This weekend I went out to dinner with my parents and some of their friends. It was nice to catch up with my folks, as well as a few of their good friends whom I have known since childhood. We all headed out to dinner at a nice restaurant downtown and enjoyed friendly chatter over our delicious meals.
Over dinner my mom's friend Meg told a story about how her son Patrick had recently moved into his first apartment on his own after college. Meg and her husband helped Partrick to move in and get unpacked and settled. It seemed like he was doing very well by himself, and eventually Meg was able to stop worrying that he would forget to buy groceries and starve to death.
But then a couple of weeks ago, Meg and her husband got a panicked call from their son. Patrick told them that he heat was not working in his apartment, and that he had not been able to reach the landlord yet.
Not knowing what to do, Meg rushed over to her son's apartment. When she got there, he showed her the thermostat, and she watched as he pushed the buttons to no avail. The screen simply would not light up.
"Did you check the batteries?" asked Meg.
Patrick just looked at her, dumbfounded. The idea of checking the batteries had not crossed his mind, but after further investigation, it turned out that that was the problem.
To avoid this kind of panic, not to mention embarrassment on the part of her son, Meg installed a manual thermostat in place of the complicated one that Patrick's apartment used to have before. Since then, she hasn't gotten a panicked phone call about anything.