My mother, mouse and me

We are never too old to learn.

I’m in a point in my life were everyone seems to be having babies just for the fun of it. One of these “born-with-wifi-babies” amazed me by pointing to my monitor and holding the mouse so she could find her favorite show on Netflix. She is only 2 years old.

But this text is not about how fast babies learn. Quite the opposite, I’m here to tell how slow my mother took to learn to use that same piece of hardware, but some 20 years ago.

Let’s rewind 20 years

My first computer only came to be because my dad was fired without getting paid a cent, and during the bankruptcy process, the only thing he was given for years of hard work was an old Pentium 133 PC. That was the best gift I got and it wasn't even my birthday or Christmas.

I was 7. My mother was 38 years old.

A year later (by that time I was already trying to learn C and patching illegal SNES roms) I notice my mother looking at me and when asked she just said “It would be nice to use the computer if I wasn't this old to learn”. I was very confused thinking about how she was smart enough to teach me how to deal with my math homework and not confident enough to be able to “learn computer”.

So every night I would teach her how to use the computer.

Step 1: Point this and click here.

I have to admit that I probably wasn't the best teacher in the world when I was 8 years old (oh yeah, I turned out to be a teacher some years later), and impatience and rage hit me during most of the first classes. All because I couldn't understand how hard it was to her to learn to use the mouse.

Mom had hard times looking at the mouse in her hand and at the cursor at the monitor at the same time. So I lowered the cursor speed.

Mom couldn't double click fast enough. So I changed that option in Windows 95 too.

She would never get left and right button usage. So I wrote “Right button - Options!” in a post it.

Mom couldn't point and click at the same time without looking at the monitor, the mouse, the little arrow, her hand and then double check it.

So I gave up. Childish, I know.

But she didn't.

I would wake up during the night and I could listen her swearing at the blinking arrow. “Hopeless”, I thought.

Everyday when I was at school she would spend a good half of her mornings doing point and clicking drills. “Persistent”, I finally admitted and decided to resume her computer classes.

Months later she was playing games already. She could type her cooking recipes, painfully slow and just to practice, since we didn't have a printer yet.

Back to the future

Today my parents have a small business and my mom is the secretary/bookkeeper. She knows her Word and my dad is teaching her to how to use complex formulas in Excel.

Some 5 or 6 years ago I bought a digital camera and found out she had a new hobby: Taking pictures and posting on Orkut (after all I’m Brazilian and Facebook took some time to get popular here).
Today she has, last time I checked, over 1500 photos on her Facebook albums and everyday I’m sure to find a motivational quote in my wall posted by her.

I’m 26. My mom is 57 years old.

Her next gift? She wants a tablet after watching me spend some hours with my iPad. Why does she want that for?

“I’d like to touch the glass. So I don’t have to use the damn mouse.”

This was my first post to Medium, so please leave me a comment here or at @beatsme if you have something to say.

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