For older people seeking challenges, I have just the place for you. When my wife and I checked in last April at a resort in South Carolina, we were told that our condo didn’t require a key. It was a keyless entry unit. Oh, good. Keyless entry for clueless people.

            We tried several times punching in the code we were given to get the door to open. After several failures, I wondered if perhaps after entering the numbers on the keypad on the door you had to say something. Maybe, “Oh, please work this time.”

            After ten minutes of futility, Irene and I returned to the reception center and inquired how the miracle of keyless entry was supposed to work. The man who had checked us in said, “Just punch in the numbers and push on the door.” It was late in the afternoon and “punch” was a word that was on my mind, but I decided to be polite.

            Back at the unit, I did what I was told to do, and, of course, it didn’t work or I wouldn’t be going on about it. I finally noticed that below the keypad was an old-fashioned lock that wiggled if you touched it. Bereft of any other ideas. I put my hand on the lock and managed to turn it after entering the code in the keypad. Victory, the door opened.

            Although I was tempted to go tell the reception center guy that he didn’t know what he was talking about, my focus was immediately elsewhere. I was busy navigating the sharp left curve in the steps that led to the main floor, lugging one suitcase at a time. We’ve had good luck with the company we rented the unit from, and our new home away from home was clean, attractive and overlooked a lagoon populated by many turtles.

            The bedrooms were on the second floor and reached after three sharp left turns. There were railings to hold on to, which we did going up or down for a week. One drawback became quickly apparent—there were no facilities on the main floor. Older people have to use the bathroom a lot, or think they do, so when we had to “go” it meant taking the stairs with the three sharp left turns.

            After breakfast the following morning, there was another discovery. The chairs at the dining table were on rollers, and if you vigorously pushed yourself away from the table you risked visiting places you hadn’t planned on, perhaps even the bottom of the stairs right next to the door with the keyless entry.

            From the above it’s obvious that Irene and I aren’t whizzes around technology, but we can read. The instructions left by the owners on the washing machine said, “Push knob at right to set cycle (3 beeps). Push again to start (1 beep). Starts in about 30 seconds.” We did laundry twice and never heard three beeps and had to push the knob four or five times before anything happened.

            While we came up short in the washing machine “beep-scapes,” the first time we used the dishwasher it wouldn’t stop beeping after it had done its job and been emptied. There would be a beep every 30 seconds or so, and we kept opening and closing the door and pushing buttons but nothing worked until something did. Who knows what the trick was?

You’re instructed to start the dishwasher before you check out. We did and the darn thing was probably still beeping when the cleaning people came in, if they could get in.

(This was originally published by the Great South Bay Magazine in the July 2018 edition.)