There’s a television in the breakfast room where I work. During training, my coworker told me he keeps it tuned to the morning news. He had it on the station that plays Good Morning America, but on the second day of my training he flipped the channel to the New Mexico CBS affiliate. I never changed the station. I like the CBS Mornings program that comes on after the local news, and I like The Drew Barrymore Show on in the background while I clean up after breakfast
I keep the volume turned up pretty loud so old people (like me) can hear it from across the room. No one has ever complained about the volume, although I did once come back into the breakfast room to find someone had lowered it substantially while I was gone.
The hotel had gotten really busy again. February had been really slow, but in mid March, lots of people were staying at the hotel. I think families were visiting and traveling through because of Spring Break. In any case, I’d been hustling to keep the coffee flowing and the steam table stacked with eggs and sausage.
I’d left the breakfast room to boil eggs. I boil eggs on a hotplate in the dish room which is in a building separate from the hotel. When I returned to the breakfast room, there were maybe half a dozen people eating or preparing their plates.
I was at the sink washing my hands when I heard the volume of the television decreasing. My back was to the TV, so I had to turn around to see what was going on. An older man was standing next to the wall-mounted television, messing with the controls on its side. I figured the sound was too loud for him, and we could all just live with a lower volume until he left. I suppose I could have told him to leave the volume alone, but since one of my goals at work is to engage in as little conflict as possible, I didn’t say anything.
The fellow continued to mess with the controls and the picture disappeared and was replace by the “snow” TV screens show when there is no signal. What was this guy doing?
Noise, commonly known as static, white noise or static noise, in displayed devices, VHS tapes, analog video, radio and television, is a random dot pixel or snow pattern of static displayed when no transmission signal or being weak is obtained by the antenna receiver of television sets, flat screen televisions, radio televisions, smart televisions, CRT television sets, VHS sets and other display devices. The random pixel pattern is superimposed on the picture or the television screen, being visible as a random flicker of “dots”, “wavy vertical lines” or “snow”, is the result of electronic noise and radiated electromagnetic noise accidentally picked up by the antenna like air, cable, TV or CATV. Thttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noise_(video)
Can I help you sir? I called from across the room.
I was trying to change the channel, he answered gruffly.
The nerve! The audacity! Didn’t he know this is my breakfast room? I control the TV here. But what could I really say to a guest who took it upon himself to change the channel? I was committed to no conflict, remember.
What came out of my mouth was, Well, all you got now is snow.
Snow is better than what was on before, he retorted.
Unfortunately I was not paying attention to what was on the television before the man became so offended that he had to take matters into his own hands. I wonder what CBS Mornings was showing that was so upsetting to him. The ongoing invasion of Ukraine? The first trial of Capitol rioters? The “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida?
I just left the snow on the screen. I decided I had better things to do with my energy than fight an elderly man about television programming. If he didn’t want to see the news, he could look at the peaceful, silent static pattern.
The breakfast room was very, very quiet with no sound coming from the television. The other guests barely spoke. When they did talk, it was in hushed tones. The old man who’d tried to change the channel sat alone, so he talked to no one.
The channel changer stayed in the room for another 10 or maybe 15 minutes. He didn’t seem to be in a hurry to finish his meal.
When the elderly man left the breakfast room, I went to the television to get the news back. No matter what buttons I pushed on the TV or its remote control, I couldn’t get the screen to change. We were stuck in the snow! Sometimes the screen showed “analog 3” in the upper left hand corner, but I didn’t know what that meant. I didn’t know how to fix the problem. This was probably a job for Gary, the nice, calm, quiet man who was working the hotel desk. I had yet to present Gary with a problem he couldn’t solve.
Gary pushed a button on the side of the TV near the buttons the guest had pushed hoping to change the channel. A few different options appeared on the television screen, and Gary navigated through them. Soon we were back to CBS Mornings. Gary saved the day!
I learned later–on a Tuesday morning after finding someone had set the TV to Disney Junior and everyone in the breakfast room was subjected to several hours of shows starring Goofy–that the channel button on the side of the television does not work. Touch that button like the antagonist in this story did, and you’ll end up with nothing but snow. The only way to change the channel is with the remote control, and to use it, you have to walk right up to the TV and point it at the back of the monitor. You now know the secret, but please don’t tell the guests. I want to be the only one who changes the channel.