I was talking to my brother last night, he lives in the UK, in order to wish him a Happy Birthday and could not resist a little gentle teasing. Although he has had a desktop computer for years he has not yet really got around to using it. Even a simple email seems to beyond the capacity of himself and his wife. I am not suggesting that this is because of any lack of native wit, he was a Pathologist in his previous life, but rather, that in his days, one used a dictaphone and some little girl came rushing to his aid and did the actual typing of letters and reports. During the course of our conversation, I was totally amazed when he said that he was considering venturing into the world of online shopping as he felt that his clothes no longer reflected his once exalted position. Whilst in no way wishing to lessen his new-found enthusiasm, I did wonder how he would manage this venture that can be so fraught with perils.
Even I, who am a lot more technical savvy than he, can find navigating around some sites full of difficulties. I tried giving him some straight forward advice along the lines of getting the helpful postman, who does most of his computer work ie getting into YouTube so he can listen to his favourite Alkan. Have you heard of that composer? No? Neither had I. Apparently he was a contemporary of Lizt and Chopin. He wrote piano compositions almost too technically difficult to play and devoid of all human feeling. My opinion; apologies to any other aficionados of the dreaded Alkan out there. The advice re the postman was not well received, so I suggested ringing up his daughter in Scotland, giving her his measurements and letting her do the lot. Again, no. I do not think that his refusal was due to any lack of trust in his daughter’s probity as regards her knowing his credit card numbers, nor was it any embarrassment about her knowing the intimate details of his neck and inside-leg measurements, that gave him cause to pause. Rather, I believe it was a sudden attack of independence, I will do it myself, stubbornness. However, being privy to the domestic disputes that the assembling of a certain vacuum cleaner caused in the family home, I worry that attempts to shop online can only lead to more tears before bed-time.
Perhaps I am being too pessimistic about my brother’s ability to learn new skills. I have heard of one elderly gentleman who became so concerned about his appearance if his relations should decide on a “viewing” when he had finally shuffled off his mortal coil, that he decided that he needed to purchase new clothes for the occasion. No transport was available, so he felt that he had to resort to his computer. I think he had a little more experience than my brother, and managed to buy a new suit, a smart shirt, a lovely silk tie, and to finish, new shoes and socks. On receipt of all his new garments he tried them on and was well pleased with the result. They fitted perfectly and were tasteful without being ostentatious. Indeed, he looked a dapper fellow!
Sadly though, he decided he wanted to look as elegant on the fateful day he was going to get to wear all his smart new clothes, as he did when he viewed himself in his mirror, so he hung them all in his wardrobe where I trust they still remain. I believe he has informed his friends and relations that these are the clothes he wishes to wear whilst attending his own funeral.
As for my brother and his attempts to order online, I really do think it might be safer for him to enlist help and to break himself into the world of Windows by learning to send and receive emails.