It sounds like the start of a bad joke, right? “So my mom finally got a smart phone and…” – ok, so this is kind of a joke, but only because my mom is so adorably cute and naive. I wrote recently about how I bought my mom a smart phone for Valentine’s Day. She needed to have me work with her to set it up and explain it, and of course my dad was jealous.
So now both my parents have smart phones and a new contract, and my dad has a fancier smart phone than I do, which seems wrong somehow. They’re happy, however, though they’re definitely still learning about their phones. On Friday, my mom asked me to help her some more with her phone.
We chose a new ringtone because she wasn’t able to hear when her phone was ringing. That was an easy fix. Well, it was an easy fix once we actually got her signed into her Google account. Actually, we had to create one because though she had her username and password written down, she apparently never actually created an account. “Oh, I must have gotten scared and back out before I actually created it.”
That should have been my clue, right? We downloaded the Comcast app so she could check her email, and I handed her the phone so she could type in her password (since you never share your password with anyone, even family). She looked at me blankly, and I explained we needed her password. She had no idea what it was (which seems so unfair because Comcast constantly logs me out and makes me sign back in, but apparently she is able to stay signed in), and – worse – she didn’t quite understand why she’d need it to get access to her email.
Next up was working on her address book. She mentioned that she had a few people in there twice, so we went through person by person, which was where most of the humor came in.
So many of the people in her address book were just one name, either first or last, and it wasn’t consistent. And yes, some things were misspelled “because do you know how hard it is to type in those little keys?” I stifled a giggle and set to work.
Mom, what is Joyce’s last name?
Joyce? Ummm, I don’t know. Where do I know a Joyce from? Who might Joyce be? What is the phone number?
It took much cajoling, but I finally convinced her that if she doesn’t know who a person is, can’t figure out the connection, and doesn’t know when or why she put them in her address book, it’s ok to delete them. If she ever meets that person again, she can ask for the information and – this time – put it in properly so she won’t forget. And by convince, I mean I unilaterally deleted them. But I think I know a Jennifer….
I also explained to her that her fancy new phone has a voice recognition feature so she can simply say “Call Mercy Hospital” and it will automatically dial the number, which mean she can delete the nursing homes and hospitals and rehab centers that she sometimes needs to call when friends or relatives are there. It never failed that every time we ran into one of these in her address book, she would come back with but what if I need to call the hospital?
As we added a “Schlossburger” as the last name to once of her friends, I asked if she was German. No, she’s Jewish. Because apparently they are mutually exclusive?
I noticed that there was a second Forsberg in her address book – we had added the last name to Clara earlier, and now Forsberg was just by itself. Is this the same person as the earlier one? “No this is Brian Forsberg,” my mom explained. Ahhhh. So is Brian Clara’s husband? “No,” my mom replied, “that’s her son.” I looked at her blankly. “Well, if something happens to her at bridge, I need to call him to let him know.” Oh. Ok. And then we had to add Forsberg to a Maureen when we got to the “M”s. I sighed and turned to her. “Umm, that’s Clara’s daughter. If I can’t get ahold of Brian, I need to call her to let her know.” I shook my head. Can’t you just use her phone to call them? “No, she doesn’t have one.” Of course. Because when you play bridge now, the other players might be of a generation that not only doesn’t have a smart phone, they have no cell phone at all.
My all time favorite question, however, came as we were finishing cleaning up her address book. She’s headed to visit some friends this week, and I’m a little jealous that she got to escape the cold of Chicago. She was worried, however. “Will this work in Alabama?”