Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dad vs. Cell Phone

We've been busy this spring, in part because my dad suffered a fall at our rental house and broke his heel. He was in the hospital for nearly two weeks (with one surgery) and then spent six weeks at a rehab facility here in town. All told, he was away from home for eight weeks, and he was so happy to be home.

But I wasn't letting him get away without a cell phone anymore. We bought a fairly simple flip phone and added him to our plan. Here's how it went:

Week 0: I plug in the phone to charge it, program my number and those of several relatives and friends into it, and try it to make sure it works. I explain how to call and tell him that because we're all AT&T subscribers, he can call my cell phone at any time for free. He can also make use of some of our shared minutes if he wants, and we have lots of spare night and weekend minutes he can use. Under no circumstances, however, is he to call his friend in England and talk for an hour. I leave with instructions for him to unplug the phone when the light turns green. (The red light/green light thing is brilliant. Works just like his cordless drill charger. Glad we went with this phone.)

Week 1: Dad learns how to call me.

Week 2: He calls me again. Makes sure to ask if it's still free for both of us. Yep, still free.

Week 4: "I was driving to Valpo and there was a train, so I thought I'd call."

Week 5: Phone runs out of battery and turns itself off. Fortunately, I am there to tell him to charge it.

Week 6: A text message arrives. Panic ensues.

Week 7: He can't figure out how to answer when I call, so he waits for it to stop ringing and calls me back. "The green button says CALL...." I can't really help him without seeing the phone (just like I couldn't help with the text), so I suggest that maybe he can answer the phone by opening it? We haven't determined yet whether this works.

Gotta love engineers. He could probably take apart and reassemble the thing perfectly, but using it is another story. It is awfully cute to see him wandering around with it, though.

1 comment:

spacegrrl said...

I had to read this out loud to Jason. He loved the technique for "answering" the phone; I love the call from Valpo. Both are so quintessentially your dad. Anyway, we had a whole discussion about how people react to completely novel technology (like windowing interfaces and the computer mouse - I still remember learning to use those after only having used a mainframe terminal). Your dad is completely logical. Unfortunately, he didn't design the phone, and it is not.