all the doors that were secured just hours before are now unlocked and the lights are on everywhere in the house. This usually happens from a common thing known as a late teen. Late teens are confused about the continuums time, space and money.
My electrical advisor Toby Simpson suggested the way to deal with the lamp situation was relatively simple. There is a technology called X10 that has modules that you plug your lamps into.
Then once all the lamps are equipped with the modules, you can use a device similar to the one you may unlock your car with to press a button and, voila, the lamps are all turned off at once. Press the button again and, you guessed it, they are all on.
Repeating this process over and over again will possibly irritate your family members and confuse your dog, so it may be best to do this when you are making your midnight water run. Nevertheless, it kind of makes you feel like you’re “sticking it to the man.”
Peripheral opponent eliminated.
As if the X10 was not enough, while Toby was at the house it was my good fortune to get him to install my new Nest thermostat. The problem the Nest may have solved is the dilemma of the playroom air conditioner. The room is used daily but only for a limited period of time.
You know the age-old question of if a tree falls in the forest but no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Well, if a room is cooled while no one is in it … well you can figure out who makes the sound.
Thus another peripheral opponent. If I do a fly-by and realize the air or heat has been blowing all day on nothing, it brings a moment of teeth gnashing and angst. Yes, I am one of those people whose parents said, “Turn the lights off or the light bill will go through the roof!”
The Nest people must have heard my groaning because they made a thermostat that connects to your Wi-Fi network and, by using artificial intelligence, figures out your usage patterns to make your stuff work at peak levels.
Better yet, since the device is on the Wi-Fi network, I can download their App and, yes, control the settings on the thermostat from my cellphone or laptop computer. Putting such power in the hands of mere mortals is an awesome thing indeed. You may even pause and wonder if it is how 007 feels when Q is giving him his array of gadgets.
The other night at a dinner party populated with several gadget junkies, I did something very crass. When a pause in the conversation occurred, I took my phone out of my pocket and looked at my wife and announced loudly I couldn’t believe she had left the thermostat on a particular setting and I guessed I would have to adjust it right then and there. The junkies paid heed and I was even called a name or two.
It really shouldn’t be right to get this much joy out of one life.
The B.U.N.S. book club will meet next Sunday at 3 p.m. at Barnes & Noble to discuss Churchill and Mitford. If you’ve been thinking about joining, our next two books should be great. They are Love Does and Blue Like Jazz. Come join us.