As we grow older, life seems to become more complicated. The tests at school are harder; navigating through university is more intricate. Then the pressures of work set in, bringing their own set of complications and of course our relationships get more complicated. With so much happening, some things need to remain less uncomplicated. Things like switching on the kettle.
My mother bought a new kettle. It’s silver with a black handle and it’s a rather oddly shaped. All this is irrelevant of course because the point is… I couldn’t switch it on. It took me ten minutes to work out how to switch it on. There was no switch. I plugged in, I lifted it up, put it back down, turned it around and around but still no joy. There was no switch.
I noticed the box and saw the accompanying manual sticking out, daring me to take it for a spin. But I knew right then that there was no way I could read that manual because… IT’S A KETTLE! All kettles are switched on the same way- on or under or next to the handle. That’s how you switch on a kettle!
Then it occurred to me. This is a 21st century kettle not to mention its peculiar shape. I wouldn’t be surprised if it uses different commencement mechanisms. In my mind, I’m thinking maybe it’s like those fancy taps at the hotel that you tap to switch on.
“Wow ma, good buy!”
So I tap the Kettle.
I try a couple more times.
I tap the handle. I tap the sides. I tap the lip.
I’m all for new ideas and technology but please, can we leave the basics intact? I don’t want to look for the switch on the kettle. I want it to stick out and be evident. Just like it has always been….
I discarded this exercise in favour of the old kettle. Battered but not broken. At which point, my mother finally comes in and turns on the space kettle, using a slim lever camouflaged at the base of the kettle.
“Goodness, ma. Could you find a more complicated kettle?”
She smiles and responds: “It’s not complicated…It’s just different”.