My Mom Now Has an iPhone. God Help Us All.
A few weeks ago I had mentioned to my mom that I recently bought a new iPhone. Since my phone conversations with her lately have sounded as if she were calling from a potato, she asked what I was planning to do with my old iPhone 3GS. I told her I could send it to her since she uses AT&T and could just have them activate the device, and she got really excited by the prospect of getting a new free smartphone that’s in far better condition than whatever awful-sounding device she had been using.
After I offered to send it to her, my mother became a Korean Terminator, seeking me out constantly and asking me when I was going to ship the phone. Two weeks ago, she called me when I was on my way to the hardware store to pick up a few items.
Mom: “Hi, honeyyyyyyyy. Whatchoo doing?”
Me: “I’m going to the hardware store to pick up a few things.”
Mom: “Oh, really?…I calling you to see if you still gonna send me EYE Phone.”
Me: “Yeah, I’ll send it to you next week.”
Mom: “Okay, good! I very excited to get new phone. I sound bad now, right?”
Me: “Yeah, the connection is terrible, I can barely hear you.”
Mom: “So bad. I need to get new phone. Send soon as you can, okay?”
Me: “Don’t worry, I will.”
Mom: “Okay, thank you bay-beeeeee. Love you. Bye.”
I got to Lowe’s, picked up my four items, paid for them, and was driving home when my phone started vibrating. I glanced down and saw it was my mom. Again. Confused as to why she was calling me 15 minutes after we had last spoken, I answered.
Me: “Uh, hello?”
Mom: “Rebecca! It’s Mom.” She often identifies herself on the phone as if I get loads of calls from various Asian-accented women and can’t correctly identify her by voice.
Me: “Yeah, I know. What’s up?”
Mom: “Don’t forget to send charger!”
Mom: “When you send EYE Phone, don’t forget to send charger with it!”
Me, laughing: “I’m not going to forget! Geez!”
Mom: “Okay. I sit here this whole time thinking about it.”
The thought of my mom hanging up the phone after our first conversation, sitting on the couch by herself for nearly 20 minutes thinking about the phone charger I may or may not remember to send along with my old phone, and finally feeling so doubtful I’d remember that she was compelled to call and remind me as if I were a four-year old being repeatedly told to wipe my nose instead of a self-sufficient woman who’s about to turn 30 left me both stunned and amused.
Me: “I will make sure to send any and all appropriate accessories with the phone.”
Mom: “Okay. Thank you. Send pry-or-it-tee. Bye.”
Early the following week, I received a voicemail from my mother asking how come the phone hadn’t arrived yet:
Mom: “Hi, honeyyyy, it’s Mom. I just wondering when EYE Phone gonna arrive. I haven’t received yet, and that makes Mommy sad…okay, call me soon, love you, bye.”
Good grief. To avoid receiving several more messages that would eventually segue from pathetic-sounding to inciting the Wrath of the Cha, I shipped the iPhone shortly after receiving the message. With the charger. Via “pry-or-it-tee” mail.
A few days later, my phone vibrated. It was my mom, of course, calling me at 11:00 am on a work day because she has no concept of time. Since I was appropriately indisposed, I let it go to voicemail. Later, I listened to the message she left (transcribed below):
Mom: “Hi, Rebecca! I just got a fancy EYE Phone! App-ulllllllllllllll. I so happyyyy!!…but I don’t know what to do so I plug it in…and, uh, figure out. Tomorrow I’m going John’s, so I take with me. Okay? I, uh, ohhhhh thank you again! I’m gonna talk to you later sweetie, you must busy working, okay? Okay, bye.”
Baby steps. Mom had finally gotten the iPhone, but she didn’t know what to do with it. I called her later that day.
Me: “So you got the iPhone?”
Mom: “Yes, thank you, honeyyyy! Thank you so much! Looks nice! I plug in for six hours, you think that’s enough?”
Me: “That is definitely enough.” I like that since she doesn’t know what to do with the phone, she just decides to charge it to death.
Mom: “It not working for calls, what I gotta do? Take to A-T-un-T?”
Me: “Well yeah, they have to activate it.”
Mom: “Hmmmm…..okay, I take to A-T-un-T and they switch on, right?”
Me: “Yes, they’ll activate it and then you can use it to make calls and get online.”
Mom: “Okay, I have John help me. Bye.”
After that weekend, she called again and left a message:
Mom: “Rebecca, it’s Mom. I call from EYE Phone. It’s good. Talk to you later. Bye.”
Success! Mom called me from my old iPhone and seemed to like it. All of her badgering and questioning finally paid off, as she was now well on her way to barely mastering 21st century technology.
And then my brother texted me the next day:
John: “Mom apparently wiped her ass with your iPhone and got her 4s on. She’s trying to figure out Siri with Lori [my sister-in-law] but Siri is having trouble understanding her.”
WHAT THE HELL! My mom badgers me for weeks to send my old iPhone to her, and when I finally do, she dumps it and just gets the iPhone 4?! Why didn’t she do that all along? GAHHHHHH.
I called Mom.
Me: “So you’re using the iPhone now?”
Mom, chipper: “Yup!”
Me: “What the hell! John said you’re not using mine, that you got the iPhone 4 instead!”
Mom: “I take to A-T-un-T and they said same price to activate. That I upgrade to EYE Phone 4 for forty dollars. Forty dollars! That’s good deal, right?”
Me, sighing: “Yeah, that’s a good deal. Okay. That makes sense. So do you like the iPhone?”
Mom: “Oh yeah, it’s real nice.”
Me: “Are you using Siri?”
Mom: “Lo-lee [Lori] showed me how to use but Sih-ree doesn’t understand me sometimes because of accent. She say [mimics a singsong voice], ‘I don’t un-der-sta-aaaaaaand.'”
Me, laughing: “So you stopped using her then?”
Mom: “No, I still use. I say, ‘Sih-ree’ — well, I don’t say ‘Sih-ree’ because she don’t understand me, so I say, ‘KOREAN RESTAURANT!’ and she gives me list of Korean restaurants!”
Mom sounded very pleased.
Me, laughing some more: “That’s good.”
Mom: “And Lo-lee plug my address into phone so I say, ‘Take me home!’ and Sih-ree say, ‘Oh-kay, turn right here!'”
Me: “You can plug our numbers into your address book and tell Siri to ‘call Rebecca,’ and then she’ll call me.”
Mom: “Oh yes, I tell her, ‘Call my husband!’ and she says, “Oh-kay, calling you husband now!'”
So to recap the technological abilities of my Korean mother, she can now send picture mail and has a somewhat decent understanding of how to use Siri. But is she still incapable of sending text messages? I asked her and she promised she’d learn. Shortly after our conversation, I received this text from my brother:
John: “I texted Mom and asked her if her phone was getting texts. She called back and said yes.”
Like I said, baby steps.