Oma goes high-tech

November 3, 2016
By Anonymous

                                    Oma goes high-tech
       Charlotte’s German grandmother did not understand her. Granted, there were 70 years between them, which, maybe, was enough of an explanation. But despite the fact that Charlotte was an A+ student, was involved in numerous extracurricular activities, and spent a lot of her free time at home, her grandmother just didn’t understand her ways.
       For one, her Oma couldn’t comprehend why she always had to have a “handy” (as she called a cellphone) with her at all times. “What could be so important that it can’t wait until you’ve walked through the front door, or you’re done in the bathroom, or finished with dinner?,” Charlotte's Oma would ask repeatedly.
      Charlotte loved her Oma, and she looked forward to her month-long visits during the Christmas holidays; but she didn’t appreciate the condescending tone she would use when criticizing her use of her iPhone. She tried not to be flippant or defiant as she explained to her Oma that being a teen in the 21st century was far different than when she grew up in Frankfurt. “I use social media to connect with my friends in the way you use the telephone,” Charlotte would tell her Oma, “I also use it to Google important and interesting topics, such as the daily news.”
     “When was the last time you read a book?” Charlotte’s grandmother would ask with a bitter tone, “or held one in your hands?” Charlotte would try to explain that she loves to read, but she prefers digital books to hard copies. “That is ridiculous!” her Oma would reply in an acerbic tone .
         Like most kids her age, Charlotte would go to her room as soon as she returned home from tennis practice and would stay there until it was time for dinner. “What does she do up there for all of those hours?” Oma would ask Charlotte’s mother and father, “Is she playing games on her computer all evening?” They tried to explain that Charlotte was an earnest student who used technology to her advantage and that this was the way kids did their work today. Having grown up in a formal household in Germany, Oma just couldn’t understand how this was benefitting Charlotte as she vividly stated over dinner that evening. It upset Charlotte that her Oma seemed so angry with her. As usual, she spent the rest of the night locked up in her room.
         Christmas was just a week away, and Charlotte woke up the next morning with an idea. She discussed it with her parents and they agreed it was a great one—they were going to buy her Oma an iPad for Christmas. They would teach her how to use it before she returned to Europe, upload books by her favorite authors, and show her how to use Skype so she could use it to communicate with them when she returned to Germany instead of using the landline.
        On Christmas Eve (when Germans typically exchange their gifts), Charlotte was beyond excited to finish dinner and give her Oma her present. She handed her the box, which she carefully unwrapped. Bemused at first by the Apple logo on the box, Oma asked Charlotte what this was. Charlotte explained that it was a new piece of technology called an iPad. She described to her Oma the numerous tasks it could perform with just one touch. She even brought up the fact that she could now zoom in to make the words bigger and clearer instead of having to squint at a tiny computer screen, which Oma found very amusing! She saw the excitement in Charlotte’s eyes as she showed her how to use the iPad, and a smile quickly overcame her face. “Well, I guess you're trying to get your grandmother to catch up to the 21st century,” she said with a laugh while reaching over to give Charlotte a kiss and hug. Charlotte spent the next two hours telling her Oma about all the things she could do with her new “toy”, and even taught her how to take her very first selfie!
        When Charlotte’s Oma returned home, she got her first skype call from Charlotte and her parents. She was excited to be able to show off the changes that she made to her apartment since they had last visited. “You know, Charlotte,” she said, “I'm beginning to really understand why you like this new technology stuff so much.”

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