May 24, 2012
In case you’ve ever wondered what writers talk about between gigs at festivals, wonder no more.
Sydney Writers’ Festival – day one, hotel foyer. Two famous writers and one not-so-famous writer are waiting for the hotel lift. The call button is an illuminated ‘ʌ’ on a touch-sensitive glass panel—very hard to see and even harder to operate, as not-so-famous writer had discovered an hour earlier.
FW1: Where’s the button?
NSFW: Here. (presses button)
FW2: That does not look like a button.
NSFW: I suppose technically it’s not a button unless it can be pressed. Well, depressed.
FW1: Maybe it is depressed and that’s why it’s not working.
Hahahahahahaha (group laughter, lift opens and we pile in)
NSFW: You have to use your thumb. See? (presses level 2, doors close)
FW1: Seriously, all this Get Smart technology—why can’t a button just be a button? (FW1 leans down and presses not-a-real-button with his nose.) See, I’m pressing it. How does it know it’s my nose and not my thumb? I don’t see a sign that says ‘use thumb to press button’.
FW2: Maybe it’s not cartilage-sensitive, just bone.
FW1: Noses have bone.
NSFW: It doesn’t seem to work with your index finger, either.
FW2: Maybe Schindler thinks he has improved the button.
FW1: Not so. This is a monumental regression in the design and function of the button. I bought my wife an electric potato peeler once. State-of-the-art. Didn’t work, it left the eyes and half the skin on. Not everything can be improved by making it more pretty and less toil.
FW2: There’s no less toil in pressing a real button or this button anyway. You still have to press it.
FW1: Look. I’d have more luck if I used my arse, then I could press all the buttons at once. (presses backside to panel) See? One touch, less toil.
Hahahahahahaha (more group laughter)
NSFW: We’re stopped.
FW2: Wonder if they have lift service? I need to eat if we’re going to be here for a while.
FW1: Why aren’t we moving?
NSFW: You pressed the stop button with your nose before.
FW1: I take it all back. This button is a beautiful thing.
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