The ice seems to have melted. I called mum, she's holed up in Kansas City which, according to her, has been declared a disaster area. She says she's bored and is planning to get her hair cut tomorrow. I tried to explain that if she were really in a disaster area getting her hair done wouldn't be so high on the priority list, but I don't think she got it so we talked about resumes.
Through the grapevine (okay, my mother) I heard my sister has made no effort to fix her computer, which won't run programs 70% of the time. It's too much for her to print out the million-word e-mail I typed for her giving step-by-step instructions on how to reinstall windows and update her network card drivers without screwing up her system. At the same time I'm reading a wonderful book... "Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance", where the main character is going on about how some people just hate technology, and mask their fear by not dealing with it. It's not that they aren't smart, just that they don't want to try, they'd hate to risk breaking it worse or something. My sister is like that maybe.
It was weird fixing Dad's computer over Christmas because at one point he was like, "I need stuff off the old hard drive, will you put it back in?" I told him he wasn't doing anything, go upstairs, open the case, unplug the new one, and plug the old one it, it wasn't hard. And he was like, "But you're the one who does this."
It struck me as really odd because Dad always does everything technical or maintenance-related in our house. Three years ago he didn't even let me take his computer apart to switch out the modem, I think me putting together my own machine boosted his confidence in me a bit (actually, it boosted my confidence in me a bit too). But for him to now say he'd rather me do the computer stuff than him is odd.
My sister, on the other hand, has never even tried to do anything technical, mechanical, physical, or even spiritual (hah! seriously!). She's a comfort zone girl in an awful way - new restaurants make her nervous because she's not perfectly sure of the protocol, and she's totally willing to hand over all that is broken in the world to someone claiming they can fix it, freely admitting that she knows nothing and is an idiot in the area. My sister isn't an idiot, she's very smart, if she put her mind to it she could un-idiot herself in any area, she just doesn't want to. I don't understand. She actually gets more giggly and dumb-sounding around computer people who offer to help, where as I tend to get more confident and act like I know things I don't. Pick your poison.
I guess I don't expect everyone in the world to be on "Junkyard Wars" and try to get a job in the IT industry, but it seems odd that so much of the population wants no part of what seems so basic to me. Updating drivers. Filling bike tires with air. Jump starting a car. And things that I don't know how to do I'd be willing to learn, with instructions or a knowing friend helping me along the way. What made me like that? Genetics? Do I have an "okay with this technology thing" gene?
My mom doesn't use ATM machines. Doesn't even want to learn. She's just fine going to the grocery and writing a cheque for cash when she needs it. Maybe my sister just got that gene, and I got my Dad's, kind of like I got his hair color and different sized feet.
I know I'm not the first person to ever think about this.