The internet hates my parents

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My folks set the bar high.

They’ve made it through forty years of marriage and then some.

Their BMIs are in a respectably safe zone and they raised a beautiful daughter who only comes to them for cash handouts in extreme fashion emergencies.

They hardly drink and haven’t smoked since the sixties. My mother has never even had a speeding fine.

Mum and Dad’s house is a June Dally Watkins, pearls in place, coiffed hair style of perfect. My mother’s favourite saying is “a place for everything, and everything in its place”.

My house, in comparison, is a bra-straps showing, unbrushed hair, green bit of food stuck in the teeth situation at all times, even right after I’ve spent an hour tidying up. I just can’t reach that state of cleanliness that my parents call normal.

Mum and Dad’s life is clean, structured and organised. Just like a communist dictator, they’ve got everything under control. Except for one thing.

The internet.

The internet is like a wild beast. It can smell fear. And man, my folks reek.

The entire world wide web hates my parents. Like a crazed ex-girlfriend, the internet is out to mess with their minds. I don’t know what they ever did to the internet, but it is more hell-bent on revenge than Daenerys Targaryen.

I’m as web-savvy as an orb weaver spider, and at first I thought it was their rapidly shrinking brains that was hindering Mum and Dad from effectively using “The Google”. Then I lived with them for a short period of time and I saw that was not the case. It really is personal.

The other night Dad was trying to send an email. It bounced back repeatedly and eventually his repeated sighs of exasperation incited me to press pause on America’s Next Top Model and get up to help him. We checked the website of the company and he had the address right. We even rang to confirm their inbox wasn’t full. They’d been receiving emails all day. Never-the-less, the damn thing just wouldn’t send.

I have sat with my parents while they consulted their little black book of online logins and passwords, (which they helpfully keep right next to the computer) and tried to assist them in accessing their online bank account. No luck, so we spent half an hour on the phone to the bank and reset the password. We dutifully wrote it down, logged in and transferred the money I needed for something really important (I think it was shoes) into my bank account. The next day, that same password WOULD NOT WORK.

Mum tried to change her address using the Medicare website. I could almost hear the internet laughing in her face. She gave up and rang for help. “That’s funny,” said the woman on the phone, “normally it just works, but I can see that it won’t do it for you.”

WTF internet???

Everything in cyberspace hates my parents. The online connection times out at crucial moments, takes forever to load simple pages, refuses to display the same search results for them more than once and even one time it confirmed a $2000 bid instead of $20.00 on a piece of eBay frippery my mother had her eye on. Sitting in the same room as them while they try to book a flight online is more excruciating than watching John Travolta at the Oscars.

Is it solely my parents who are on the receiving end of the internet’s vindictive ways? Has it singled them out because of their innocent vulnerability and the fact that Mum still carries around a Nokia that she purchased in 2005? Is it simply waging a terrible campaign of ageism?

The worst thing about this is that I am the nearest thing my parents have to tech support. Which makes me believe the wily beast that is the internet hates me too.

Clea Sherman is a freelance writer. Image by Arkadiusz Sikorski

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