Addicted to the Palm

January 29, 2003

“Jack on Queen. Thirty times eighteen. I can beat the formula, I swear I can!”

These aren’t mixed up comments I’ve overheard on the street. They’re my words as I’m playing with Santa’s gift to me. I got a PDA for HOHOHO time. For all you non-techies out there, that’s a Palm Pilot. I’m sad to say, that this isn’t the best possible gift for me. Let me explain why.

I got clued-in in November that Larry had some extravagant ideas for Christmas this year. I really have no other possibility since Larry is in a wheelchair and not everything in our house is on the first shelf of every closet. This is especially true of rarely used items like the seasonal packaging or wrapping paper we have. I hate buying wrapping paper, using it once and chucking it out. So, I admit, I’m that horrible person your mother was when you grew up: “Now, Amy, unwrap it carefully — we can use the paper again!”

Did you have to fight with Christmas paper slathered in Scotch tape? I certainly did. Mother not only wanted the package well wrapped and impossible to guess the contents of, but also protected from accidental ripping. That way I wouldn’t know what it was. Apparently this ripping would take place by the Abominable Snowman: because that’s the only being that would be able to get into that much Scotch-taped packaging!

So this year, Larry and I were opening gifts he “bought in auctions, found dirt cheap on the Internet” or thought we needed badly. He loaded up the Christmas bag so deep I was getting weak kneed. I admit I was getting worried that I’d look bad:or would that read “cheap”?

I was feeling frustrated about what to get him – like usual. I found silly goodies I thought he might like, as well as one or two good ones. And then the fateful day arrived. Sheesh! No wonder it’s such a stressful holiday and suicides go soaring. I felt panic-stricken that my gifts couldn’t compare to his! Well, I know it’s not a competition, but that’s what was rolling around in me and I have to be honest. I found myself slipping in unscheduled trips to Chinook Mall! That in itself is a nightmare just before the holiday. The people! Oh Lord!! Where do they come from? Surely they import them from out of town! The cars on the road! Holy Yule Logs!! They have to be sitting at the car dealers the rest of the year! Don’t they?? I bought gifts in there as if a box of someone’s designer chocolate, at four times the price, was a great gift. I KNEW they would wind up sitting squarely on my thighs, but I bought them anyway.

I really was lost this year. Usually he asks me what I want for Christmas and that’s exactly what I get. This year he got imaginative. I liked it.

And then the day arrived. We snuggled in next to the fireplace and started to open up the presents.

Out came the Palm. I’d like to say I like it -it’s terrific, but I’m the one that files away the receipts for warranties and I saw the price! ACK! Oh my:

I kept thinking that maybe we could pay a good-sized bill with what he spent on it. I am a cheap Scottish girl and my mother’s warning that “we can use the paper again” was ringing in my ears, so I played with it. I found the plastic poker doohickey (stylus) very annoying at first. If I was on the text pad it liked to select the number or letter next to where I was aiming. I found my patience wearing. I then got some tips from the hubby -a.k.a. Computer Guy. He set me on the right path for the most part, but for some reason he steps away and the !#$@ thing doesn’t listen to me anymore. I swear Larry speaks fluent Computer!

Larry found a shopping list program on the Internet and we bought and installed it proudly. I found myself happily recording what stores I bought items at, as well as making a mental note to record what aisle the items were in! Ohhh it will be SO handy! Soap: bacon:toilet paper:

Then I found the Spider Solitaire. Oh dear. My favourite time waster is now in a smaller format. Where are my glasses? Okay, do we own a microscope? I then found a free-ware package software set, which has different games. Then the real problems kicked in. “Hello, my name is Laura and I’m a free-ware solitaire addict.” How many meetings will it take until I can walk past a computer store without tearing in?

I played. And I played some more. What? Is it dinnertime already? The movie? Huh? What happened? Seriously. This game is annoying. I KNOW I can win! And my Christmas dinner and those extra chocolates are still sitting on my thighs.

ENOUGH!

I finally screwed up my courage and handed the Palm to the hubby. “Please get rid of it.”

“The Palm?!” my worried husband cried.

“NO!! The games!! I go over to add in a shopping item and then I’m stuck. I can’t put the @!$#^ thing down! I sit on the couch all day and play games. I have a house to clean. I have an exam to study for.” I sobbed, crawled over on my knees and begged him to free me from my hideous addiction! Okay: I didn’t. But you get the idea. I am game-less now. It’s the only way.

But now I’ve discovered one other little problem:shoppers HATE me poking at the thing in the grocery store as I buy food for the week. Cancel this one:add that item to the list. Aisle thirty-seven. They huff and puff and they want to blow my Palm down! I’m getting the idea that a scrap of paper might be a safer idea:sigh! Here, dear:play with YOUR Palm Pilot. I have to go make a shopping list:on paper.

Laura Seymour first published herself, at age 8. She has since gone on to publish a cookbook for the medical condition Candida. She is working toward her B.A. (Psyc).

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