Update Her Ability To Update

, , , , , | Related | March 15, 2019

(My mom has a lot of skills, but unfortunately, using technology is not among them. We get her a basic Chromebook so she can check her email and do simple web searches, because that’s all she needs a computer for. Every time I visit her, I remind her that she should turn the computer off and on again every now and then, but she always forgets because she thinks just shutting the laptop turns it off. She calls me one evening as I’m driving home from work, and she sounds really worried.)

Mom: “Hi, [My Name]. It’s not an emergency, but…” *sigh* “My computer is all black! I don’t know what to do! I can’t check my Internet!”

(This is what she calls her email.)

Me: *feeling like every tech support person ever* “Okay, Mom, it will be fine. Let’s try turning it off and on again.”

Mom: “Okay, how?”

Me: “Uh, can you look at the keyboard—“

Mom: “Wait, wait, wait! Let me go over there to the computer.” *an eon passes* “Okay…”

Me: “And look for the button—“

Mom: “Wait, wait! I still have to open up the lid!”

Me: “Okay, Mom, now we’re just going to press the power button and hold it down for a few seconds.”

Mom: “What’s the power button?”

(I have an internal facepalm, knowing that if it were anyone else but my mom this would have to be a joke. Somehow I manage to keep my composure enough to answer.)

Me: “It’s that one with a circle that has a line in the top.”

Mom: “Okay, I’m really not sure about this, but I guess… I’ll try… Okay. I pressed it and nothing happened.”

Me: “Don’t worry. Can you tell me which LEDs are on at the front of the computer?”

Mom: “I don’t know about that, but I do have a little blue light…”

Me: “Yep, that’s an LED. Was that on before you pressed the button?”

Mom: “Oh, well, I don’t know; I didn’t look for it before.”

Me: *trying not to explode* “Okay, let’s just try pressing the power button again.”

Mom: “The circle with the line? Is that right?”

Me: “Yep…”

Mom: “Wow! Oh, my goodness! It’s doing something! What’s this? What do I do?”

(Suddenly, my dad walks into the room and joins the conversation. He barely knows more about computers than my mom, but he’s more dangerous because he imagines that he does.)

Dad: “Honey, it says to put in your password.”

Mom: “What’s my password?”

Dad: “Oh, no…”

Me: “Don’t worry, guys. I knew Mom would forget, so I made it something I would remember; it’s [password].”

(We go through three attempts of me spelling it out letter by letter, with my mom getting confused or making a typo halfway through, until finally…)

Mom: “It’s working! Wait… Oh, no! Now it says something bad! Important system updates required.”

Dad: “Oh, you should just skip that; you don’t want that. Just press ‘no.’”

Me: *narrowly avoiding screaming* “Wait! Press ‘yes’! You definitely want to press ‘yes’! That’s probably why your computer shut down in the first place!”

(Mom presses “yes,” and we chat for a long time while the computer downloads and installs many months of backed-up updates. Finally, her screen pops up like usual.)

Mom: “Amazing! My Internet is back!”

Me: *slight enough sarcasm that she doesn’t notice* “Good job, Mom. You did it.”

Mom: “Thanks, [My Name]!”

Me: “Now you’ll remember to restart your computer sometimes because you saw how important it is!”

Mom: “Oh, you’ll have to remind me. I’ll never remember; it’s too confusing.”

(I love my mom, but at times like this, I wonder about how she has managed to get through nearly 70 years of life so far. I promise this conversation was not exaggerated; these were literally the comments she made! Guess what I’ll be doing the next time I visit?)

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