BEVERLY, MA—A Beverly Farms native got a rude awakening this Christmas when he realized the sole purpose of his family’s holiday invitation was so he could assist his mother with her phone.
“Going home for the holidays used to be an every other year thing. But now that my parents struggle with new technology, they constantly want me to visit,” said Mark Brennan. “Coincidentally, my mom called me to ask that I come home just five minutes after posting this on Facebook: hey siri what are prices for flights from Dallas to Logan for Christmas and how do I turn off flashlight.”
“In 2018 Mom greeted me at Logan with a homemade scarf, a whole menu of food she was planning, and an itinerary with five days worth of activities. This year my mom told me to take the Silver Line to Chelsea, then take an ‘Uber van or whatever,’” Brennan said. “The house had no decorations, no tree. After I closed Photos, Calculator, Weather, Amazon, ESPN, Target, Overdrive, Hoopla, Calendar, CVS, Contact, Fitness, Instagram, Facebook, FaceTime, Candy Crush Saga, Peggle, Apple News, CNN, NESN 360, NPR, WhatsApp, DuoLingo, Safari, Google Chrome, YouTube, Dunkin, and the App Store, she thanked me, suggested I meet some friends for dinner, and went back to watching ‘House Hunters International.’”
“I just didn’t want to make a fuss this year,” Maureen Brennan said. “I just wanted us to all be together and for Mark to figure out why FaceID only works part of the time.”
Mark reported this could have been solved over Zoom, as the instructions for use were diligently dictated at Thanksgiving 2019.
The Brennan family isn’t alone in this type of conflict.
“Parents of a certain age are too proud to admit their difficulties with technology, so they use the ultimate weapon at their disposal–guilt about not visiting,” said Dr. Abigail Ling, Professor of Sociology at Mount Holyoke College. “The holidays are prime time for adult children to explain to their parents why you still need a Netflix account even if you have a Roku or that Google Maps does work, you just have to follow what it says.”
At press time, the Brennan family resolved their misunderstanding and planned to fly down for Mark’s birthday in April, when his father will once again explain what “deductible” means.