Saturday, an Indonesian church rented our building to hold their church service. A crew of young members arrived early to set everything up, and a young boy, no older than eight or nine, was standing in the hall, looking a bit bored. He came to the counter and I expected him to order a “Chocomel” (chocolate milk) or a pack of Mentos. He asked me for the wi-fi code. I thought it was kind of sweet, this little boy wanting internet access. Anyway, I pulled out a piece of paper with our 15-digit long code. He had this rather impassive look on his face as I explained that the first long series of numbers was the name of our connection and the second the log in code. The long code is quite often daunting to grown up clients who ask for internet access, so I couldn’t imagine how this little guy was feeling.
I took his iPhone in my hand and started typing in the code. Except, I was having trouble switching between capitals and lower case, my fingers a bit clumsy when searching out numbers rather than letters. He started explaining it to me, and I smartly handed it back to him.
“How about if I read you the code and you can type it in.”
“Okay.” As I read, his fingers flew along, waiting impatiently for me to catch up.
“Can I also use it to log in on my iPad?” he asked. You have an iPhone and an iPad? I asked indignantly in my head. You’re what, seven, maybe eight?
“Sure,” I responded cheerfully. “You can keep a copy of this paper.”
“I’ll just take a photo,” he said.
“Oh. Yeah. That’s a good idea,” I responded. I didn’t see a smirk on his face. I’m sure this happens to him all of the time, interacting with slow, older people. AT this point, I was holding my head up high just by the mere fact that I towered over this youngster.
As I walked away with my silly paper, it came to me: In 2011 I had been Prined and in 2014 I had been Schooled. Being Prined is a joyous occasion. On the other side of the spectrum is being schooled; by a little boy; a little boy who has a smart phone, an iPad and quick little fingers.
I remember when I considered my mom and dad silly and antiquated because they had no idea who the Red Hot Chili Peppers were, and didn’t have a clue how to write an email. But I was in my mid 20s in grad school, spending gobs of hours in the computer lab; they in their 60s, enjoying the early stages of retirement. This recollection makes me feel rather uncomfortable as the wheel of Karma does its spinning thing in my direction.
It’s a well-known fact that the Indonesians are blessed with youthful countenances. Perhaps this little iPhone, iPad toting boy was actually a bright young college student who looked young for his age. The second stage of being Schooled; denial.