Friday, August 22, 2008
Can you hear us now?
I got a call from my mom yesterday. It started with her saying (actually, more like yelling): “TOOTIE, CAN YOU HEAR ME? WE JUST GOT A NEW CELL PHONE.” To which I replied (silently), uh-oh. Let me just say first that my parents are very smart people. They are the first people I call when I need help with my taxes, advice on landscaping, or a general pep-talk on a major life decision. However, they are not on my list of people to call if I need help with any item of technology created in this century. They were just starting to finally master their old cell phone. It took at least four years and some gentle coaching each time I came to visit. “See that button there? That’s the menu button. That’s how you get to all the other functions.” Their cell phone struggles did provide endless laughs, though. My Dad was so proud that he figured out how to leave a greeting on their voicemail. A very friendly, “Hi, we can’t reach the phone, please leave us a message.” There was just one problem. They couldn’t figure out how to check the messages that people were leaving. It was causing so much miscommunication (“Didn’t you get the voicemail I left?”) and confusion (they weren’t even sure that voicemail was included in their cell phone plan), that my Mom made my Dad change the message. So, every time I called their cell phone and they didn’t answer, I heard this: “Uhh, yeah…we don’t have voicemail. Call us back. Bye.” No matter how many times I heard it, it always made me laugh. I might have even called it when I knew they wouldn’t answer, if I needed a quick laugh. My Mom could never figure out how to check her “missed calls.” If the phone rang and she couldn’t answer it in time, she had no idea who called. Usually, I found out about it because, out of the blue, I would get a call from her. “Tootie, did you just call me?” “Nope,” I’d reply. And before I could ask “But, how’s everything going,” she’d quickly say, “OK, bye!” and hang up. There were more cell phone blunders – and laughs – along the way. Some had to deal with adding contacts to the address book. Or saving a number. And I decided to give up altogether on text messages. (“You sent a text message? No, we never got it.”) But eventually, the poor phone that they had finally started to understand, started to die. Yesterday a new phone – with all of its new gadgets – entered their life. I asked my Mom if it had a camera and she said, “Yes, that’s what the lady told us, but I’m not sure where it is on the phone.” The old cell phone may be gone, but I have a feeling that the same laughs will still be there.