Saturday, March 29, 2008

Buckle Up

Today is the long-anticipated day that Ken and I will take my mom to buy a computer. We're picking her up at 9 am to make sure that we can get a parking spot at Yorkdale Mall, and be the first customers in the computer store. We want to make this easy on her, because she's not exactly comfortable with computers, and I know she's probably going to be freaked out.

Ken will drive slowly when she's in the car. People who aren't used to driving with him get nervous when he drives at his usual speed.

I've learned, when he warns me that he's going to make a U-turn, to jam my elbow into the door (in anticipation of the centrifugal force of the U) and to hold my head back against the head-rest (so that when he gets aligned with his new lane and puts the pedal to the metal, my head doesn't snap back as the rest of me accelerates). He used to squeal the tires a lot, but then he got Pirelli's. Pirelli's aren't squealers. Maybe it's got something to do with being Italian, and the influence of the mafia on that culture. You know what happens to squealers in the mafia...

We've decided that it's best for my mom to get a Mac. It'll be a lot less hassle and maintenance than a PC. And most importantly, none of her well-meaning friends and relatives know anything about Macs, so they won't "just have a little look-see" and "install an upgrade" that screws everything up.

My step-dad was constantly the victim of "helpers" who were fixated on tinkering with his PC. They were like "Oh, you should download this utility that you don't even understand, because I have a compulsion to mess with your system" and then as soon as they were done with the "upgrade" they'd bugger off and his computer would crash out. He spent hours on the phone with help desks trying to repair the damage. The same goofballs would be back next week with a new gimmick, and before he knew it, they were typing away, files were downloading, and the cycle began anew.

My mom's too polite to fend off these wanna-be geeks. Getting a Mac is the best and maybe the only defense.

The only down-side to this decision is that I'm the only one who will be able to teach her how to use this computer. She barely knows the PC well enough to send e-mail. Word documents are completely beyond her. I'm in for a long haul of one-on-one tutoring. I'll be praying for patience. If you pray, please put in a good word for me on this matter. I'll need all the help that I can get.

18 comments:

R.E.H. said...

You're in for a long ride tutoring... I gave my old computer to my mother 5 years ago... and she still calls as soon as she attempts something new... or something she hasn't done on it for a while.

Just the other day, she mentioned to me that she's forgotten how to send e-mails...

Warped Mind of Ron said...

LOL, I would pray to Bill Gates for you, but you said you are getting a Mac... hmmmm. Best of luck on the tutoring, it's really funny how older people can make the simplest thing on a computer sound like rocket science.

whatigotsofar said...

Good luck. I still regularly have to do many things for my Mother's computer because she can't do them herself. In fact, I'm running her machine right now, getting some upgrades and downloads and whatnot.

jameil1922 said...

giiiiiiirl. i'll pray for real!!

Claire said...

Mafia tyres? Made me giggle immensely!

Cxx

Keera Ann Fox said...

I'm happy Word documents are beyond your mother. Too many PC-users will send a photo by first putting it in a Word document, then e-mailing that. Makes me wish they didn't know about Word.

But it is probably a moot point. You're getting her a Mac. YAY!!!

Leighann said...

I remember trying to teach my mother how to use her computer. She got so annoyed and frustrated that she cancelled her internet and started coming back to me when she needs something typed up!

Good luck!

Sparkling Red said...

R.E.H.: Yeah, I kind of figured that this will be an ongoing process. But forgetting how to send e-mail? Yikes. At least my mom is going to have to use her computer regularly for volunteer work, so she shouldn't have the opportunity to forget the basic skills once she gets going.

Ron: When my grandmother first used a computer in her 80's, she got stuck part-way through writing her first e-mail. She reached the end of the line, and didn't know what to do, because she was used to hitting the carriage return on her typewriter. She had to call my dad for help. Now she laughs at how clueless she was.

Whatigotsofar: As long as my mom feeds me when I go over there, I will consider myself well-rewarded. She's an excellent cook, and I'm a hungry gal! I'd much rather fuss around on the computer than in the kitchen.

Jameil: Thanks! I knew you would. ;-)

Claire: I'm glad that you enjoy my flights of fancy. :-)

Keera: She's going to have a .mac e-mail account, so she can e-mail her pics right out of iphoto. If she starts pasting them into Word (if by some miracle she figured out how to do that on her own), then I'll make sure to correct her sternly. ;-)

Leighann: Ooooo, that's rough! I would not take kindly to being my mom's personal transcriptionist, no matter how many delicious soups and meatloafs she offered to make me. She and I both have to have faith that she can do this!

Karen said...

I just said a quick prayer for you.

1218Blog said...

Yeah Mac!!! You are already starting out on a positive. It will be must easier to tutor your mom on a Mac than a PC.

Oh no...I'm not bias.;)

PixieVonAzia said...

My brother is one of those "here try and download this it'll work better"

How exciting for you mom to own her own computer. Pretty soon your going to have to pry her off of it since it can get a bit addictive :D

Jenski said...

Aren't there fewer (or no) viruses out there that attack Macs too? I always worry about people who are uncomfortable with computers clicking on the spam email links and pop-up windows.

I hope the shopping went well! Good luck with the training.

Sparkling Red said...

Karen: Thanks! :-)

1218blog: You may not be biased, but I totally am. ;-) There's nothing more frustrating than trying to give telephone support to a computer novice who doesn't even know how to describe to you what the error message says or what they were doing when it popped up. I don't believe that I've ever had an error message on my Mac, so that shouldn't be a problem!

PIxie Von Azia: Yes, once she gets used to using the internet, she won't want to be without it. She's a retired librarian and therefore an information junkie. Once she sees what she can do, like get the New York Times newspaper online for free, there'll be no stopping her.

Jenski: I think there may be one or two Mac viruses floating around, but nothing like the mess that PC's can get into. I guess if you're going to pay twice as much for a Mac, you respect your computer enough that you don't want to write code to sabotage it.

Maxie said...

Good idea bout the mac. You wouldn't believe how many times I've had to fix a PC b/c someone installed a random update. Not fun.

unsigned said...

Sounds like Ken drives like a maniac. You should get rid of him before you get killed in a car crash!

Nicole said...

Wrong address here for the patience thing, but hey, better giving her Mac lessons than giving her windows lessons AND repairing the Computer ;)

Tink said...

Tutoring noobs on computers sucks. My Grandparents have owned a computer for two years now and I still have to go over there once a month to help them. The last "problem" was that the mouse wouldn't work. I figured out on the phone that it had gotten unplugged, but I could not get them to understand how to fix it. So I ended up driving out an hour just to plug in a cord. *Eye roll*

Sparkling Red said...

Maxie: I really don't get how some people never learn. No matter how many times they get burned from downloading new or suspicious files, they still think that the next one is going to be great.

Unsigned: It's better to crash and burn than to quietly fade away.

Nicole: If anything should go wrong with the Mac (and it better not!) then we'll just take it back to the store and let the resident Genius (that is the actual job title) fix it.

Tink: Oh my. That's frustrating! Just last week one of my colleagues was complaining that her printer wouldn't work. She said she checked the wire and it was plugged in. I took a look just to be sure, and as it turns out, the printer was plugged into its power source but the data cable had come detatched. It was news to her that there should be TWO cables coming out of the printer...