Let’s give crime a month off and talk about life and its absurdities for a change.
My mother is coming up on her 89th birthday and, fortunately, she remains very independent and lives alone in a nice senior community. She has lots of friends, goes out, drives and watches old movies on television.
She is a cancer survivor, something that directly affects her attitude on life, which is, in the words of singer Bobby McFerrin, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”
Like most seniors her age, she struggles with the ever-changing technology, specifically cellphones and smart devices. Last year, my siblings and I bought her a smart TV along with a subscription to Netflix because she loves to watch movies. We went over the remote-control procedures, how to pull up and select movies and how to move back and forth in the various TV menus.
That was around the time her old phone was on its last leg so she purchased a newer model smartphone so she could look at her Facebook page and photos. Again, we had a tutorial on how to use the phone, what to avoid and so on.
When I visit, I notice that she defers to the old movie channels on regular TV. She admitted that she forgets the process of pulling up apps like Netflix, so my next step was to write the process down in the spiral notebook that she keeps next to her recliner. She told me later that she simply prefers the older movie channels, which is fine because I like them too, but I make sure she remembers my notes, just in case.
She enjoys Facebook so she can comment on photos posted by my kids or neighbors and those who want us to know what they had for dinner.
Recently, she began texting. She’s getting better, but occasionally I’ll get a text consisting of the letter “V” or a word that even Google cannot comprehend. Assuming she hasn’t been kidnapped and is secretly texting for help, badly, I overlook it.
Once she’d gotten used to the random text messages and my calls to her to confirm that she was okay, she upped her game by sending accidental photos, one of which still sends me to therapy.
I’ll never forget it. It was early in the morning when I was getting dressed to go out. As I exited the shower, my cellphone pinged. Curious to see which child was asking for money, I checked the phone, revealing a closeup photo of my mother’s left nostril, taken from her lap, facing upward and horribly zoomed in. It looks like an upside-down picture of a cave somewhere in the desert.
It was not a flattering picture, in fact, it was disturbing, but my therapist said that over time, the image will fade from my memory. I don’t think so.
From time to time, she sends wonderful photos, including her knee, the carpet, the dog’s left paw and her chin. Sometimes I return the text with a photo of one of my toes to remind her to be mindful of accidental photos.
The point is that technology can be intimidating for those us who never figured out how to set the clock on our VCRs. Still, we can adapt and, frankly, it’s a good feeling to accomplish a technical challenge occasionally.
Now that I have the router in place, next week I’m going to try and figure out what all those buttons are on the remote.