Awhile back you may recall I posted a letter to Apple asking them to please teach my grandmother how to use her new laptop. I would like to report that she now speaks fluent Mac, that she can navigate the Internet like a 14-year-old on MySpace, that she now has her own blog, web page and Flickr account. If only.
The truth is, last night she called while I was writing in my cafe on the verge of a tech meltdown.
“Krissy,” she began evenly. “I am about to throw my computer off the balcony.”
Now anyone who knows my Nana would find this image comical. She is 5 feet tall, maybe 90 lbs and has the cutest little white pin curls you have ever seen. She is extremely refined and I have never heard her even whisper a profanity. Sometimes I wonder how I am related to such a classy lady. It’s nice to know that we all have a breaking point. And Nana had reached it.
So I spent the next 30 minutes walking her through the process of checking her email, clicking on Flickr links and using the back arrow – her new best friend. From our brief tutorial I gathered that she was still confusing my blog with my email address (which explains why her emails to me never materialized) and didn’t know how to refresh a web page, let alone close the window when she was done with it.
It must have been an interesting experience for the young couple sitting next to me as they listened to me act as IT support for my grandmother.
ME: “Nana, I just sent you an email with the link. Did you get it? … What do you see? I think you are in your Sent box. Do you know how to find your Inbox? Do you know what the refresher button is? It should be an icon close to the top of the screen. Sometimes it looks like two arrows pointing in opposite directions. Click on that…”
ME: “Nana, the link should show up in blue. It should have some funny letters in the front like http: and some slashes … What’s a link? Well …”
ME: ” I don’t know where you are. What are you looking at now? Do you know how to use your back arrow? Well it is located …”
The experience was the most heart warming thing in the world for me. My grandmother is 85. She just purchased a laptop a few months ago and is brave enough to try and tackle learning a new and frustrating technology just to communicate with her grandchildren. Spending a few minutes on the phone is the least I can do to assist her. The payoff was when she opened my best friend’s Flickr page and gasped.
“I see you!” she said.
We scrolled through the pages together and she giggled as she saw each new photo download onto her screen.
“Nana, now whenever you want to spy on me you can just go to Emily’s Flickr page,” I said.
That is, if she can find it.