My dad is in the Crimea!
He created a gmail account soon after landing in Europe when he was having difficulty opening his regular email. This means he is very new to the world of web-based email applications. He had had previous experience with Hotmail, and is awe-struck by the functionality of Google mail.
When I was checking my email yesterday, I saw that he was on-line, so I initiated a chat with him. You know how that works, right? If your friends with gmail are online there is a green dot next to their name...
He was surprised that a chat box would come up. Wondered how I knew he was online. (I had to explain this to him a few times). We chatted for about an hour, I'd say, and it was actually a pretty good conversation.
See, when we talk on the phone, it is usually hours and hours of him doing most of the talking. About 80% of the content is stuff I've heard before, sometimes hundreds of times (not exaggerating, believe me). So usually, because I'm on Skype, I have my headset on so my hands are free to knit while he is talking away...
But with typing, I am way faster than he is, so this whole chatting thing was more my game. We talked about sending text messages (he just got his first cell phone ever last month; I have been a cell phone user since 2003). I told him it's especially fast for me now because I have a QWERTY keyboard on my iPhone.
"What's a QWERTY keyboard?"
(Thus followed the history of typewriters, how the hammers with the letters on them needed to be arranged so that the ones that were used most frequently were far enough apart so as not to get stuck.) (Now that we have computer keyboards, this arrangement is no longer necessary but we are so used to how it is that it makes no sense to change.)(I would hate to learn a new keyboard. It would mean rearranging my entire brain.)
This kind of surprised me, actually. This is a man who assembles and repairs computers for a living, claims to be up to date with state-of-the-art technology.
He only heard about Skype a few months ago, just discovered gmail, and only learned how to chat for the first time yesterday.
You know how on gmail chat if you want to send a :-) to someone you type colon/hyphen/end parentheses? I did that and he asked me how I got that 'cute little thing' on there. I guess it is a generational thing. He's a hunt-and-peck keyboarder. I fly along at 80wpm.
So yeah, that was an interesting cultural experience. ("Interesting Cultural Experience", btw, shall now be referred to as I.C.E. I use this expression a lot when I'm trying to understand a new concept or understand why people do the things the way they do.)
As for the whole being in Europe thing, he is currently in Kerch. On the Black Sea. I guess he went for a swim in the Black Sea (ew. Isn't that one of the most polluted bodies of water on the planet?) and hurt his back. He was laid up for a week, it took several days before he was able to sit up at his laptop. I hope he has people helping him, but he's not so good with these kinds of details.
I asked him if he has posted his pictures anywhere. He said 'why?'.
(This is obvious, isn't it? I mean, why would someone ask if your photos were posted? Because they want to see them, right?)
Because I'd like to see them, I said.
(He's in eastern Europe for crying out loud! The place of thousands of years of interesting history and architecture! And I've never been there.
I said "how is the food? What is it like?"
"The coffee here is really strong."
(By this time I'm getting exasperated. My dad is obviously not a good storyteller nor reporter. If I was in Europe, I'd be going on about the music, the architecture, the art, the food, the colourful people. He just complains that they don't have debit machines in shops, that you have to carry cash).
I guess he is a man on a mission: to find a wife. Galina from Kiev and Olga from St. Petersburg didn't work out, so now it's Tamara from Kerch. The saga continues. This is nothing if not interesting.