My mother, at the age of 77, has decided to enter the computer age. When I say she's decided to enter the computer age, I mean enter as in walking through the doors of technology for the very first time. She has had no previous experience with, or exposure to, cell phones, computers, smart tv's, or even DVD players.
Armed only with the knowledge that she wanted to communicate with the outside world in texted words and pictures, she set off to her local 'The Source', and purchased a cell phone, DVD player, smart tv and laptop. She said that I inspired her to engage in such an extravagant spending spree by regaling her with tales of text messages, skyping and instantly received photos.
Now that she had all the equipment, she wanted my help in setting it all up.
I don't know if I've mentioned it, but I am no technical whizz. I know the basics of what I need to know to do what I do, and not much more. Besides that, there's the fact that I live approximately 3,000 miles from where my mom lives, and so stopping over to help her out with her new equipment is out of the question.
The most I could do was tell her to call The Source, and get one of the guys to come out and show her what's what with all her new loot.
"Oh! Will they do that?", she asked.
"Of course they will, I assured her.
"Well. I guess I should give them a call. I don't know what I did with that phone book! I had it around here. I remember I looked up the number of the beauty salon last week....where did I put that thing?"
While she was lamenting the loss of her yellow pages, I googled the number.
"Never mind the phone book Mom. The number is 444-3399"
"Oh. How do you know? Do you have my phone book?" She laughed like someone does when they think they're on to you.
"No Mom. I Googled it."
"I've heard of that but it sounds like gobble-d-gook to me. Or google-d-gook."
" I know it sounds like it's a crazy made up word, but soon you'll be googling things too. Give those guys a call and they'll show you everything you need to know. It'll be great Mom! You'll have everything you want to know at your fingertips."
Flash forward a few weeks.
Mom now had her computer out of the box and sitting on the dining room table, the smart tv was plugged in and showing endless reruns of 'The Golden Girls'.
The DVD player remained in the box, at the back of her closet, because, as Mom said, "I can't figure that damn thing out!"
Best of all, I thought, the cell phone had been activated and had already sent out it's maiden text.
"E. va it is. Me. Thsnk. you eva i will phpnw tomorow."
I was thrilled that mom was expanding her horizons and I looked forward to exchanging pictures and more somewhat cryptic messages.
I knew it would make her feel closer to all of us here on the other side of the country...that is, it would have made her feel closer to us all if she could remember from day to day, how to turn the cell phone on.
Which brings us to a couple days ago.
I could hear the frustration in her voice as she explained to me that she must be stupid because she cannot for the life of her remember how to turn her cell phone on.
I assured her that she wasn't in the least stupid, and as soon as she got into the routine of using her cell phone, it would become second nature.
My first mistake was believing that this would be an easy fix.
She said, "I turned it on but it went off again right away."
I said, "Yeah, Mom, it's out of power. You have to charge it up."
She said, "So what should I do though? Should I plug it in then?"
"Yes. Mom. Plug it in."
"With that plug in thing? It plugs into the wall?"
"Yeah that one. Hook your phone up to it and plug it into the wall."
"Okay. I'll do that now."
"Okay I'll be right back. Cause I have to go into the kitchen to get it. I'm in the bedroom right now."
"Oh I see."
"I'll go now."
30 SECOND SILENCE
"Eva? Can you hear me?"
"Yes I can Mom."
"Oh good. I put you on speaker phone cause I had to put the phone on the counter. The phone I was talking on? So I could get the charger for the cell phone."
"And do you have it yet Mom?"
"Oh yeah! I'll get it!"
45 SECOND SILENCE
"Okay. It's plugged in."
"Oh awesome! Okay, now turn it on."
"Turn it on."
"Oh no! I don't think I can turn it on when it's plugged in!"
"Yes you totally can Mom."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes I'm sure Mom."
"Cause I don't want anything to happen."
"Mom! The only thing that will happen is the phone will come on and we want that to happen. So press the button."
"It's the one at the side is it?"
"Yep. That's it. Okay. You're gonna press it down until you feel the phone vibrate."
"Oh! Okay....okay I'm pressing it down."
"Good. Now. Do you see where it says Samsung on the screen?"
"No I don't see that. It did a little something then it quit."
"Okay. Mom? Is the phone still plugged in?"
"Yes it's plugged in."
"And you pressed the button at the side?"
"I'm still pressing it."
"Okay.....Mom? I'm sorry I wasn't more clear. Press it just until the phone vibrates, or buzzes, then let it go."
"Let go of the button?"
"Yes Mom. Just press it down and as soon as you feel the phone buzz....let go of the button."
"Okay I let go of the button."
"And what does it say on the screen?"
"Nothing. I think it's off."
It's hard to instruct someone on how to make a peanut butter sandwich when they have never heard of bread.