Damn You, Amazon.com
My mom got a new Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas.
You might be thinking...Good for her! That's AWESOME! I, however, was filled with dread when I heard the news on Christmas morning. The only thought in my head was...Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
Image from The Dose of Reality
You might wonder why I'm not enthusiastic. Let me explain.
My mom (I call her Cookie--long story, just go with it) is no ordinary 65 year old. Cookie is a totally fit and fabulous mom and grandma. She's "with it". She is active and trim. She changes her hairstyle frequently to keep up with the trends. At any given time her clothing is 100% more fashionable and put together than mine by far. It's not even a close contest. I don't mean "Oh, when I'm that age I hope I look that put together." No. I mean "I'd snatch that off her body and wear it myself if I could fit into it" kind of fashionable. She only wears yoga pants when she's doing ACTUAL YOGA (I mean...can you imagine?). What I'm saying is that Cookie is a *young* 65 years old.
As such, she naturally adores Skype, surfing the web, her smartphone, and any other modern gadget you'd expect any "with it" person to use and love. The problem is OPERATING these modern electronic gadgets. Oh, she is totally on board and game to use them all, it's just the execution that trips her up.
Cue to me...her 24/7 long-distance tech support giving Edvard Munch's dude from The Scream a run for his money at the thought of her receiving a new Kindle.
You see, it took me a SIX HOUR phone call followed by a second THREE HOUR phone call the next day just to register and place one book on her OLD Kindle. (Yes, I'm talking about the Amazon Kindle, one of the most user friendly devices known to man. And no, I am not exaggerating). It took a full two years to get her semi-proficient on it after that, but we finally got there. And now there is a new version...without a keyboard...that is organized differently. *sob*
All of our talks about electronic gadgets/computers/iPhones share a common thread. First I am called or texted at a strange time of day. This is the 24/7 part of the deal. It then goes something like this:
Me: Okay, now click on the yellow box at the top right of the screen.
Cookie: I don't know what you mean.
Me: Take your mouse and move the arrow to the yellow box at the top right of your screen and click on it when the arrow becomes a hand.
Cookie: I don't have a yellow box on my screen.
Me: Yes, I'm sure you do. It's at the top right part of the screen. Look right under the thick blue bar.
Cookie: Lisa, your computer is newer than mine. Mine doesn't have that. Our computers are different.
Me: No Cookie, it's not a computer thing. It's a website thing. You are seeing the same internet I am. It's exactly the same.
Cookie: No, it's not because I don't have a yellow box anywhere on my screen. Maybe my computer is broken.
Me: Put your finger on the top right corner of your computer screen and slide it directly down past the thick blue bar...
Cookie: OH!! There it is!! Why didn't you say so?!
Now, take that scene and multiply it by eleventy thousand because that 10 minute dialogue was just to produce ONE MOUSE CLICK.
Thus, I was braced and ready for the inevitable phone call on December 26th about the new Kindle because she spent Christmas in St. Louis where she lives while we were here in Charlotte. It actually came on December 25th at 8:42 pm as I was trying to get Lucy to bed.
Cookie: I can't get my Wi-Fi set right on my new Kindle. I have a lot of other questions, but I want to get this part done first before I do anything else.
Me: Okay, how far did you get?
Cookie: I turned it on. It was actually difficult because the starter works differently than the old one. You have to press it in instead of move it side to side.
Me: Great. Good catch. Okay, now press at the top of the screen until the menu appears.
Cookie: I don't have a menu. All I see is the User's Guide I was reading.
Me: Right, you have to press at the top of your screen for the menu to pop up.
Cookie: I don't have any keys to push. All I see is words.
Me: I know. You push on the screen at the top, and it will just appear.
Cookie: WOW. Look at that!
Me: Yay! Now press the picture all the way at the right that looks like bars.
Cookie: Oh, no! I did that, and a box came down. I have to start all over.
Me: No, no, that's good. That's exactly what we wanted to happen. Now press where it says "Settings".
Cookie: Oh, when the box came up I turned my Kinde off. I thought I messed it up and had to start all over again.
Then we actually *did* start all over again, but I will spare you that part.
Me: Okay, now press where it says "Wi-Fi Networks".
Cookie: My screen doesn't say that.
Me: Does your screen say "Settings" at the top and then the first option is "Airplane Mode"
Me: "Wi-Fi Networks" is right under that.
Cookie: It's not on mine. Mine doesn't say that. Mine is brand new. It's different from yours, Lisa.
Me: No, your Kindle Paperwhite is just like mine. Don't actually touch the screen, but put your finger where is says "Airplane Mode" and then move it directly down until you see...
Cookie: OH! There it is! Why didn't you say so?
Me: Now touch "Wi-Fi Networks". You'll see several different networks pop up.
Cookie: I see them! Now what?
Me: Okay, now select your Wi-Fi network.
Cookie: What do you mean?
Me: Touch the one that is yours.
Cookie: It says I have four of them.
Me: No, your Kindle is recognizing several Wi-Fi networks, but only one is actually yours.
Cookie: Well, I'm looking right at it. It says I have four.
Me: No, it's detecting that there are four networks in your area. Only one of those actually belongs to you, though. The other three belong to your neighbors. You want to use yours.
Cookie: How do I know which one is mine?
Me: You look at the name. Ours is named with our last name.
Cookie: All of these are just numbers. One says ATT, and we use ATT.
Me: Great, maybe that's yours. Click on that one.
Cookie: Okay, it asked for a password.
Me: Perfect! Put your password in.
Cookie: Hmmmm...I don't know what my password is.
Me: I thought you use the same password for everything.
Cookie: We do, but that one isn't working. Lets see... I remember writing down my Wi-Fi password on a yellow piece of paper so I'd always have it handy.
Me: Great! I'll wait while you get your paper.
Cookie: Oh, I don't know where it is.
Me: We're going to need it to finish this.
At this point 10 minutes pass as I listen to the shuffling of papers.
Cookie: I can't believe it! I found it!
Me: Wonderful. Now put in your password.
Cookie: It doesn't work.
Me: Are you sure you keyed it in correctly?
Me: Are you sure you used capital letters in the right spot?
Me: Okay, then either that isn't your Wi-Fi network or your password is wrong.
Cookie: The password is on my yellow piece of paper. It's right.
Me: Okay, then select a different Wi-Fi network and try your password there.
Cookie: OH, NO! Now I only have three networks. I lost a network!
Me: No, you didn't. That was never yours anyway. Your network has to be one of the other two we haven't tried.
Cookie proceeds to enter her password into the two remaining networks with no luck. This takes about 45 minutes.
Me: Okay, ONE of those is your Wi-Fi network. It has to be that your password is wrong.
Cookie: But it's on my yellow paper! I can't believe all three of my Wi-Fi networks are broken, and I lost one while I was messing around. The one I lost was probably the one that worked best and that's my problem.
Me: No, you don't HAVE more than one Wi-Fi network.
At this point my husband, who has been listening to my side of the conversation for the past 90 minutes, speaks up.
Robert: Lisa, are you sure they even HAVE Wi-Fi?
Me (into the phone): Cookie, are you sure you even HAVE Wi-Fi?
Cookie (to my dad who has been listening to her side of the conversation): Gary, do we even have Wi-Fi?
My Dad's muffled voice: You said we did...so... yes?
Cookie: Of course we do, Lisa. My Kindle says we have three Wi-Fi's. Four if you count the one I lost.
Good news! Cookie's birthday is in February and there are rumors that she wants to upgrade to the new iPhone 5.
The Wire image by Reaction from Gifs.com