Here’s my theory on parents and technology: their exaggerated ignorance of how anything with a battery or cord functions is pure revenge for all those years they spent having to teach us stupid crap like tying our shoes and going potty in the toilet instead of our pants.
So now when we get frustrated with their weak grasp on technology, we can’t say anything because as easy as it is to send an email or add a contact to your cell phone, we’re still the idiots who couldn’t figure out how to not go in our pants.
My dad isn’t too bad, probably because men have larger brains than women, but my mom is confounded (at least initially) by every piece of technology she comes in contact with. The one that kills me, though, is the entertainment system in my parents’ basement. There is one remote for the TV screen and one for the audio. The power buttons on both remotes have to be pressed and after five years, my mom still won’t watch “that damn TV down there” because of the complexity of the procedure.
Given her aversion to those tricky remote controls, imagine the pain I go through when explaining ebay and email and ebanking.
Last year my mom called me and without even saying “hello” or “when are you going to give me some grandbabies?” said, “Quick! How do I send an email?!”
“Whoa,” I said. “First of all, do you have a computer handy?”
“Yes, I’ve got one right here and I’ve got the internet pulled up.”
“Okay, that’s great. Now. Do you have an email address or account already set up?”
“I think so. How do I find out?”
It took some patience on my part, but we got her squared away and she is now emailing on a regular basis. However, last weekend I asked her to send me a link to a website she wanted me to look at.
“What? A link? How do I do that?”
“Just copy and paste it!”
“Whaaaat?! Is that complicated? It sounds complicated. I don’t think I can do that.”
“Just highlight the web address at the top of the screen, press control-C, put your cursor in the big white box where you type your email messages, press control-V, and you’re done. That’s all there is to it.”
“Wait wait wait! I need to get a piece of paper. Okay, now what was that first part?”
About an hour later I got a text message (thankfully my sister handles all the cell phone lessons) saying, “I think I did it!!”
I shouldn’t complain too much, though. My mom is leap years ahead of many of my friends’ parents, some of whom downright break down when faced with a self checkout line or electronic voting booth. And in retrospect, it’s kind of cute and gives me funny stories for my blog so I digress. Besides, I’m still the kid who struggled to differentiate right from left well into the sixth grade.