Tag Archives: heart of darkness

Ground Rules, part the second


I will never share a television, computer, phone, or any yet to be invented method of technology with the Olds. This does not mean that I am not free to use any of these items that they possess, because indeed, the Olds would not be able to use several of them if I did not turn them on for them first thing in the morning. But: I will never be in any way responsible for their understanding of technology, I will never help them acquire new versions of it, and I most certainly will never be responsible for helping them set up anything more confusing than a blender.

Do not judge me, for you know not my struggle. Yet.

The Olds between them possess:

2 iPhones. They have Verizon. I have AT&T. They believe that iPhones serviced by different companies are entirely different and even though I have one, the way theirs are set up, I really can’t answer questions about their phones.
There are sins worse than lies. Believe me.

An iPad. Maybe two. I know one of them had one, and then he got a new one for Christmas. I do not know what happened to the original iPad. I will not ask, for fear that it will be offered to me, and then I will have to ask questions that can never be answered, such as, what is your Verizon password? What is your Netflix password? Was this once cheese? Why is it stuck to the webcam? And the speaker?

2 landline phones, 1 of which is a dedicated fax line—FAX.


The other landline is attached to several cordless phones. I am not sure how many. It may be nine. It could be four. On the main floor of the house, where I spend a few hours at most per day, I know that there are at least two bases for said phones. This never corresponds properly to the number of handsets. Either there is one, none, or four. Do not ask me questions that no living human can answer. This is just how it is.

There was once an extension of this landline on my floor. Sadly, it broke. It attempted to balance itself on top of a bookshelf, and one day, it threw itself to the floor. I tried to revive it, and succeeded only in accidentally removing the handset from its cord. And then, the poor thing put itself into the trash, and asked to be removed from the house entirely. What could I do, but grant it this last wish? So I did.

On the second floor, where I try to keep my visits as infrequent and short as possible, the handsets are legion and the bases must be invisible. This is not my problem, and may it ever so remain.

Approximately 3 working computers. I think. There are sometimes laptops in places like the garage which seem as though they must not be in use, since one of them has been sitting on an old chair for about two years*.

Each Old has a laptop, and then the primary income generating Old also has a desktop in his lair, aka as his “office”. Actually, he has one that works. There are other parts of what I believe were once computers in there. Most of them are on or strewn around a lovely old antique desk. They seem to be from different generations of technological advancement. I never speak of them, for fear I might be asked to do something with them.

At all costs, I avoid mentioning or doing anything that might cause the Olds to ask me anything about any technology. Ever. Sometimes this means that I must leave the house and pretend that my phone is dead for a few days. Sometimes, I must fake a severe double ear infection. Sometimes, I resort to covering my ears with both hands and shouting “LALALALA I AM NOT LISTENING I AM NOT LISTENING” until their mouths stop moving or I can run away or both. Whatever works.

This rule is the only way that I can continue living here, and the only way that the Olds may survive to operate their technology another day.

I am using the word “operate” in its most general and flexible sense here, for much of what they do with and to technology cannot really be deemed anything but abuse. I include here their interactions with the poor Macbook which lives in the kitchen. This sad little machine is used primarily to check e-mail, look up recipes, hold down cookbooks, open as many browser windows as possible as what I assume must be some kind of game, to check Facebook, (where only one of them has an account, which is in no way connected to my account as this is a subset of the technology ground rule: Absolutely no interaction with me on social media. Ever. For any reason.) and to read the local newspaper, even though the paper copy is usually to be found right next to it. Even though this Mac of course does not have a touchscreen, someone leaves a lot of floury and/or greasy fingerprints on the screen. And sometimes there are crumbs in the keyboard.
Sometimes, those crumbs look like they might be from dog food. I have never checked to see if there are noseprints on the screen. And will not.
I am so sorry, little Macbook.

Included in the technology arsenal of the Olds are also TVs. These will require their own, separate entry, and for me to have calmed down from today’s conversation about such in order to write it.


* Wait.
I just realized. That one belongs to me!! Whoa. I should probably see if it works.

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