Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Is There A Way To Google How To Google?

My mother – god love her – is AWFUL when it comes the computer.

She’s on the computer all day for work, but it’s a special program designed for her job. And she’s a whiz when it comes to that.

But when it comes to email and internet? Forget it.

She wants to learn, but she just doesn’t have the patience.

And, to be honest, neither do I.

I guess I just figured if you’re over the age of 30 you simply just taught yourself all about the internet.

Computers weren’t around when I was in college, I still remember typing out papers on my Brother Word Processor. It wasn’t until my senior year that I even remember hearing the term “email” for the first time. One of our friends was dating a girl who was away for the semester studying abroad. I worked in the Writing Lab (epitome of coolness, I know), which housed one of the few computers on campus (read: oversized, heavy boxes bigger than your television with an army green screen and C prompt).

So he would come into the Writing Lab to send an email to her in Australia. He would type a few words and hit SEND. Then we would chat to pass the time before he received an email back. It took forever. One time they were fighting and it lasted 3 days.

So about 6 months ago I sent my mother a link to photos I had uploaded to Kodak. Now this was a double whammy: she had to access the internet via an email.

Number of phone calls this warranted: 4

It was during phone call #3 that I thought we made some progress. She had found a picture that she liked and flagged it to purchase at a later date. She had to go upstairs and measure the frame, because she wasn’t sure what size she needed.
(Yes, it would have been wise to know the size photo she needed before beginning. Yes, she could have just left the computer to run upstairs and measure the frame. No, I don’t ask why.)

So here we are, 3 months later (no joke) and phone call #4.

MOM: “I’m trying to pull that picture up in Kodak and I can’t log in. I’m trying to use your email to log in. Your email is Why isn’t it working?”

ME: “Because that’s not my email address.”

MOM: “Yes, it is.”


MOM: “I’m looking right at the email you sent me. It says to use this email – – your email – to log in.”

ME: “Um, it definitely does NOT say that, because THAT is not my email address.”

I tell Mom my email address.

MOM: “Oh. Let me try that.”

Finally mom gets into Kodak (harder than breaking into the government’s computer system apparently) and is trying to describe to me what she’s seeing.

Now, if you’ve ever tried walking someone through something on the computer over the phone, you can sympathize with my frustration.

Twenty more minutes and mom is NOT able to pull up the photo that she wants to order.

Finally, we hang up. I pour another glass of wine.

Today, I receive this email from my mother and almost fell off my chair laughing:

"I found the picture that I needed. I guess I'm not as computer illiterate as I thought.

Talk to you soon,

(Please take note that the entire second half of this email is italicized. For no reason.)

((Also be aware – as this is not shown – that she spelled my name wrong))

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