“–been looking forward to seeing you,” Audrey’s message started.
Apparently she didn’t wait for the beep.
“Well, it went pretty well at the dentist today. I wanted to tell you, I can’t get that darn machine. It’s like it’s frozen or something. So anyway, I’m looking forward to lunch tomorrow. We’ll go and have a beer — whether it’s a root or an ale or a nice Coors. Anyway, we’ll celebrate that you’re moving on. And I did, I had a nice birthday. So, have a good day, the rest of it, it’s almost 4:16. So, I’ll say au revoir.”
I arrived at Audrey’s house at exactly 1:15 this afternoon, as she requested, to pick her up for my farewell/her birthday lunch.
“Which door are you at?” I heard her yell from the foyer when I knocked.
“The garage!” I yelled back. The door swung open.
“Oh! Don’t you look — you’ll need a sweater! You’ll freeze in what you’re wearing!” she insisted.
“It’s over 70 degrees today,” I replied. “I’ll be just fine. But thank you.”
“Come in, come in!” she ushered me. “Come into my room. I’ll get you a sweater.”
I followed her into her room and she handed me a black and white striped hoodie.
“It should be nice,” she said. “It cost me $50.00.”
I put the hoodie on over my t-shirt.
“Now, before we go, I wanted to show you something,” she said, sitting down at her computer. “I don’t know how to use this thing. This Gmail. I see the ‘To’ and I see the ‘Subject’ but I don’t see the message part.”
About 15 minutes later, not only had I shown Audrey how to use the mouse to scroll down the page, (though she insisted that she had to move the arrow with the mouse, but click the mouse using the laptop’s touchpad), but we had sent three emails in the process.
One was to her daughter. “Subject: Jillian. Message: Jillian has arrived for lunch.”
The second was to her grandson. “Subject: Glasses. Message: My glasses arrived today. Now I can actually see. I read your essay. Brilliant!”
The third was to herself. “Subject: None. Message: None.”
I showed her how to view her sent mail, which consisted of those three emails, and her inbox, which consisted of only emails from herself to herself, with subjects like, “Test” and “Did you get this message?” and “Is this sending?”
Finally, we headed out the door and to the restaurant, not before Audrey grabbed a winter jacket to wear over her long-sleeved shirt and cashmere cardigan.
Once in the restaurant, we took our seats in a booth and perused the menu. “Let’s sit by the bar and give everyone something to talk about,” she said.
Audrey complained to the hostess that our waitress was slow in getting to our table. I ordered a root beer, and she ordered a Miller Lite with a straw, (after causing a fuss that the restaurant didn’t serve Coors.)
We had a delicious lunch and chatted. She told me about her grandkids, her ex-husband and her favorite jobs. When I ordered hummus, she insisted that if I love hummus, I’ll love Israel, and that I must travel there as soon as possible, but “not until five years from now when the fighting stops.”
“Would you mind running a quick errand with me?” Audrey asked when we had finished lunch.
“Sure,” I replied. “What do you need?”
“I want to go to that free school, that university. I want to see about computer classes for my Gmail and the Dell.”
“Ok,” I smiled.
So, off to the Colorado Free University we went. Poor Mary Jean in the registration office struggled to explain the different computer classes offered while Audrey told her all about her grandchildren. Finally, I helped Audrey decide to enroll in “Intro to Windows 7” and “Intro to Email and Web,” though she was adamant that she was too advanced for those classes.
“I already know how to turn it on!” she demanded to Mary Jean. “And I Gmailed today. My little friend here showed me before lunch. Ok, ok. I’ll do it. How many kids will be in my class?”
We returned to Audrey’s house after leaving the school. She invited me inside for ice cream, but I told her I really needed to get back to packing, so she retrieved some Dove chocolates from the candy jar on her counter for me instead. Oh, and a Hall’s cough drop. “They’re delicious!”
I wrote down my address and email in her address book and gathered the same information from her. “If I can figure out how to Gmail, I’ll be able to send you messages all the time!” she exclaimed. We vowed to be pen pals and hugged goodbye.
“Stay thin!” she waved, as I backed my car out of her driveway.
“You too!” I waved back. She rolled her eyes.
“I’ll miss you,” she shouted.
“I’ll miss you, too,” I said.
And I really will.