An Open Letter to My DirecTV Remote’s Low Battery Notice on Our One-Year Anniversary

Dear DirecTV low-battery notice,

I can’t believe it’s been a year already since you came into my life. We’ve been at this for a long time; longer than anyone believed was possible. Back in 2014, you arrived in a flash:

“The batteries in your remote are low. Replace immediately.”

The prognosis wasn’t good, and hope was hard to come by. ‘Replace immediately’ hit me in the face like a no-parking sign I didn’t see until I came back to my ticketed car. Immediacy was never something I associated with TV. Television was supposed to be a safe space to just slow down and veg out. With your simple note, it had become a task. An immediate task. I wasn’t ready to deal with the sudden change and decided to sleep on it. I slept on it in part to clear my head and in equal part because I couldn’t find any more batteries. I had a couple triple-A’s, but those don’t count.

When I woke up in the morning, you were still there. Waiting for me in anticipation. You served me the same notice, but now it seemed to come with a different tone. ‘Replace immediately’ started to feel like a wink and a nod came along with it. You were daring me to give it another day or three. It’s like you weren’t actually warning me of anything—you were sending me on an adventure.

Fast-forward 12 months, and here you still are. But I’m not naïve. I know you’re not the result of some miracle: one day’s worth of battery lasting the figurative eight days and nights. Our time together is running out. The playfulness of your message is disappearing into sincerity. I’ve been trying to hide the moments when I have to press a button two or three times to switch channels. But I know you see it. Of course you see it, it’s the only job you have. And you know there are times when I think I’ve lost you, only to give my remote a tap on the back and a firm shake, ensuring you’ll be back for one more day.

But just like it is for any of us, you’re not guaranteed tomorrow. I didn’t want to have to tell you this way, but I decided to buy some new batteries. They’ve been passing the time in my junk drawer for almost a week now. I’m not giving up on you, but I am preparing myself. One day soon I’ll press power and you won’t appear on the television screen. Nothing will. Just as you flashed into my life that one day, you’ll flash right back out. The silence as I try to figure out which direction the batteries go into the remote will be deafening. You will be missed, but not yet. Let’s live it up in our last moments together. Thanks for the low-battery notice, but I think I’ll be switching back in forth between the game and Brooklyn Nine-Nine tonight. Yolo. 


Chris Todd

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