Can You Hear Me Now?

A few weeks ago, while I was visiting my parents in North Carolina, they lamented their cell phone. Their 8 year old, chunky, clunky, weighs over a pound first generation cell phone. Great for fending off an attacker, not so great for carrying around the mall. And how they were constantly paying roaming fees. And a ridiculous per minute charge, something like $5.00 per minute. Okay, maybe not that much. But close.

At one point I made several calls with my own itty bitty electric blue Nokia cell phone. Mom commented on the costs I must be incurring. “No mom, I’m in a home network. I don’t pay roaming charges. It’s included in my monthly fee.”

What? No roaming fees? All inclusive?

Even I, avoider of all pop culture who eschews television like the plague, knows about all inclusive cell phone plans.

This led to me researching plans for them. Which would allow them to call their children in North Carolina, Georgia, *and* California? Which plan would allow them two phones for the lowest monthly charge? Which provider would provide them the best service while traveling remote Southern roads?

After much investigation, we settled on a plan. Two phones, each different (so they wouldn’t get them confused), one monthly plan, no more roaming. Thirty day guarantee, so that if, for some reason, they didn’t like their new phones, all could be returned, no questions asked, all money refunded.

My job was done.

So I thought.

I received an email on Friday from my father.

“We received our box of phones today and don’t understand the directions. How much would you charge to develop an interactive training program for wireless usage?”

I called him immediately, laughing with him for his clever wit (while in North Carolina I was developing an interactive training for an HR system at work). Except he wasn’t joking. They couldn’t figure out how to use their phones. They seemed resigned to let my sister look at the phones and directions on Thanksgiving day while she’s visiting. I sighed, wishing there were more I could do.

This morning I received a phone call, quite early. It was my mother. “Guess where I’m calling from?” “Um. North Carolina?” “Of course, silly. But from my cell phone! I figured out how to use it! I’ve programmed in your home number, your cell number, and your work number. I can reach you anywhere. I can’t do anything else with my phone but I can make calls. Daddy still hasn’t figured out how to use his. I figured out how to use mine because the directions are all in pictures. Okay, that’s all. Bye!”

And with that she hung up.

As sleepy as I was, I had to smile. The image of my mother, pouring over cell phone directions, then calling me as soon as she figured them out, made me proud in an oldest daughter sort of way. Good job, mom.

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