A personal “Black Box” would be helpful

Fitbits tally exercise buffs’ 10,000 daily steps, calories burned, hours of sleep, blood pressure, and pulse rate. Cops wear camcorders in case of ensuing court arguments. Dementia patients with a penchant for wandering off can be outfitted with sneakers that have GPS trackers built into their soles. Even planes, trains and buses are manufactured with black boxes that survive horrific disasters to steer transportation investigators to what went wrong.

Yet no one has designed a wearable “black box” to analyze seniors’ movements and locate the TV remote.

At least twice in the past week alone, I’d have welcomed such a device.

The first time was Tuesday when I got a call at 9:38 a.m. from a guest I was expecting for lunch. She asked for a favour; I was happy to say yes.

She wanted a ride from a tire shop after dropping off her truck which urgently needed repair. She gave me the name of the tire shop.

I had finished baking a pan of buns, but a pan of chocolate chip cookies needed three more minutes in the oven. Then I would be free to leave. I estimated I could arrive at the tire shop in half an hour. If she arrived first, she would wait for me.

Our plan was simple. Foolproof really, if I had paid more attention to the address. Because a family member had worked at the shop on Keith Avenue, that’s where I headed.

In years past I would have written notes as she spoke, but this time I didn’t. Who needed notes for such a simple mission? Little did I realize Terrace has at least four tire shops.

In no time the cookies were cooling on the breadboard, I was out the gate and on my way to town.

Upon arrival at my choice of shop, she wasn’t there yet, nor was there any sign of her truck. The office had no such name on their list of scheduled repair jobs.

I was allowed to use their office phone to call another shop, but they, too, had no such truck on site or booked for work.

About then I was asked to move my truck which was blocking shop traffic; I hadn’t expected a delay. I had wasted 20 minutes.

I couldn’t see any pay phones, and I don’t carry a cell phone. I asked a smoker strolling the parking lot if he had a cell phone I could borrow. He turned out to be as “off the grid” as I am.

Just then the office attendant ran up to tell me the young lady I was waiting for was across town at the tire shop near the ambulance depot.

Today I slipped a pan of buns in the oven, turned on the temperature to 375 degrees… or so I thought. But 40 minutes later the buns were anemic, without a hint of tan. Was my oven broken, refusing to heat? Was I about to pay for an oven repair? Or had I set too low a temperature, perhaps groggy from the time change that morning. Since I had turned off the oven, I had no way of telling what temperature I had used.

I re-set the oven to 375 degrees and placed an independent thermometer beside the pan of buns. In ten minutes the buns had browned nicely. Clearly I had goofed when I chose the original temperature setting. A black box would have confirmed it.

A pencilled address would have sent me to the correct tire shop.

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