My mother-in-law doesn’t drive, and until quite recently she’d never used a computer. In terms of shopping, those represent two considerable drawbacks. Maria’s the first to admit she’s a bit long in the tooth to begin driving. But much to the whole family’s surprise, she’s decided to give computers and the internet a go.
As expected, grasping the concepts of screen savers, search engines and URLs has proved a challenge. Nonetheless, the old lady’s determined to master the basics of online shopping, mainly by combining incessant questioning of relatives with constant prayers to Jesus and the Virgin Mary. I don’t know about Jesus and Mary, but we less saintly humans at some point have all considered beating Maria senseless with a keyboard, upon fielding her tenth iteration of: “Tell me again, how do I ‘Goggle’ something?”
Thankfully (for sanity’s sake), Maria’s finally getting the hang of things. A week ago she made her first solo online purchase, successfully ordering two pairs of the HD sunglasses she’d seen advertised on TV. A few days later she stumbled on the Williams Sonoma website. From what I heard, a new Espresso machine and a set of Le Creuset bakeware are consequently en route to the Gambino home.
At this juncture, her largest hurdle (other than my father-in-law’s apoplexy when he sees the charges his wife’s rung up in her new hobby) involves locating unknown websites. The concept of entering targeted inquiries in a search engine continues to elude her. Indeed, just this morning she couldn’t figure out how to find a suitable toy for her granddaughter’s impending fourth birthday. That’s when she called me.
As it happened, I’d already bookmarked a perfect website. It’s called “Tabytoys.com” and it displays links for various sites selling toys for humans and pets of all ages. For a guy like me who despises going to malls, Tabytoys’ collection of related sites seems a godsend.
I thought it’d be good computer practice for Maria if I e-mailed her the link. So I typed the URL into a message and hit “send.”
Twenty minutes later, as I congratulated myself for the easy brownie points I’d earned, Maria phoned again. Though I found it difficult to interpret her confusing blend of Italian and English, I knew a rant when I heard one, especially when it focused on me. I got the gist of the issue eventually. Seems my e-mail had contained a typo. Instead of sending her the link to Tabytoys.com, I’d mistakenly typed “Tabutoys.com.” Tabutoys does sell toys, except they’re slightly more adult in variety than those found through Tabytoys. And apparently, my mother-in-law doesn’t consider the “Shane Diesel 10 inch Cock & Balls” a suitable present for a four-year-old.