Lacking computer skills
Dear Annie: I’m in my 50s and struggling with technology. My two kids are both tech-savvy geniuses (as everyone under the age of 35 seems to be). When they were younger, they were around to help me on the computer, but now they’re both grown and out of the house. I call them when I’m really stumped, but I know they’re getting tired of it. My son has started telling me to “just Google it.” I’m not great at Google, so that isn’t much help.
What’s worse is that last year, I somehow accidentally downloaded a virus that ruined my entire PC, so I ended up buying a Mac laptop. I’ve never had a Mac before, and now trying to do anything beyond checking my email is Greek to me. Although I’m embarrassed to have to keep asking my kids, I think that if one of them could just walk me through using the new laptop, it would be a big help. Would it be wrong of me to ask my son to come set everything up for me?
Dear Low-Tech: Your kids grew up using technology. It’s so second nature to them that they’re not going to make the best teachers on that subject. It would be like trying to explain how to breathe. So though I don’t think it would be wrong of you to ask your son for help, I think you’d be better off enrolling in a class.
Many Apple Stores offer free workshops to help users get acquainted with their products. If you don’t have an Apple Store nearby, many libraries and community centers also offer free or low-cost courses on various computer programs. All this tech stuff isn’t nearly so intimidating as it seems. Believe in your ability to learn and eventually your kids will be calling you for computer help.
Dear Annie: This letter is in response to “Tired of the Empty-Handed,” the woman who is tired of her stepson and daughter-in-law’s not bringing anything with them when she and other family members host dinners. She described them both as “wonderful” yet finds fault in a very minor etiquette issue. Her husband doesn’t want to say anything to his son for good reason: Doing so would create a mountain out of a molehill and a possible rift in the relationship.
Whenever my family has get-togethers, it is made quite clear that the host has invited you for your company, not your stuffed mushrooms.
— Just My Two Cents
Dear Just: I appreciate your big-picture attitude, and I think we should all aspire to it. But there will still always be some things that irk us, and we’re better off communicating about them in a constructive way than bottling up the resentment and waiting to blow.