Even though she grew up in the 60's

The downside of IT? Free family tech support duties. Thank god I'm not a doctor like my brother! To protect myself, I made my mother, who suddenly needed the ability to take photos and email them immediately a few years ago, buy an iPhone the week it came out. Say what you want about Apple, even my mother learned how to use it (mostly). I made her buy an iPhone 4 when Facetime came out so I could use it to help me understand what on earth she was doing with her computer during these ulcer-inducing support calls. (Works crappy, but Mom friendly!)

So for Christmas she got an iPad for the bigger screen size. She's been wanting a battery operated speaker dock for a while for her pottery studio, so when I saw one that supports docking the iPhone 4 and the iPad today on Woot, I suggested she get it. Thus ensued the FaceTime call on how to make an online purchase.

OK Mom, get your laptop.

It's in the car. Can I use my iPad?

(We've had several conversations about how sending personal information is more secure over wired internet than wireless. Visions of the dangers of her possibly accidentally being on the neighbor's wireless versus waiting the 10 minutes for her to get her laptop dance through my head.) OK Mom. Now, open your browser.

Is that Google or Yahoo?

No, Google and Yahoo are websites. You want the thing you use to surf the internet. On Apple it's called Safari.


No, Safari. It's a browser as in browse the internet.


Type www.woot.com in the address box. That's the one on the top left. Ok is it up?


Do you see woot.com?


Do you see the speakers?

No, it just has a list.

Ok, you searched Google instead of putting it in the address field. Try again. The one one the left. Wait, let's switch to FaceTime. Ok, I see you. No, that's your right. The one on the left with all the text instead of the light Google name.

Ok, I see the speakers.

Ok, let's scroll down the page to the description and make sure it's the one you want.

No, no, I'm sure it's fine.

Alright, but remember, I told you that you can't make returns to Woot unless it's broken, right?

Yes, I'm sure it'll be fine.

Ok, hit the big button that says "I want one". Now you want to create an account. What username do you normally use?

You mean my email address?

No, the name you use when you login to a website. It needs to be a short name that you can remember.

Like my first name?

No, something that no one else will use. How about "TheHappyPotter"?

How about "Pothead"?

(Desperately trying not laugh.) No Mom, that means something else.

What does it mean?

A person who smokes a lot of marijuana.

Well I've never smoked marijuana!

Yes, I know Mom, but that's what it means to non-potters.

20 minutes of explaining every click later:

Ok Mom hit the big button to purchase.

Why does it say "ridiculously large" buy button? I don't think it's too big.

She went to high school and college in the 60's, and she regularly attends art classes, and I have to explain the definition of pothead. How does this keep happening to me?

My Mom made her first online purchase. I will probably be disowned shortly when my Dad finds out I taught her a new way to shop. Oh well. I need a drink.

-- Post From My iPhone


The best advice

I'll give you the same advice I gave my best friend: stop what you are doing and go directly to the nearest bookshop. Buy the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer. Make tea. Grab hanky. Curl up under a blanket in front of a bright window or warm fire, as the weather provides. Read and love book. It's like the joy of Miss Marple mixed with a lovely British black and white movie starring Deborah Kerr with a little Herriott thrown in for color. It's a delightful little bit of sunshine.

I feel inspired to write a letter . . .