He's a lovely boy, my son. Very concerned about me, caring. Why, he gave me this computer. It arrived by carrier one day. I had to sign for it on a little machine. I didn't make a very good fist of it, but the man didn't worry.
“That's O.K., love.”
He whistled as he hopped back into his van and roared off. Of course, he was busy. Had a lot of deliveries that day, I shouldn't wonder.
My computer is called a 'laptop'. It had quite a thick booklet with it and I thought it would take me a long time to get through it the print being so small, but it turned out that only five pages were in English. I looked through all the other languages, Russian, Italian, French, German, Japanese, Saudi Arabian, but they were all Greek to me. (See? As my son says, I haven't lost my sense of humour.) I wasn't sure what to do then, so I just looked at my computer that first day. But I soon had a plan.
Next day I was up really early, standing by the door. I called out to the paper boy as he flew past on his bicycle. He screeched to a halt, flung his bike down and came running over.
“You alright, Missus?”
“Do you know about computers?”
“Computers? 'Course. What about 'em?”
“I have one.” I enjoyed the disbelief written all over his face. It's a long time since I've made anyone look like that. “I need a little help. Could you come back after school? I'll pay you.”
“That'll get you fifteen minutes. Better make it twenty.”
Twenty pounds! But I nodded anyway. I've always been a quick learner, so I considered the money a good investment.
In the end he came back five times, which meant I had to make do with the food already in the pantry for several weeks. But I've lived through a war. I know how to make food stretch. And by the end of the five visits I could not only switch on my laptop, but also play Solitaire, email, and surf the net (see, I even have the lingo). He set me up with an email account and a presence on Facebook and showed me how to do 'instant messaging'.
I must have made many friends around the world, for I get lots of emails every day and some of them are in foreign languages. Some aren't very nice. A lot of people seem to think I want to enlarge my penis, but I don't have one. I kept replying and telling them, but they still wrote. Now, I've stopped replying to those. If I press a little button labelled 'Del', they just disappear so I don't worry too much. It takes me a long time every day to respond to my emails, but people keep sending them even when I don't reply, so it doesn't seem to matter if I miss out on one or two. Some are quite sad. I receive quite a number from a poor African lady whose children are in an orphanage. I try to help her, when I can.
The best thing is, I can talk to my grandchildren now. They were so surprised to see I was on Facebook that lots of their friends have become my friends too and they send little messages about what they're doing. I like that, although I don't always understand what they mean. Why has one of them written, "Move bitch, get out the way, get out the way bitch, get out the way"? What does that mean? I don't know. I've emailed my son, to thank him for the computer, but he hasn't replied yet.
He's a lovely boy. He says he might get to see me soon. But he's very busy, what with work and the house and the family. A mile is a long way when you're busy. But he's so pleased that I've learned to play Solitaire on my computer and he says I can always email him, whenever I want, so I'll never be lonely again. He's such a lovely boy. So very concerned and caring.