"Why is the battery dead already? This is ridiculous. I had it plugged in all night and I'm already down to 65%." The struggle was real for 70 year old Grammy B. Technology and her did not get along very well. Every night she would plug in her phone to charge while she slept, and every day without fail it would come up short.
“Um, Mom,” Diedra said patiently, “it would help if you would actually turn your phone off when you were done using it.”
“I hang up when I’m done,” Grammy B huffed. At least she knew how to do that correctly.
“No, no mom,” Diedra shook her head. This had become a daily conversation she had with her mom. Although the thought of dementia or Alzheimer's settling in had crossed her mind, Diedra knew her mom was not at that point in life. Not yet at least.
“You have to put your phone to sleep. Here, let me show you,” Diedra said, gently taking the phone from her mom. “Like this. See the side button? You just have to push it once.” She clicked the side button and handed the darkened phone back to her mom.
“I don’t see the difference,” her mom said, turning the phone back on.
Diedra took a deep breath before continuing on with this redundant conversation.
“The difference is, when you put the phone in your pocket without putting it to sleep some of your apps accidentally open. That is what is draining your battery.” It was a losing battle, one in which Diedra was determined her mom would one day understand.
“You know what you gotta do,” her dad chimed in from his swivel chair. “You gotta turn the brightness down. I started doing that on my tablet and I’ve saved a ton of battery life.”
“Dad, seriously? You aren’t helping right now.” Of course, her dad was always right. If you weren’t doing things his way you were doing it all wrong. This coming from a man who had no clue how to check messages on his tablet, even though there was a bright red dot hovering over a green message bubble on his home screen indicating someone wanted to talk with him.
“If you would just listen to me…” he mumbled.
“Why can’t people just stick with landlines?” her mom digressed. “You never had to worry about a battery draining or answering every single call. There’s too much pressure with this thing.” She shoved the phone back in her pocket.
“Geesh, mom!” Diedra tried to contain her frustration as much as possible. “You just did it again!”
Diedra reached around to her mom’s back pocket where she had so hastily shoved her phone.
“Look,” Diedra said, holding up the phone. “It’s still on! And,” Diedra glanced at the phone and rolled her eyes, “you just found a Pokemon in the backyard!”
“Oh,” her mom said, taking the phone back. “I completely forgot I had that app on the phone. I need to start Pokemon hunting again…”
“MOM!” Diedra shouted. “You are totally missing the point!”
“The point is,” her mom said firmly, “I need a new battery. What if I were out hunting and gathering Pokemon and my battery died. Then what?”
“Oh my goodness, mom. I think if you were out ‘hunting’ and the battery died you would have bigger issues.”
“Bigger issues like what?”
“Like how are you going to call me to tell me you are lost? I’ll never find you and then you’ll be on the evening news. I can see it now. Headline: 70 year old grandma, lost hunting Pokemon because of a dead phone battery. I would be looked at as the world’s worst daughter.”
“Well, they wouldn’t look at you that way if you had gotten me a new battery,” her mom replied.
Diedra smacked her hand to her forehead. It was no use. Nothing she could say would get her mom to understand the proper use of a cell phone.
Just then, Diedra’s phone rang. She pulled it out of her pocket, checked to see it was her husband calling and proceeded to answer.
“Hi mommy,” came the sweet little voice of her six year old daughter.
“Oh, hi honey! What’s up? I was just talking with grammy and grampy.”
“You’re with grammy and grampy right now? Can I talk to them?”
Then it hit Diedra. This was her chance to show her mom the importance of a properly charged cell phone. She knew how much her parents loved talking to their granddaughter, so she was hoping this plan would work.
“Sure honey, but I have an idea,” Diedra glanced over at her mom who was practically grabbing the phone out of her hand. She never missed an opportunity to talk to her granddaughter.
“Why don’t you hang up with me and call grammy on her cell phone?”
Grammy instantly panicked. She started waving her hands, indicating it was a bad idea, but Deidra couldn’t help herself. It was now or never.
“Ok, mommy. Love you. Bye!”
“Love you too!” Diedra hung up her phone, put it to sleep, then slid it in her pocket.
“Why would you do that? My phone is practically dead!” her mom said after she hung up.
“Mom, you know I love you. But you are going to need to learn how to keep that phone alive, especially if you want to talk to your granddaughter. There are going to be times in life when she gets older that she’ll need to talk to you, need comfort from you, and heaven forbid she may even need you to bail her out of some mischief someday.
“But how will she be able to do that if you are walking around with your phone on and running 24/7?” It was a valid point, and hopefully it was sinking in.
“I guess I’ll just have to go out and buy portable phone chargers. If you won’t help me then I'll just have to help myself.”
Diedra just shook her head.