My wife put a pot roast in the crock-pot this morning in anticipation of a get together this evening. She told me she had set the timer for 9 hours, had pressed 'Start' and that it was cooking. Even though we were running late, I would not leave until I observed the timer change from 09:00 to 08:59. Despite her protestations that she had set it up correctly, I remained skeptical of the device. We had experienced failures with these things before.
What if the clock was set, not the timer? To me, the only visible difference between a clock and a timer is that one runs forward, the other runs backwards. While trying to prove her point by repeatedly pressing the 'Start' button, I observed no visceral feedback that said "Hey! I'm starting!" other than some LCD words that I had no reason to believe weren't always there before. No beeps. No buzzes. I was almost ready to assume that the bright red light was an indication that it was cooking, but I wasn't around to observe what state would cause the light to be off. I had in mind the risk of this device failing, namely that if it failed we would not eat and our party spirits would be dampened severely. This was too great a risk to not conduct a simple 1 minute test.
Mind you, the device could still fail in innumerable ways - heating element failure, electrical outage, etc. In fact, I thought about how I would be able to confirm power at home while I'm at work. I kind of wish our house had an old school answering machine and a land line telephone. But this 1 minute test would have to suffice as we had to leave ( read: push the pot roast into production ).
Please understand that my wife, so far as I can tell, does not share air with a tyrannical overlord who seeks opportune moments to hold a kind of tester's entitlement over her head. I give her honor where honor is due and ensure that our relationship flourishes in honesty and respect; she is in no small way my Queen. It is precisely because of how highly I value our relationship that the thought of her party plans being ruined compels me to protect her from the ways that technology lulls us into a false sense of security.
As we drove to work, I thought about how this epitomizes my experience in software testing.