Old School Beauties and Bloody Beasts!

Getting old and having to deal with ever changing technology really is a bit of a bitch!

My aunt is a spring chicken aged 89 and has a laptop which she refers to as “The Beast”. She has come to loathe her computer because it gives her more trouble than it is worth, according to her anyway. This is mainly because it somehow does not always allow her to send emails, despite the fact that she has a monthly internet contract. I’m sure it’s just a setting or something, but sadly we are not close enough to help.

We were having a chat on the phone the other day and she was telling me that she had been so delighted to discover via via via… that there was a lady in the church community who gave computer lessons. She had been planning on getting hold of said lady to empower her to deal more easily with The Beast.

Somehow this conversation came up with one of her friends a few days later and my aunt mentioned the clever computer church lady.

Oh no,” her friend replied, “Mrs So and So died a while ago!

My lovely aunt bellowed out laughing and said, “You know Gin, I was so disappointed.” (I think she said disappointed but it might just have been disgusted.”)

Then she let out another hoot and said, “I know that sounds terrible when the poor lady has died – but I was SO LOOKING FORWARD TO HAVING THOSE LESSONS!

Her sister (my mom), on the other hand, is only 83. She too has a lap top which is often referred to as “that bloody computer” and she does weird things – like falling asleep on it and pressing buttons inadvertently (which she vehemently denies) that in turn makes whatever she was working on (usually email or Facebook) disappear.

Sometimes Grey Cat is the culprit, having gone for a stroll on the keyboard when mom was not looking. She gets very miffed when this happens and of course blames that bloody computer. Luckily for her, my lovely husband has installed team viewer on both her and his laptops, and can mostly fix her snafus in Cape Town whilst sitting comfortably in Pretoria.

That has its own specific brand of snag sometimes because Mom still sneakily tries to do things on her side when Chris has specifically told her to go and make a cup of tea. When confronted, she denied it at first and then confessed that she had gotten caught up reading a bit of one of the emails and wanted to see more – hilarious! We could actually see the mouse moving from her side.

Then Mom gets further miffed when her Gmail keeps changing – it doesn’t really – I think she lands up on different tool bars, which can be confusing. I don’t use Gmail much so can’t always long-distance help her – which irritates the hell out of her when she’s trying to find emails that have gone AWOL. I keep saying that she should first type stuff in a .doc file, then copy and paste it into the body of the email. That way she’d always have it… but then sometimes she hits delete instead of copy… or instead of paste – gets in a flap and loses it anyway.

Let’s not even go down the printer route – those bastardly expensive cartridges keep drying out because she does not use it that often and then it does not work when she needs it to. We also managed to lose a printer cable when we moved but the jury is out on whose fault that is.

My father-in-law, the babe of the trio at a mere 81 (yes, the same one of the “Many Happy Returns” fame) is indeed quite computer literate. His major problem is that he is beyond impatient and the laggardly internet connection on the farm drives him demented. He sometimes tries to do innovative things that do not always have the desired outcome. Even my lovely husband’s unending patience gets somewhat frazzled on these occasions.

At the end of the day I have the upmost respect for all senior citizens who are tackling this ever changing technology in the first place. With Skype, Facebook, email etc it is such a fabulously easy way of keeping in touch – especially in this day and age where families are so spread out around the world.

Some patient soul would make a fortune if they went around helping old folk keep in touch with their loved ones… and their bloody beasts.

PS – The cat in the pic above is obviously not grey cat – it’s LooseyFur – our little red devil!

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