It was nice to have a long chat with my Dad on Skype last night (long=over an hour, which is an eternity for us chaps). Being able to talk to him as a friend, and not merely in his official advisory role as “My Dad”, is something that seems to have come about as a consequence of talking on Skype.
We can do it when in each other’s physical presence, but it seems somehow easier, paradoxically more “natural”, when mediated through a computer screen and over distances of 100+ miles. I can talk to my Mum on Skype quite happily, too, but she seems to enjoy the experience less and we seldom talk for more than a few minutes (just the two of us) on Skype.
My Dad and I chat on Skype in a way that I don’t chat with other people on Skype – like a sort of “down the pub” chat, but with
less no swearing.
Much of the time conversations between my Dad and myself are quite technical – there’s something wrong with his computer/phone/printer/camera/etc. – and I’m his remote tech support. But that’s fine with me – we both enjoy solving a problem and I happen to be quite good at fixing tech problems without getting impatient or cross – unlike either of my other brothers, neither of whom suffer(ed) fools gladly.
My dad isn’t a fool by any means, he just didn’t grow up with computers.
(technically, I didn’t “grow up” with computers, but sort of straddle the non-computer and computer eras so can negotiate between computers and people who don’t quite understand computers)
When we chat on Skype there’s usually a mutual exchange of information: I’ll advise on his computer/phone/printer/etc. and he will in turn offer me the benefit of his 40-odd years of experience in work, which is a very fair exchange in my opinion. I quite often need a bit of sober common-sense to balance my own expectations and experiences of work. He’s got the been-there-done-that attitude, while I’m blinkered by a doing-it-there-now attitude, and the benefits of this perspective can (sometimes – not always!) be remarkable!
It would be nice to think some more about this Skype-mediation-effect, but I’m writing at work in an attempt to avoid tackling something called a “UK Market Report”.
UK Market Reports are far from being the worst part of my job, but they’re long, technical, lack any literary merit (even after I’ve finished with them) and, worst of all – need looking at now.