Since well over 200 years, the Founding Fathers of my nation made it clear that there were certain unalienable rights that everyone should be entitled to. Yeah, right. I must remind you that back then the “everyone” meant a white, male, adult landowner. I would have qualified but only thanks to the fact that I am in fact the proprietor of half a parking space. Thankfully today we have come to extend it to what is really understood as everyone, at least in theory.
Anyway, these rights were the following: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. I had survived the operation, so I could check off the first one; I couldn’t quite say I was completely free to roam anywhere I wanted, but that was temporary. The last issue, though, was slightly more complicated because that afternoon, the only goal I had in mind which would fulfill my need for satisfaction was the right to watch the French Open and, let me add this slight complication, not have to pay for it.
Given the spaciousness of the room with all of its comfort, given the above-standard furnishings, and the sense of exclusivity, it came as a immense surprise to me to learn that if I wanted to do something as fundamental in our society as watch a little TV, that was going to cost me. That was why the remote was no where to be found. It was downstairs at the reception desk kept under lock and key and guarded by two mastiffs.
To retrieve it, one has to amble down there and cough up a 50€ deposit for the channel changer, of which only forty will be returned as payment for use. That’s right 50€. Now, maybe it is just me, but I was under the impression that in the year 2011, certain services in the Western World have become so basic that there is absolutely no need to charge for them; and, by God, television was one of them. Who charges for the use of a TV these days? I guess in some public hospitals I could see this sort of thing happening, but in a private one, what’s the deal there? A big one, in fact. Where could they justify this kind of cost? And if it were absolutely necessary, couldn’t they just hide it somewhere in the general cost of the room?
And what about the 50€? I guess that remote-control stealing must be rampant here because the 40€ deposit was a clear message to the patient. I vocalized all sorts of protests and pronounced all kinds of manifestos about the injustices at hand, and vowed to lead next year’s May Day demosntrations, but once the gadget was in my hand, the tube clicked on and the orange clay surface of the court covered the screen, I settled down and sighed, blissfully removing any ire and dispatching it deep into the back of my brain. The revolutionary demon inside of me can be so easily appeased.