My mother has been visiting her small town of Buenaventura, Chihuahua in Mexico for the past two weeks. I’ve missed her and some of the daily rituals in which we engage. These rituals are, on occasion, annoying (i.e., the twice daily phone calls at times certain, the weekend manicure sessions, the early morning weekend walks, and the constant advice she feels the need to give), but I admit that I have missed the time they allow us to share. In thinking about the fun times I have with my mom, I remembered a funny one, too.
So, my mother is a limited English-speaker. She can understand on occasion, but if things get too complicated, she doesn’t really get it. This means that if you speak to her too quickly, or if you give her instructions, she doesn’t catch them. Additionally, if the situation is a pressing one, as in you’re asking her to hurry her comprehension or make a quick decision, she reacts by going blind or deaf (I think she makes the latter up to mask her embarrassment at not being able to help, but I’ll let her believe she’s gone blind or deaf).
In any event, one of the things my mother has problems with is catching the callback numbers people leave on her answering machine. Before she had a machine that could have its messages checked remotely, I had to go to her house to help her. Then we got the machine. Our first experiment in remote answering went like this:
Mom: Me recoges el mensaje, por favor.
Me: (I call my mom’s house).
Me: Mom, you’re not supposed to answer.
Mom: Ok, ok.
Me: (I call my mom’s house again).
Me: MOM!! Don’t answer the phone!
Mom: Ok, but call me back.
Finally, on the third try we got it and haven’t had any issues since. I think of this exchange often because it provides me with some insight into the difficulty of getting used to new things provided by the opportunity to live a long life, in a country with opportunities different than those you thought you would have.
© Laura Genao 2006