Thursday, August 23, 2007

Senior Citizens and Technology

The world of technology has wreaked havoc on my poor parents. They’ve gone from rotary telephones, to cordless phones, touch dial with an answering machine attached. Voice mail would be another challenge to tackle and we’re just not there yet. On a previous post, I’ve mentioned how my mother would call me up and ask if I could bring her my “blacktop”.

What ma?”
“Bring the blacktop over.”
“What do you mean?”
“I need to look up a certain product for the pool and none of the stores have it.”
“Oh, you mean my laptop!”

Fine. I bring over my laptop and she makes this comment that I shouldn’t meet people on that “intercom”.

“The what?”
“Don’t you be meeting people on that intercom!”
“You mean, the internet, ma?”
“Yeah, whatever it is.”

When I used to work for a telecommunications company in their call center, I remember senior citizens calling in, asking for technical help with getting onto the internet.

“Well, my son just bought me this thing here that goes on my computer and I don’t know how to use it, see. They say it’ll keep us in touch more often.”

That’s all I needed to hear. Why are children doing this to their parents? It’s bad enough when I got my mother a cordless phone with caller id on it.

“How do you know when somebody calls you?”
“The phone will ring, ma.”
“How do you know who it is?”
“The caller id will display the name and number usually. You’ll see it on your little screen there.”

My mother received a cell phone bill. She upgraded to a new service that has the option for text messaging and internet. Of course, she only wants it for the basic purposes of which any telephone can do… dial and get incoming calls.

“What’s this on my bill, Deb?”
“It says SMS messaging, where someone either texted you or you texted them.”

Now I know that she or my father would never be able to texted somebody, because half the time they can’t even see the numbers they’re dialing.

Then there was silence, as she skimmed through her bill.

“Well who would tex mex anyone?”

I’m so done with helping them.


Lisa said...

HAHAHAHAHA... oh my god, this sounds exactly like my mother. "Tex mex".. priceless!!

Jaded said...

Sounds like my mother! Luckily, my dad is pretty techno-savvy. I stopped trying to help my mom when, after an hour of trying, she still couldn't get the whole copy/paste thing down. UGH!

~Deb said...

Lisa: I was hysterical when she said, "tex mex". It was cute actually.

Jaded: You are fortunate to have a techy dad! The copy and paste for anyone who is new to the internet can be a bit frustrating. The right click thing never seems to flow... Too funny!

~gkw said...

LOL, this is my parents exactly! They are always calling me if they have to do anything.

Enemy of the Republic said...

My mom fell in love with technology. However, my stepfather, who was an engineer, couldn't make sense of it. I had to call my brother in law in Boston so that he could conference with him on how to design a web page. My brother in law is so smart that he did his straight from DOS.

~Deb said...

Gkw: So you're their tech support, huh? That's cute! You have to have a patience of an angel!

Enemy: Doing anything straight from DOS is tricky! I had to use that at my old company, the old mainframes, and now I've become familiar with it- too many codes though.... You can't possibly think teaching someone who's elderly that type of thing. Way too much technical crap!

Lordmanilastone said...

you just gave me a laugh, it's true older people these days seem so unattached, i often find a lot of them where i stay and they make silly things and questions of what modernization has to offer, just like you, we have to be more patient teaching them how to catch up^^

Leesa said...

what is funny, as that 13 year old kids are saying something similar about us. You know, Mom does not even know how to backscatter and my parents don't hide their IP address. What simpletons!

TrappedInColorado said...

Well, that was just down right funny! BTW - you want great tex mex? Come visit me!

~Deb said...

Lordman: I always get, “Things just aren’t like they used to be,” and I have to agree. Sometimes things are just way too complicated these days. I really feel bad for them, as they’re literally forced into this new world of technology. Thanks for your input!

Leesa: Backscatter? Okay, fill me in on that one please??? You just made me feel a helluva’ lot older, Leesa! (ha)

Trapped: Tex Mex and some martinis? Will it be Level or Ketel One though?

Art said...

Hilarious! Deb, don't worry about the intercom or tex-mexing but you be careful with those senior citizens! ;)

Miranda said...

Lol...that is soo true, though both my parents are computer people, my mom has a PC, my dad is a Mac man. They still get confused. My dad's constantly deleting things he doesnt think he needs. And my moms forever downloading stuff that screws up her computer. lol

just me said...

LOL. That is too funny! I'm still chuckling. And as someone who works in the internet field it sounds way too familiar and Family-ilar.

~Deb said...

Art: They’re a force to be reckoned with!

Miranda: Ah the two enemies living in one home: Mac vs. PC. Gotta love it!

Just me: Haha, nice! And believe me, I try helping out the older folks who haven’t got a clue as to what they’re doing. Poor souls.

TrappedInColorado said...

Deb.. they do sell Kettle One here you know. We can have our cake and eat it too. Send me flight info. I will send a car for you!

~Deb said...

Ketel One and a car! I'm impressed!

Threat Assessment & Response Canada said...

This is hilarious!

Wonderful blog!

tkkerouac said...

LMAO, totally my parents!

~Deb said...

Thanks, Threat assesment!

Tkkerouac: Haha, you too, huh?

Mishy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mishy said...

My mother refuses to get a cellular because she thinks it’s rude. She won’t get call waiting because she thinks that’s rude too. She says the days when we walked without cell phones are the days where we had more freedom. It makes sense. I hate my cell unless someone I enjoy talking to calls me which is never! :(

Larry said...

So I am not the only one with that problem.

Dan said...

LOL!! Awesome post! So funny! You touched upon some of this in a comment you left on my blog a week or so ago. Glad to see it turned into a post. Too too funny! Hugs to you and your mom for this one!

People in the Sun said...

A few years ago a friend told me his grandfather referred to the internet as "W W Dot Dot Dot Meshigane." That's still the best one.

Actually Intercom may be better. And she's right, of course. You shouldn't meet people on the intercom.

Ricardo said...

Ugh this is excruciatingly painful and I had to do this when I lived with my grandparents. Operating the remote was a challenge. then the microwave. then the touch tone phone. AWFUL!!!! It hurt so bad. This post bring it all back to me.

nosthegametoo said...

Howdy stranger!!

Hope all is well. I'll be back to read what I've missed.

Peace and Love

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Well, Deb, you gotta be careful using that blacktop ‘cause you don’t wanna be mugged by someone you encounter on the Intercom.

Now, at 61, I consider myself relatively young and rather accomplished so far as the new electronic gadgetry is concerned. Still, as technology advances, I get more frustrated and pissed off. Not because I can’t figure out how to use the stuff, but because I don’t want to use the stuff!

For example, a few years ago I purchased (from myself—the online store I then owned) a cordless telephone that could do everything except brew the morning coffee. The problem is, I had to have the manual within reading distance to figure out how to use the damned thing. So, I asked my genius older son, the former precocious youth, who was publishing technical stuff in national computer mags by the time he was 16, how to work the phone. Nick looked at the phone, glanced at the manual, and said, “There are some engineers who, when they design stuff like this phone put all kinds of crap on them just because they can. My advices is to throw the damned thing away and get a cheaper—and simpler—model that does what you want it to do and nothing more.

Nancy said...

Oh, goodness...I used to work in the photo/electronics section of a big drugstore, and when it was time to set our clocks forward or backwards, there would be a line of elderly folk at my counter. I would change their watches, clocks, glucose monitors, and small appliances for them every year for four years.

I actually kind of miss that. :)

DaBich said... cute! I am afraid tho, that *I* am gonna be just like your mother, cuz I'm not very technology inclined!

~Deb said...

Mish: It kind of is, if you really think about it. Caller id puts people on hold constantly, and then what if you want to talk to the other person? It’s obvious part A wasn’t as important as party B. The only reason why I could see a cell phone being rude is when people use them EVERYWHERE—like in doctor offices, church, movies, etc. That annoys me. Put the damn thing on silent!

Larry: Nope! (hehe)

Dan: I remember talking about this and it just stuck in my head. I guess I needed to vent about it! Thanks Dan!

People in the Sun: Meshigane? I have never heard of that. Or am I having one of those dumb moments over here again??? Naw, no intercom meetings for me anytime soon!

Ricardo: Wow, see it’s the exact opposite over here. My mother could code ANY remote control or any microwave, but get her on the internet or to use one of those high tech phones, and it’s just a lost cause. I’m sorry this post was too traumatic for you----you can come with me to my next therapy session! (hehe) Nice seeing you!

Nosthegametoo: Hey! How are you? Haven’t seen you in a while. Ah, ya haven’t missed all that much! I hope everything is well over in your neck of the woods! Miss your stuff- I thought you left bloggerworld… ?

Nick: Please do not even consider yourself as the above post mentions! You’re 61 going on 30---so shush! Sometimes the simpler products are less of a headache. I bought my father a new cappuccino maker, and he wanted his old one back because there were too many other “gadgets” that he wasn’t familiar with. And that’s not all---my mother has been using the same percolator that Alice Cramdom used on the Honeymooner’s. She will not let go of that puppy! No electrical coffee makers!

Nancy: Awe, they must have had such trouble falling back and springing ahead! Sometimes they’re just too damn cute to get frustrated over, right? That’s nice that you miss that… You’re sweet!

Dabich: Haha!!! Naw, you're okay. You're out here in bloggerworld, so what does that tell ya? You're too funny!

kathi said...

LOL, I laughed all the way through. Reminded me so much of my grandma and my dad. Funny stuff. I know my kids probably think the same of me, and just imagine how much more so in the next 20 years. I just hope they find me a good with a good intercom provider, LOL.

Love you babe, you give me so much.

SJ said...

My dad's a bit like that. My mom's cool she has learnt to email and when I got her a cellphone she said "get me one with a FM radio" :)

~Deb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~Deb said...

Kathi: An intercom provider! My mother actually thought about installing one in our building. Now, we talk on the phone for like an hour...and the sad part is, she's right downstairs from me. Thank God she's local! Love ya too, Kath! xxoo

Sj: Haha! That's adorable! Imagine what she'll do when she finds out that XM's available! ;)

ann said...

I had to laugh because I
get the same stick from my
old ma...

she really feels she's missing
out not having a computer and
as for her cellphone... don't
even go there

but I bet I'm nearer
your parents age myself

hope you have a great

lotsa luv ann xxxxx

kathi said...

LOL, silly girl; I was using your mom's term for internet!

“The what?”
“Don’t you be meeting people on that intercom!”
“You mean, the internet, ma?”
“Yeah, whatever it is.”

~Deb said...

Ann: Remember the days where we walked around without cell phones? There's some sort of freedom that goes with that, you know?

Kathi: I know!!! (haha) But I was serious when I said that she really did want to install an "INTERCOM"---the real deal in our building! For the love of GAWD---pick up your rotary telephone mom!

Ricardo said...

A little therapy is good for the soul.

QUASAR9 said...

lol Deb,
I guess one has to think whether one's help is helpful.
Just like when parents get the kids a coat the kid hates for xmas or send them to a boarding school because it is good for the kid - oh yeah, when the kid wants to be at home close to his mates.

But yeah getting old people new technology they don't need just because we've convinced ourselves it is an indispensable accesory in our life ...
sure it is good if the old can use a computer or the internet, but it is foolish for us to think that blogging has the same attraction for them it might have for us.

Just like driving dangerously fast is no longer a thrill to them

People in the Sun said...

Meshigane. You mean you don't speak hard-core Yiddish?

~Deb said...

Ricardo: Amen!

Quasar: I guess it applies to both sides, doesn't it? Never thought about it that way! And now, as far as driving- they drive dangerously the point of reverse!

People in the Sun: I used to, need to brush up on it! ;)

Natalia said...

The interesting thing is my dad as more tech than I am in a lot of ways. He can program, he can do all sorts of useful stuff, he has the plasma HD TV, etc. And he asks me to teach him about the other stuff. We got him an itunes account the other day. My mum on the other hand, has a computer she doesn't use. She says a part of her doesn't want to enter into that world. I think she is happier that way.


Cindy (The 15 Minute Dating Blog) said...

Great post! Just reminds me of how my parents treat the modern gadgets as well.

Sue said...

Honestly, that was one of the funniest things I have ever read. Sometimes I like to "act" clueless, just to drive my kids crazy.

But you left out the one about how your parents mistakenly call you 5 times a day, because they don't know how to set the lock on their cellphone and it keeps getting banged around in a purse or pocket...(guilty)

By the way, are you a ghost writer for Kathy Griffin?

I gotta go tex-mex my son...

Sue said...

I found this so funny I had to send it to everyone I knew, and THEN, just to be sure I didn't miss anybody, I had to blog about it:

Thanks for not having word verification......

Randy Chang said...

That reminds me of how I tried to explain those 1-800 numbers to my Mother - I mean the ones that use letters instead of numbers (in an effort to help you supposedly remember the number better). For example, 1-800-FLOWERS or something like that. She was all like "but I still don't get it - how can the number 3 be the "F" in FLOWERS?? It says on the phone that the number 3 is 3DEF!"

KAT said...

I was laughing so hard while I was reading this! I don't have my parents anymore, but this brought back such wonderful memories for me. I used to want to strangle them sometimes, and now it's funny. Thank you.