This year, for Mama’s birthday, Papa bought her a tablet. It was a bold move, considering that Mama is a proud luddite, still hasn’t mastered the cell phone and I suspect hopes that the internet is a phase. I’ve never seen Mama use the computer, and any time I’ve responded to one of her questions with a Google search, she would stand slightly away from me, as though not wanting to catch one of those computer viruses she keeps hearing so much about, and ask “Does he know? What does he say?”
I can only assume that “he” is HAL.
So when Papa chose to gift Mama a tablet instead of jewelry, as he’s done every other year, I made sure that my name was spelled correctly in his Last Will and Testament and said my final good byes.
“You’ve always been like a father to me,” I told him.
“If there’s a Heaven, I’ll never hear that joke again,” he told me.
But it turns out that he was right.
At first Mama was suspicious about the tablet.
“I don’t like him,” she said, referring, strangely enough to the tablet and not Papa. “He’s not very smart. I pressed music and no music came.”
“You have to put music on it first,” I tried to explain.
“If I have music to put on it,” Mama explained, “then I just listen to that music. This is nonsense.”
Mama carried the tablet with her, wrapped in a kitchen towel, in her purse.
“Maybe you should get a cover for it,” I suggested.
“You always have suggestions on how to spend the money,” Mama scoffed. But eventually she invested in one.
“I sent email to my sister,” Mama told me one day. “But she didn’t respond yet.”
“When did you send it?” I asked.
“Just now.” It was six in the evening in NYC. After midnight in Russia where her sister was probably sleeping instead of waiting for electronic communications from Mama.
“It takes a while to hear back,” I told her.
“What is point then? Next time I will send telegram. At least I know it will go.”
Things progressed in this vein for a while, with Mama sending me emails, then calling to see if I received them, then calling back to get a time frame for when I would be responding. Since most of her emails were along the lines of “sugar is not a snack for children” and I wasn’t quite sure how to respond, sometimes the response time was long.
But last week, Mama and my daughter left for a two week trip to Scandinavia (with some Russia thrown in at the end; I assume they’re going to smooth over the whole Russia-USA divide caused by the Snowden fiasco) and Mama’s emailing has really come in handy.
Because the daily emails that I get from her are like nothing that I could have expected. And they are pretty much the highlight of my day.
On Sunday, I got this: Copenhagen is wonderful place to live,only taxes here 75% and medicine is socialize(for hip replacement waiting time 4years) Having fun.
And then more recently, this: All well in Oslo ,King is OK,but some of the princes not. Tomorrow we are expected at Parliament and Royal Palace(probably l wash my hair).
And finally: For me,personally,@mailing very tiresome and discouraging process.
I’m thinking of having a giveaway with the grand prize being “email correspondence with Mama.” Not valid in places with socialized medicine/long waiting lists for hip replacements. Leave a comment to enter! Tweet with a link to this post for extra entries!