I looked in chagrin at the task before me. This was a gorgeous autumn day, God’s creation spilling through the window in a dazzling display of bright colors from the yard’s trees. I opened the window and breathed the poignant scents of the season, trying to gather up courage.
“Dear Father, please give me nerves of steel and determination to leave my comfort zone for this new endeavor,” I pleaded. Thus strengthened, I turned back to “the project”.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been so intimidated before,” I admitted. “Okay,” I said aloud, “you know it can’t kill you. Just do it!” With dry throat and sweaty palms, I firmly seated myself.
Fortunately, the phone rang, a welcome interruption.
“Hi, Grams! Have you started yet?” queried my oldest grandson.
“Just beginning to,” I replied.
“Well, don’t let me keep you. Sure you remember all the directions?”
“They’re written down, honey. I’ll give you a call tonight with the results.”
“You can do it, Grams! Why don’t we go over what you’ve written, just in case?”
So much for procrastinating, I thought, glumly. I took out my notes.
“PUSH ROUND BUTTON ON TALL BOX”, I read aloud.
“You mean the tower,” he corrected me.
“Okay, tower,” I agreed, not writing it down.
“Why don’t you try it now?” he asked.
“O-key-doe-key,” I said, hitting the button. “It just lit up and the box is humming. Now the bigger boxed thingy with the TV screen is showing a pretty picture. Oh-Oh. What was that music coming out of the tiny boxes?” I queried nervously.
“Grams, the “TV” is called a monitor, and the small boxes are speakers,” he patiently responded.
“Thank you,” I yelled into the boxes, as I warily watched a cute tiny white hourglass flash in and out several times on the TV screen in front of the scenic background.
“Grams, the speakers aren’t microphones—they can’t hear you.”
“Right,” I said. “THE HOURGLASS WILL TURN INTO AN ARROW. YOU CONTROL IT BY THE GADGET ON THE PILLOW NEXT TO THE TYPEWRITER. SLIDE IT ACROSS THE PILLOW TO MOVE THE ARROW TO THE PICTURE OF THE “E”. PRESS THE LEFT TOP CORNER ON THE GADGET TWICE,” I read as I obeyed the directions. “Yikes! Now there’s a whole bunch of gobbly-gook on the TV,” I exclaimed, lamenting the loss of the previous picture.
“Grams, it’s okay. Firstly, the hand gadget is called a mouse. And what it sets on is called the mouse-pad. The typewriter you mentioned is actually just a keyboard. Did you get that down?”
“Yes,” I responded meekly, albeit not changing words on my sheet. (“Whoever heard of a mouse having a pad to sit on?” And, “A keyboard is what Mrs. Meeks plays on at church,” I thought, stubbornly).
“Now, tell me what the words say at the top left on the screen,” he demanded.
“There are big fancy red letters spelling ‘YAHOO!’ Does that mean I won something?” I excitedly asked.
“No,” my grandson patiently responded with a slight edge to his voice. “That’s your mailbox so you can write to us kids and save money on stationery and postage you use for snail-mail! So we can hear from each other FREE, remember?”
“Oh, yes, there’s the picture of a mail box—what did you say about snails? Don’t forget, you’re allergic,” I cautioned.
“Grams, I’m going to have to go now—someone’s messaging me on my cell.”
“Don’t worry about me, hon. I have all these instructions,” I answered.
“That’s what I’m afraid of,” I heard him whisper in an aside as we hung up.
I glanced down for the final list entry and managed to shut the computer off. I got up, trembling, mentally consigning the whole contraption to the deep drawer that held electronic nonsense the kids had previously given me.
“Digital camera, cell phone, cordless phone, palm pilot, DVD player, CD player/changer,” I read on the other sheets attached to my pad. “Will they never learn?” I mumbled. I walked outdoors to my favorite bench under my favorite tree and began a letter to my daughter on fancy stationery.
Across the country, another conversation was taking place between the children via speakerphones:
“I TOLD you we should have given her those encyclopedias she wanted!”
“But, this way she can find more up-to-date information!”
“She’ll enjoy communicating to us instantly by e-mail!”
“She’d be much happier continuing with her antiquated ways!”
“So, who’s going to take it all back?”
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