March 11, 2006

My Dad's e-mail account

The weather’s been rather odd. Wednesday we had a hot wind blowing in the evening, it registered as 27 degrees on my thermometer, whereas it was 21 degrees inside the house. Thursday we blew off the Corniche while going to school and got pummeled by rain all day. Friday weather was fine, and today I was walking around in my T-shirt.
Thursday morning
Friday morning

My brother just called me and said my Dad had gotten an e-mail account. If I could please check my inbox. This may be quite a simple accomplishment for most people, but for my dad it’s quite a feat. He cannot operate the remote of the TV (prefers to turn it on and off with the button at the screen), does not turn on the radio since the remote of the radio is too complicated, and does not have a video nor a DVD, because he believe all of that is nonsense. His cell phone got forced upon him –my brother actually gave him one – and he prefers it in ‘off’ status, and his hearing aid hasn’t worked for as long as he’s had one.
So acquiring an e-mail address is quite something.
It does not mean he’s actually able to use it. My brothers have been complaining about his use of the computer – forced upon him as well. He makes files disappear. He types, then presses something and the file is gone. On of my brothers is then required to pass by and retrieve it. Last time all his files were in the trash. And they were all empty as well. But then again, he’s 90 years old.

When I just go to Lebanon, e-mail had not reached Lebanon. Or Holland, for that matter. Due to the war conditions, ordinary phone lines didn’t work either. Now and then you could get through on an illegal phone line, but it was hardly convenient. You had those little offices all over the place where you could make international phone calls and fax papers. You do not see those around anymore.
Letters took weeks to arrive. The post office was closed most of the time, and barely functioning anyway. I remember bags and bags of mails stacked up at the airport during the war between Aoun and Geagea (both part of the current political scene in Lebanon; a rather sad statement). I didn’t have a postal box then, and letters were addressed to my street, and the building, and since there were no mailmen, reached me in a rather unorthodox fashion. Or didn’t reach me at all. You know you live in a third world country when your mom starts to number her letters.
All lot has changed in over just 15 years. My home phone works. Letters arrive on time and without fail. I’ve got wireless cable in the house, and throughmy cell phone I can be in touch with anyone anywhere in split seconds.
If changes continue as rapidly as they have in the past 15 years, then by the time I am 90, I don’t think I would attempt anything new. So here’s to my Dad with his new e-mail account.

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