We really have raised a generation of kids that are used to the instant gratification that only today’s technology can provide.
Take my son, Taylor (please! duh dum duh)…the one-armed, (broken-handed) college freshman who somehow managed to guilt his mother just enough (hey, he’s learned from da best…) that said mother purchased the X-Box 360 (a video game system, for anyone unaware, or living on a planet far, far away), had it shipped here, went to four different places to find just the right accessories/games/configuration expulsion modules (okay, so I made that last part up) and then re-packed and shipped this oh-so-overloaded package upstate to one bored, impatient 18-year-old who claimed, “There has to be more joy in life than showering with your arm in a plastic bag”.
Yeah...he's that good. (Insert dramatic sigh here.)
So, he receives the package and he unloads the package and he sets up the wiring for the game system and he puts in the game…but he’s not sure how to connect with the other players out in 360-land. It’s approximately 11pm on a Friday night and my phone rings. This is never a good sign…unless you’ve got an understanding with some hot guy for the occasional late-night booty call.
Did I really just say that? Ahem….I just wanted to see if you were really listening.
What? Now your mind is in the gutter and you’re having trouble focusing? Well, now we have a problem…’cause I’m not talking about my children when you’re in this state of mind. Let’s see if I can help:
- Pee Wee Herman (oops...bad example)
- Mr. Rogers
- Joan Rivers first thing in the morning
Okay? All clear? Good.
So Taylor calls me to have me explain how to get the game system to recognize the college internet network. Conversation goes something like this:
Kathryn: “How the hell should I know? And do you know what time it is?”
Taylor: “Mom, I’ve been trying to play this f*#%ing game for the last 2 hours. HELP ME.”
K: “HEY. Just ‘cause you’re in college, it does not give you the right to spout random expletives. It’s probably not the game…it’s probably you’re f*#%ing internet connection. Don’t you people have an IT department up there?”
T: “Mom? I don’t have any people. I’m all alone…just me and my broken hand and this…(pauses…choosing his words carefully)…incredible game system that could temporarily help me to forget how hard it’s been to carry my books, try to open doors and explain to professors that I am, in fact, not raising my hand to ask a question…that it’s always in this position so my fingers won’t turn blue and fall off, further hindering my ability to write for the rest of my freakin' life.”
K: (Sighs) “Well played. I’m calling your brother.”
Connor (13) was spending the weekend at his dad’s and I knew he’d still be awake…and probably on his own X-Box, as well. I’d put my house phone on speaker and called Connor on my cell and put that on speaker so we could all have a lovely chat.
Kathryn: “Connor? I’ve got Taylor here. (***Crickets chirping***) Boys?? Say hello to each other, please.”
Taylor: “Hey, dork.”
Connor: “Hey, loser.”
Kathryn: “Greeeat. Connor, Taylor’s having trouble connecting to that live thing where you speak to your little friends and have that online video-game play date? Tell your brother what to do, dear.”
Kathryn: "Connor! Aw, hell. You know the speech....quit it!"
Taylor: (Laughing) “Mom, you’re not helping….c’mon!”
In the end, I had the two phones facing each other…the larger phone carrying Taylor’s gruff combination of explanations and barks to the smaller phone…which held Connor’s swift, sharp comebacks...with the occasional extra-long pause...adding insult to injury by telling Taylor, 'oh, sorry… he was distracted', as he’s playing the very same video game Taylor was attempting to access. I wound up re-booting my computer and finding my way to tech support, where we ultimately found the solution.
So, a purchase, a shipment, 4 store runs, another shipment, a setup, two phone calls and an internet search later, I proudly received my accolades in the form of a distracted “thank-you and good-bye” (not unlike the automated recording you get when you call a customer service line) and I was hastily dismissed for the remainder of the evening.
That night gave new meaning to a love/hate relationship. On so many levels….