Thursday, November 12, 2009
Just the Fax, Ma'am
My mother and Stepfather are going on a month-long cruise to China. Ignoring the question of how they will live in a windowless cabin - they never pay for windows - the size of a closet for a month without killing each other, this trip requires some modern technology that my mother doesn't have. It seems that nowadays, booking major travel requires two things: a credit card and email.
So she calls me up in a panic to tell me that she and Stepfather need my help. My mind courses through the type of help they normally need from me: house-watching, mail-getting, pill-sorting, doctor-arguing?
But no, it's something much more insurmountable for my mother. She tells me that Holland America wants to send her a fax.
"A fax, Ma? Are you sure they said a fax?" My mom stopped learning about technology after fax machines were invented. After all, the fax machine was the world's perfect office machine. Imagine being able to transmit documents over a phone line by pressing a button! There was a time in the early 80's when that fax machine of hers was screeching day and night in her busiest days in real estate. How could anything ever supplant that?
But there have been a few inventions since then. Like the Internet. I figure out that she needs me to get an email from the cruise line.
I say, "Sure, is that it?"
"You'll print everything they send?"
"Yes. We have a printer, Mom. And paper in it."
The next day I call her. I tell her I still haven't gotten the email.
She says, "Well, they probably haven't gotten my payment."
"How long could it take to get your payment? Didn't you pay with a credit card?"
"Oh no. I sent a check." What, by carrier pigeon? "Bob and I don't use any credit cards."
Well at least she's not going nuts out there with her consumer debt.
"Okay, Ma. After they cash your check I'm sure they'll send the information."
"And then you'll give me the fax?"
"Right. Then I'll give you the fax."