Today is my mother’s birthday. But wait, this is a sci-fi themed blog, you say. Well, in honour of my mother’s birthday, I thought I’d outline a few inventions that are sci-fi to her.
Cell Phones: A few years ago, my mother insisted I buy her a cell phone. I did, and told her to read the manual and I’d answer any questions. At the time, I was working 50 hrs/week and at university 30 hrs/wk. Teaching her where to find the ON button wasn’t happening. Six months later, I caught her selling it in the *unopened* package at a garage sale for $10 (I originally paid $200). To my knowledge, she’s never touched another one.
Computers: My mother has NEVER used one. I develop web content for a living and my husband is in web analytics. My mother has no clue what our jobs entail. Seriously. Try explaining what a website is to someone who doesn’t even know what a mouse is. It’s like trying to explain the appeal of reality television to aliens. And she’s never expressed any desire to learn.
Email: See computers, above.
Now, my mother and my father-in-law are about the same age. My FIL has two computers, a cell phone, he emails, he texts, he’s used web cams and he orders stuff online. He researches travel on the web and wants his hotels to have internet access when he does travel.
My mother doesn’t know what the internet is. Not really. She watches CSI, so one might expect she knows something about what the internet can do, in broad terms, but I’m betting it’s akin to watching Star Trek, back in the day. Does it seem magical and fantastical to her, like the transporter and holodecks did (and still do, if I’m truthful). Whereas, I’m borderline addicted to my smartphone and require easy access to my email.
It’s a huge, bizarre gap that I can’t even say is generational. It’s just hard to believe we’re such different people, and I’m stunned when I even think about going without my internet access. Nevertheless, Happy Birthday Mom, you Luddite, you.