I had called this ..I think 1.) Having all your fingers.. 2.) Fingers 3.) A full set of digits but I’m not really sure any of them convey the sentiment here. So going with what’s above.
I mentioned in an earlier post .. my dad and I spent a couple hours together on the computer, together over the weekend.
It was kind of fun..
He was initially helping me get set up so that I could write here on the blog over the weekend. He had no intention of staying on the computer with me.
We were also getting his new video phone working, so that anytime we’d like now, we can better connect and see each other in the process.
My dad isn’t a big fan of technology.
He heats with a wood stove.
He fixes anything he can himself.
He feeds the birds off his back porch….
Out of his hand.
He’d place a call anyday over typing a note.
In part because he wants to. But also in part, because it is his comfort zone.
I had never really thought much about why that was, until this past weekend.
My dad never grew up on a keyboard. In fact, the typewriter at that time was the only keyboard anyone knew. Growing up on a farm, in a very not well-to-do family, in a very blue collar town, a young boy didn’t spend, I’m assuming a whole lot of time typing anything.
He went into the service after school…. still, no keyboard.
Then his entire career was spent moving up the ranks at a WI manufacturing plant.
On occasion, toward the end of his what, 40+ year career .. he had to input I believe, a few numbers. But pretty much, no typing.
As my life has increasingly moved online and his has not, he and I have both gotten frustrated, respectfully, that we have not found a better way to stay in touch.
After sitting with him Saturday I now better understand why he’s resisted being online.
He doesn’t like typing. He doesn’t understand well, his way around the computer, let alone Facebook. (That is one place we navigated around for a long time this past weekend).
But I also was reminded .. to be honest with you…. he only has half his fingers. Literally. They were sadly, partially chopped off years ago, early in his career, by a very sharp blade on a machine that cut the materials that go into air filters and your furnace. I believe. Its happened to quite a few of his colleagues. And my brother, who today works for the same company, even with safety guards, has almost done the same.
He’s never been all that self conscious about it, or I might be a little more shy about sharing. And I’ve never seen it hold him back, anywhere. Which is why I think I’m so shocked I didn’t realize this before:
It is simply challenging for him to find the keys. It takes him a very long time, because he is not only unfamiliar with where the keys are.. but his fingers can’t reach the keys. So, he pokes along each letter of each word. Looking up occasionally to see if he’s spelled everything right – since the last time he looked up. And when it isn’t, its easier sometimes to just delete and log off, than it is to take the time to painstakingly find each letter again.
He’d rather be out feeding the birds.
As ironic as this sounds, I think I need to start putting my cell phone down more often if I’m going to start talking more with my dad. Because of my schedule, typically, I don’t call. I text. It is my preferred method of communication in part because its what works. Not always practical, I know. He, on the other hand, doesn’t even have a cell. He has a home phone. And he calls. (And now, thanks to one of my colleagues, a new videophone). Perhaps after spending a couple hours together walking through the likes of Facebook.. he’ll find it more user friendly, and he’ll use it! We are off, for the record, to a really good start.
In the meantime, we will both keep trying our best to connect, however that looks.
And to that, we both hit the “Like” buttom. Definitely worth a thumbs up (fortunately, he does still have both of those)!
My father and I have the same communication relationship as you do with your father. He grew up on a farm in North Dakota without a keyboard and the thought of typing makes his stomach sick. What type of video phone did you purchase and what type of device do you use to speak with him? I would like to get my dad more involved with my child, but skype just isn’t his thing. Thank you for sharing this story.
Abbey, I’ll send you a link to info about the phone if you’d like .. to your gmail address? We love ours .. and my daughter’s about to call him again for us tonight. I can’t otherwise get her to want to return phone calls!
Yes, you can send the information to my gmail address. Is the address attached to this reply or do I need to send it to you?
Abbey, Got it. Apologies for not following up sooner! I’ll shoot you an email shortly!