Wednesday, February 4, 2009

It's an H of a Day

I went to visit my grandparents today with the expectation of going to the Old Folks' Home with my grandfather to play music for them.  But he didn't feel up to it and I spent 4 hours longer then I anticipated at their house.


My grandfather and grandmother are always happy to see me when I visit.  I usually play the violin with my grandfather who assumes because I have natural talent on the violin that I should automatically know every single fiddle song there is. "How about Pony Boy? Love Lifted Me? Danny Boy? No?"  So out of 7 or so visits I've made there, we've played "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" at least 21 times since it's the only song I know.  He always gives me this look when I shake my head because I can't recognize the song he's playing.  It's a look that says, "I sure don't understand what his teacher sees in him! He can't even recognize his alma mater song!"  He always asks me what songs I play on the violin which truthfully I can only play the one.  The rest of the time I practice scales and try to build up muscle memory to get the correct notes.  But I can tell he doesn't really think much of scales or learning all of the notes on the violin's fingerboard.  

My grandmother views me as something a little less than a technical genius.  "Do you think you can reprogram my computer? I've forgotten my password and I need my email and things to work."  I'm the least competent computer person I know.  When something goes wrong on my computer, I start slamming my head against the wall, revive, and then see if the problem's fixed itself. If it hasn't I start offering sacrifices and libations in the form of computer chips and contact cleaner to the computer.

Today she asked me to look at her telephone. I glanced at it and immediately said, "Oh, the LCD is burned out or there's maybe a short or something in there," which set her off: "Oh, do you think you could fix it? Do you know of anyone who could fix it? We really need the caller ID to work."  My eyes glassed over and I stammered out technobabble: "OH, well I think they don't repair telephone handsets these days. It's all market leader loss examples with people buying cheap phones and throwing them away when they wear out, though I guess you could buy a new one and get a long distance circuit including your circle of friends."  I'm not saying that she has high expectations for me to keep up with technology, but if a bomb fell off one of the jets stationed near the chAir Force base and landed in their backyard, my grandmother would call me up and say, "Dear, a bomb fell in our backyard marked 'HE' and I just know you can come over and defuse it without us having to get the police and ATF agents involved who'll trample over my begonias. Will you?"

But today was a back and forth day between my grandfather and grandmother:
"It's fernal cold outside. I'm fernal cold in here."
"Well, turn the gas logs on."
"No, they bother you. I'll just sit here and freeze."
"I think the television's loud enough."
"I can't hear you, crazy!"
"I SAID I THINK IT'S LOUD ENOUGH!"
"WHAT?! I NEED TO TURN THE TV DOWN TO HEAR YOU! what did you say?"
"I SAID I THINK IT'S LOUD ENOUGH!"
"YOU DON'T HAVE TO YELL!"

My grandfather really summed up my worst fears when he turned to me and said, "You'll have this to look forward to when you get old" as my grandmother yelled into the telephone "There's something wrong with our PHONE! We need it repaired!"


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