Saturday, November 26, 2011


     My father ran into the living room with his new iPad. He looked extra giddy.
     “Hang up the phone, Sarah!” He waved his hand in front of my face to get my attention. “I just figured out how to Skype your sister in Portland.”
     “But I’m talking to her right now,” I said.
     “You’ve gotta see it,” said Dad. “This is unbelievable!”
     I said goodbye to my sister, who said she would wait for the Skype call, then hung up.
     Dad cleared the dining room table with a sweep of his arm. Several pieces of mail fell to the floor, but his attention was focused on the iPad.
     “It’s so easy,” he said, tapping the screen. Several windows appeared and closed, but nothing significant happened. “Wait, I did something wrong…”
     He fumbled with the tablet for a few minutes, then restarted the whole process. “Okay, I think I’ve got it now.” He tapped one more button and the whole screen went blank.
     “You know,” I said, “we can try this on my computer.”
     Dad shook his head. “No, no. It’s not the same.”
     He kept at it. I tried to give suggestions, but he insisted he knew what he was doing. Not wanting to upset him, I decided to keep my mouth shut and went to the kitchen to make a grilled cheese. By the time I was done eating it, I returned to hear the iPad dialing.
     “See? I told you I could do it.” Dad held the machine like a trophy.
     “Hello?” said a voice from the small tablet. It was definitely my sister’s voice, but the image was still blank.
     “Hold on, I can fix this…”
     I started to read a magazine, then watched The Godfather on TV before making dinner. I slid Dad’s plate in front of him at the table, but he was too busy tapping the screen to even look at his food. After cleaning up the dishes, I went to my room and connected with a few friends online. Then I brushed my teeth and got ready for bed.
     At about ten o’clock, Dad burst into my room.
     “I did it!” he said with a big grin. He held up the iPad and I could see a distorted picture of my sister on the screen, waving. She looked tired.
     “Nice work, Dad,” I pulled back my covers. “But you should still knock first.”
     “This was too important,” he said. “Now, don’t you want to say something to your big sister?”
     “Hi sis.” I waved into the tiny camera, then crawled into bed.
     “That’s it? Say something else.” He pushed the iPad in front of my face.
     “But I don’t have anything new to say. We already talked on the phone for two hours this morning. And she texts me every five minutes. And I Skyped her from my laptop after dinner.”
     Dad’s face looked blank, then determined. He pushed the iPad closer. “I said say something.”
     My sister and I chatted for a few minutes, repeating the same conversations we had earlier. Finally, when Dad was satisfied, he kissed me goodnight, turned off the light and left the room. As he closed the door behind him he muttered, “Amazing… just like in Star Trek.”
     The next day, I buried his iPad in the backyard.

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