My mother's iMac is lime green, which, according to an article on Adobe's website means that my mother is a stable, balanced type of person. This is generally true. But there's another side to her. This is the mother that calls me at work in tears, and says that she wishes she never bought the stupid machine.
"Fr-i-i-i-th," she sobs. "I hate this thing!"
"What's wrong?" I ask.
"There's this horrible dinosaur and it's taken over our computer and we can't get rid of it and it has this annoying music and I don't know what to do and Chuck doesn't know what to do and I hate this thing so much."
Never having seen a copy of Nanosaur, I have no idea what she's talking about. I calm her down enough to figure out what's going on, that she doesn't know the keyboard command for quitting a program. And how would she know, after all? I tell her what to do and she admits that she unplugged the computer to stop the raging dinosaurs.
Now it's time for a little mother repair, and I remind her that her days of hobbling through the Internet on an old hand-me-down Mac Classic with a 1200-baud modem are over. She's the proud owner of a Rev. C iMac and it will be smooth sailing on the World Wide Web from now on.
Or so I thought. My parents tried to set up an account on Earthlink and soon figured out that in the cornfields of Illinois, they would have to use a long distance phone number to connect. So they went with a local ISP, which gave them the wrong set-up directions. This led to a trip to the local service shop that we don't like to talk about much.
What with my day job and all, and the fact that at that point I still hadn't actually used an iMac, there was only so much I could do. So my parents paid for two months of Apple support service and apparently got their money's worth. The support technicians explained everything very, very slowly and simply.
"You must hate this," my parents told one patient support person. "Oh, you're not so bad," he said. "One woman bought an iMac, took it out of the box, and then called us and said 'Well, we've got the monitor, where's the computer?'"
With a little more kicking, screaming, and a few tears, my mother at last was on the Internet. Life was good. The e-mail was fast. My grandmother came over, and my parents asked if she'd like to send me a message. They walked her over to the machine, sat her down, and told her to go ahead. She eyed the machine, leaned forward, and spoke in a loud, clear voice, "Hello, Frith. How are you?"
To be continued...
Frith Breitzer loves her mother, and would never mock her for the amusement of the Macworld.com audience. When she's not explaining to her grandmother that computers don't do that quite yet, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.