Sunday, 1st November 2020

The five emotional phases of teaching a grandparent to send a text

IF you want to go from being patiently helpful to a murderous rage in a matter of minutes, try teaching an elderly person to send a text message. Here are the phases you’ll go through.

Patient kindness

It’s important for old people to stay connected, so you sit down with nan to help her learn what to you is an incredibly basic task, but to her appears to be a cross between programming the Enigma machine and defusing a bomb. You feel like Mother Theresa.

Vague irritation

As the minutes tick interminably by and she still hasn’t opened the right app, you start to want to grab the phone off her and do it yourself. This is a woman who used to understand the mysteries of a manual telephone exchange, how hard can a sodding iPhone be?

Full blown annoyance

You have an increasing desire to aggressively snatch the phone from her as she holds it two centimetres from her spectacles to see the tiny letters. Entire species have evolved and died out in the amount of time it takes her to type the word ‘Hi’. You are deeply regretting starting this.

Vicious anger with violent impulses

Having watched your nan type out a message and delete it 14 times because she couldn’t make her mind up between putting ‘Hi’ and ‘Hello’ at the beginning, you have bitten your lip so hard out of sheer frustration that it’s bleeding. You realise you want to shake her very hard so sit on your hands until they go numb.

Blind murderous rage

Having finally sent a message it emerges that she has instantly forgotten how she did it and asks you to help her all over again, beginning from switching the phone on. You leave the room before doing something you really regret.