Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Geriatric Obsessions

My dad just came out of the Stone Age and bought himself a new PC. He went from an operating system of Windows 98 to Vista.

I think I may have to kill myself.

See, I’m “tech support” for Dad. 99.9% of the time. If I’m not around, he’ll call my brother…which can get expensive since he lives in France.

Whoever said “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” never met my father. Not that he’s old, mind you….but he’s older than me. And he still insists on taking my arm when we cross the street and requests that I only make right-hand turns when out driving, as they’re evidently infinitely safer...albiet a pain in the you-know-what.

He’s called me maybe a dozen times in the last week. This is after he’d arrived on my doorstep last week with his entire system…complete with tower, keyboard, mouse and 22” high-def monitor. I guess he figured “if I’m gonna upgrade, I may as well go cray-zee.”

I’d set him up all the good stuff: Word, Excel, Powerpoint, iTunes, Limewire. I changed his screensaver to match mine…the one with those neon ribbons (hence the name “Ribbons”) and told his computer to stop giving him such a hard time and connect to the internet, already.

I changed his default search engine to Google and told him that if he’s very, very good, I’ll help him personalize his homepage and maybe even put my favorite blug (hint, hint) on as an RSS feed. (Yes, be impressed…the stuff I know, I know well. It’s the rest of the crap out there that worries me…) I then showed him YouTube and the wild, completely dizzying array of choices available through Google video, web and blog.

Then, I sent him packing. Literally.

All was quiet for about, oh…a day... and then the phone rings:

Dad: “Kathy? How’s my favorite daughter?”

K: “Hi, Dad. What’s wrong?”

Dad: “What makes-a you think-a there’s-a anything-a wrong?”

(He always breaks into the Italian accent when he’s overwhelmed. Ironic, since he’s from this country. I believe he feels it lends an air of vulnerability to him and I’ll feel sorry for him and help him out.)

K: (Patiently) “Okaaay. What’s up, Dad?”

Dad: “Well, I put Firefox on my computer and now I can’t watch any videos. I found a great clip of Sammy Davis Jr. and another one with Andy Williams…”

K: “Why would you activate Firefox? I had you all set up…”

Dad: “Well, I spoke to your brother….”

K: “Oh, crap. What, I wasn’t immediately available…so you called Rob?”

Dad: (Chagrined) “Maybe….He said it’s better….has more security or something. I forget now.”

K: (Sighs) “Okay. I’ll talk you through changing it back…but don’t mess with it again. Understood?”

Dad: “Uh-huh. Just give me back my Sammy.”

30 minutes later, he was back in YouTubeLand and he was happy.

My friend Margarete recently returned from a trip to Florida to celebrate her Grandmother-in-law’s 100th birthday. She’d told me during our last Sephora-run that the last time they’d visited, Grandma was obsessed with a 98-year-old fellow female resident whom she believed had stolen several strawberries off her plate. What concerned everyone involved was that this (supposed) theft, by Grandma’s own account, had taken place years earlier. Evidently, Grandma felt somewhat strongly about her strawberries…(and further holds one hell of a grudge)…and made several rather LOUD threats to push her fellow resident down the stairs for her bygone infraction. Since Grandma’s using some sort of alternative transportation (think wheelchair), her family didn’t know whether to be more or less concerned about this.

I waited with breath that was bated (God, I just love that expression…don’t I??) for Margarete to return with her report on the festivities. Here are excerpts from her email:

Okay-next day was the big 100th. Poor thing… she wasn’t sure who she was but knew she was loved and looked at all her kids, grandkids, great grandkids and a few strays who were just in it for the cake….and said, “I am not sure who you all are, but I love you very much” and blew kisses to everyone, waving to all those unfamiliar faces staring back at her….. sad but nice all the same. One thing positive though, she forgot about the b!tch who stole the strawberries but was giving this woman at the next table the evil eye through her cataract-eyes. So I causally left a few fresh strawberries next to the 98-year old to see if it would stir any emotions out of Grandma…to no avail…..had to find my fun by telling my 4 year nephew that it was ok to throw the rolls in the basket to his 3 year old cousin sitting in at the table in the far corner.

Hey-a girl’s gotta have some fun…

I couldn’t agree more.

Susan f said...

Oh man, I wish I could get my MIL involved in computers. You're so lucky that your dad will. It really opens up his world.

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