Sunday, October 31, 2004

Becoming a member of the 21st century

I realize this is my young, urban bias speaking here, but in my view, anyone who is not proficient in both email and cell phone use is clearly out of touch and should be deported to eastern Europe to raise sheep. (Jury's still out on text messaging, that's one I haven't fully grasped yet.) My parents are attacking this from opposite ends: my mother owns a cell phone that is gradually filling the role a cell phone should (glorified leash) but is clueless with respect to email (she may even still refer to the internet as the World Wide Web... ::shudder::), and my father uses email daily at work but absolutely refuses to get a cell phone.

Since my mother owns a cell phone and has already perfected the art of keeping tabs on her husband, there's no need to persuade my father to get one. (Attempts would be likely welcomed with a tirade on how our world is going to hell or some such thing, and I can't say I disagree, but the effort simply wouldn't be worth it.) I find it just this side of shocking, however, that my mother doesn't know how to email someone (you'd think a socialite like her would be up on the latest ways to communicate with people, but apparently not). Therefore I've spent the last three years or so campaigning to get my mother to use and understand "the internets" and email. I walked her through signing up for a Yahoo! account, because I think AOL is evil. I bought her The Internet for Dummies for Christmas, along with a gift certificate to (clever eh? eh?) I met with modest success while I was living abroad and email was the only way to communicate with me that didn't cost anything. However, even then there wasn't much incentive for her to use email much since the only one who ever wrote her was me. And I wasn't going to say anything important because God knew when she might actually read it.

I kind of gave up. There's no point forcing someone to use something that is of no value to them in their daily life. But now that's changed. My parents belong to a country club where apparently the rest of the membership has been up on this crazy email thing, and now it's actually necessary for her to use it from time to time. I was so happy when she asked for help with downloading an attachment. I was so proud when she knew what a .pdf was. And now, it's all coming back to bite me on the ass. Today, she sent me a forward.

I can only pray she passes out the 'forwards are cool' stage speedily. Hopefully a few well-chosen words from me (along the lines of "forwards suck and anyone who perpetuates them should be taken out and shot--oh, um, let me explain what a forward is...") will do the trick.

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