As our parents age there are many things we wish they would stop doing. Driving, eating too much salt and sugar, or becoming too sedentary seem to be the most prevalent concerns that I’ve heard from my friends. My suggestion to my parents isn’t quite so health related.
I simply want my Mother to place her iPhone under the front tire of her car and then drive over it. Many times. Until it’s pulverized.
First, the calls to me:
No Mom, its Tracy.
“I didn’t call you, I called Delly.”
Mom, you called ME. You’re talking to Tracy.
“Well I meant to call Delly.”
At times I may receive a text with a red pin on a map indicating her current location. According to the map she’s in her house and apparently not lost and hoping I can find her so there’s no need for alarm.
The FaceTime application makes me yearn for those days of the land line telephone. My mother doesn’t know why my face appears on her phone even though she is the one who initiated the Facetime call. It’s difficult to converse; she is too busy laughing and has no idea what to do next. Turning her phone this way and that makes her face jump side to side, up then down on my phone. I get dizzy trying to follow her image. Mom, I ask, what the heck are you doing?! She replies, I’m LOLing.
Calling her takes patience until she figures out which pocket, which purse, which counter, which chair, which car, which room her phone is in. Then she swipes to answer. Usually she swipes the wrong way no less than 3 times disconnecting me each time. When we finally connect she’s still laughing. I’m learning to take deep breaths as I count to 10.
When I call, and my mother’s out of the house she puts the phone on speaker and then places it to her ear. I hear the lawn mower, the check-out girl, a blow dryer, all sounds going on around her but I can’t hear HER. She can’t hear me and I can’t hear her. My ears are ringing. We’re like walking advertisements for Verizon…Can you hear me now?
Despite my frustration, my dizziness, and the constant ringing in my ears, I’m impressed technology doesn’t scare away this 80+ year old. My interesting, intelligent mother reads the NY Times on her iPhone forwarding articles on Tesla, hedge fund tax loopholes, and recipes. So it’s with patience, respect, love, and deep breathing that I explain to my mother that no, I didn’t receive her message in an email, but received it in a text which didn’t include the attachment indicated, and oh by the way the text went to 4 people I don’t know. From my still feisty mother, “email, text, shmexts, what’s the difference.” And she inserted a red faced emoji.
But the worst day of my life happened with the inevitable, dreaded phone call.
I knew it was coming, but still not quite prepared for it.
My distraught sister on the line, tearfully saying…
“Mom’s on Facebook.”
STEP AWAY from Facebook, I quickly texted my mother. This is nothing to be LOLing about. She texted back an emoji of a certain hand gesture.
So I accepted her Facebook friend request.
It might be easier to get her to stop driving.