Jetlag, swollen feet, and Mum’s Kindle
A series of discussion with my Mum about her Kindle on one day
I’ve been flying for 18 hours. I get off the plane. It’s 6am. My ankles have swollen to the size of Volkswagen Beetles. My lovely parents meet me at the airport with a vision of taking me to breakfast. All I want is a shower, to get off my feet and to sleep for a few hours. I have to get to my desk and work for a few hours too.
Amusing sidebar (but only in retrospect): My father has managed to park illegally in the airline staff car park and has no idea how to get the car out of there. The said car park is literally at the opposite end of where I exit customs. At least I have Volkswagens.
I get a hug from Mum. Then:
Mum: I’ve got some bad news. You’re not going to like it.
Me: (I brace. A cat might’ve died. My house might’ve burned down. I know she’d keep that kind of thing from me because we’ve had the conversation where she wasn’t going to tell me if Dad died. The good thing is Dad isn’t dead, just stuck in a staff car park – which might in fact turn out to be a similar state of affairs.)
Mum: My Kindle died.
This takes place in the car, while Dad negotiates for its ransom with an incredulous car park employee over the boom gate intercom.
Mum: It does that thing where it gets stuck.
Me: What gets stuck? (I am so jetlagged dumb, she’s got me at a severe disadvantage).
Mum: My Kindle.
Me: Oh, right.
Mum: I can’t even turn it on.
Me: When you say on, what do you mean?
Mum: On to a book.
Me: So the Kindle is on?
Mum: No it’s not. It’s just the pictures. You know Monks and Jane Austen.
Me: Okay, so what do you do?
Mum: Not much. I haven’t been able to see a book for days now.
Me: It won’t wake up.
Mum: I already told you it was dead.
Me: A bit like me after two days of being on a plane.
Mum: You look alright.
Me: You just want me to fix your Kindle.
Dad: Yes, she does. She’s lost the knack of reading a real book.
Mum: I have, I have lost the knack. I can’t do real ones anymore.
Me: Well the revolution is over.
Me: When grandmothers use a new technology, the adoption cycle has reached a mature phase.
Mum: Whatever. What’s wrong with my Kindle?
Me: Whatever! Who are you?
Mum: Your mother who can’t read.
Me: Sometimes mine gets stuck and it rights itself if I plug it into the charger.
Mum: It does that thing with the straight line.
Me: The straight line?
Mum: When I plug it in. It goes, thinking, thinking in a straight line.
Me: Do you mean the wireless?
Mum: I don’t know what it is?
Me: Is it a little circle in the top corner?
Mum: No, it’s a straight line that fills up.
Me: Fills up. Oh, okay, it’s reloading. That’s fine.
Mum: It’s not fine. I can’t read a book.
Me: What happens when it finishes reloading?
Mum: I can read a book.
Me: (I consider why I didn’t insist in spilt blood that I’d get a cab home and ponder why I didn’t simply lie about my arrival time)
Mum: Don’t go to sleep back there.
Me: So what’s wrong with your Kindle?
Mum: It’s unreliable. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
Me: I can’t fix that. We could ask Amazon if there’s a fix.
Mum: They’ll just say what you did, to plug it in, and do the line thing, but I think I’ve worn it out.
Me: I’ll get you a new one for Christmas.
Mum: I can’t wait that long.
Dad: Please don’t make her wait that long. (My Dad sounds desperate).
Me: Big W have them now.
Mum: Big W. Why would they have Kindles?
Me: Because of grandmothers.
Mum: Really. I suppose that’s clever of them. But they’d be fake ones. Cheap Chinese ones that’ll fall apart.
Me: Fake Kindles?
Mum: The real ones come from Amazon. You know that, you bought it for me. It has to come from America.
Me: They’re the real ones.
Mum: Big W. Are you just making that up?
Me: No, I’m not making it up.
Mum: You’re probably jetlagged, you might make it up.
Me: I’m not making it up. You can buy a new Kindle today, a real one, at Big W.
Mum: Well, that’s no good. How will Big W put my books on there? How will they even know what books I have?
Me: They don’t. Amazon does.
Mum: So why would I buy a Kindle from Big W if it won’t work. They shouldn’t be allowed to sell them.
Me: You buy the Kindle from them first, and we register it online with Amazon and all your books will load to it.
Mum: I might ask them at Big W to do it for me.
Me: No. Please don’t do that. They’ll think nobody loves you.
Mum: I’ll tell them my kids aren’t good with technology.
Me: No, they’ll laugh at you. Just buy a new one and I’ll set it up for you, like I did the other two.
This happens about two and a half hours later. Mum phones. I was just about to catch a couple of hours sleep.
Mum: Oh good you’re not asleep.
Me: Yes I am. Asleep on my boats for feet.
Mum: Well, stay awake for a minute.
Me: Mum, I really can’t fix your Kindle.
Mum: You don’t have to.
Me: (The doorbell goes). Hold on, there’s someone at the door.
Mum: Yes, it’s me.
Me: (At the door. Through the screen I can see she’s holding a Big W bag). Um. Hi.
Mum: I won’t be long. I got a new Kindle. It looks like a real one.
Me: Oh goody.
Mum: I just want to show you.
Me: (She comes in and presents the box. I go to open it and she stops me) What?
Mum: I can take it back.
Mum: If it’s not real.
Me: It’s real. (It has Amazon stamped all over it).
Mum: Or if we can’t get my books on it.
Me: We can get your books on it. Like we did when your first one got replaced.
Mum: You’re sure?
Mum: Okay then, can you do it now?
Me: No, Mum, I can’t do it now. I need to be on your computer, unless you remember your log in?
Mum: You’re too tired now, aren’t you? You don’t look that crash hot. How do we make it remember my percentages?
Me: What are your percentages?
Mum: My book percentages?
Me: Amazon knows what books you bought.
Mum: I don’t even know all the books I bought.
Me: Good thing Amazon is smarter than you.
Mum: You’re not too tired to be a smart A then. Is Amazon smart enough to remember the percentage where I stopped reading?
Me: Ah, I don’t know – maybe. We’ll find out.
Mum: (Looks at me expectantly)
Me: Not now, please.
Mum: I’m going mad here.
Me: It’s catching.
About two hours later. Phone rings and wakes me.
Mum: It’s only me. I can’t do it.
Me: I was asleep.
Mum: There are no instructions in the box. Not one.
Me: Okay. We’ll fix it online on your computer.
Mum: I tried that. I went to the Amazon help desk and they sent me instructions and I can’t understand a word of it. I’m not sure it’s even in English. It’s useless. I should take the Big W Kindle back and get one from Amazon but I’ve opened the box now.
Me: It’ll be in English, it’s just not written for grandmas.
Mum: It should be.
Me: I’ll be able to work it out, but not on the phone.
Mum: I wasn’t going to suggest that.
Me: Yes, you were. You were going to read the instructions to me.
Mum: I was going to yes, but you don’t want me to.
Mum: Why not?
Me: Because anything I tell you to do will sound like it’s in another language.
Mum: Then the revolution’s not over is it?
Me: But my snooze is.
But wait – there’s more.
Stay tuned for the continuing incredible adventures of my Mum and her Kindle.
Watch me fumble to explain such concepts as the Cloud and how to turn pages without a button.