When a Stranger from Ohio Calls at 9:30 p.m.

Even trees are constantly updating.

Even trees are constantly updating.

Miles run today: 6

Interviews completed since yesterday: 2 (I’m ahead!)

Tech help phone calls I enjoy: 0

Last night at 9:30, we got a phone call from Ohio.

We do not know anyone in Ohio.

A young man with an Indian accent asked to speak to my 12-year-old son.

Some parents might worry. But the pieces started falling into place for me.

“Oh! You’re with Microsoft, right?”

He said yes.

“Could you call back tomorrow? He’s asleep.”

Technology customer service calls are fun for my son. First of all, he is one of those “early adapters,” which means he likes to get any new gadget, software or thingamajig right about the time it slides past the beta testers.

Then he is stunned that all of the bugs aren’t worked out.

Back in the summer, I was in my office, writing away at my desk, when I heard a series of responses from my son in the other room. Who in the world was he talking to?





______ Woodman.”

He was becoming increasingly frustrated because the woman on the other end of the line was convinced my son was a woman.

“Okay, Missus Woodman, please reboot your computer.”

“No, Missus Woodman, you will not need to do that.”

“Now tell me your name, Missus Woodman.”

When my son kept rattling off a male name, the customer service rep would repeat, “No, your name.”

We still laugh about it.

Some parents might worry about the things their kids get into on the Internet. Not me. When I walk past my son’s screen, he is often watching unboxing ceremonies on CNET. If you do not know what unboxing is, you are not allowed to join our family.

So he is becoming the resident expert on all technological purchases within the extended family. My sister might call to ask about the pros and cons of buying an iPad Mini versus an iPod Touch. Or my son might pull up a list of reasons for us to purchase a certain Roku/HuluPlus package.

After my son had been for a visit at my parents’ house last summer, the cable guy had to come and fix something. My mom started asking about the DVR capabilities and told the guy that her grandson was absolutely certain their TV could do something she was sure was impossible.

The cable guy set down his tools and considered my mom for a moment. “You should listen to your grandson more often.”

There is always some new horizon, some new technology to conquer. My son now has Windows 8. He got it over Christmas because it looks cool, with lots of colors, like in the commercial.

Also…  he is able to mind-meld with software and bend it to his will.

But there is one problem: it keeps hanging up on a Windows Update thingie and wanting to restart. This is one of those loops that he has not yet been able to bend to his will.

Yesterday afternoon, he sighed and said, “Mom, it looks like I’m going to have to call customer service.”

I think he might have smiled.

The thing computer software geniuses have not yet discovered is that preteens have all the time in the world. Unlike the rest of us, who become fidgety and short-tempered while listening to Muzak for 30 minutes, a 12-year-old male is content to do what it takes to make his machine workable again.

That, and when the tech helper on the other end of the phone says, “Please check your router cable,” my son does not ask which color the cable is.

Not that I’m speaking from personal experience.