I really wish I had the writing ability to do this story justice, but you'll have to take my word for it that the real version of this was far more amusing than what I've managed to detail here. That being said, sorry it took so long. For some reason I just couldn't finish it. Sorry for the length. Feel free to stop in the middle and make yourself a sandwich, or some homemade lunchables. If that doesn't work give me a call and I'll read it to you.
"Someone in the building was looking for help with their computer."
"Uhm... yeah..." I responded with a bit of hesitation.
It was Allen, former doorman and now resident of my building, on the other end of the phone. He's the all around good Samaritan kind of guy, so I didn't want to come right out and say it, but normally helping people with their computer ends up being a pain in my ass that I'd rather avoid.
"It's Agnes, do you know her?"
"Red hair? About 4 feet tall?" I asked, now somewhat guilty for being hesitant. "Feel free to give her my number."
I'd run in to Agnes a few times in the lobby over the past year. She was an older lady(I'd assumed in her 70's) who always had a smile and a "Hello" as she ran off to her job, volunteering at the hospital. She's the kind of lady that makes you feel like you should hug her goodbye and say thank you for the cookies when she leaves.
After a bit of phone tag we finally arranged a date and time for me to come down and assess the damage. From what I could gather she and her sister had bought condos next door to each other so that Agnes could take care of her. When her sister recently moved in to a retirement home, Agnes moved across the hall to live in the bigger unit.
"When I bought the computa, the... the Geek. You know the Geek from tha Best Buy? He set it up for me" she informed me with her New York type accent and a certain amount of innocence reserved only for children and the elderly when dealing with technology. "I asked the man from Qwest if I needed to call the Geek back, but they said they could do it. He moved the computa for me. And... and now the thing doesn't work!" Her voice perked up at every use of the word "Geek".
Some quick investigation revealed that qwest had really done a number on her computer. I'll save the nerdtastic explanations for offline discussions if anyone is interested, but about an hour later I had most everything fixed except for her email.
"Okay, you need your name and password to sign in here" I told her as I attempted to fix the email issue and moved aside to give her access to the keyboard.
"Oh, it's agnesbridget and the password is..." she revealed what most people consider "private" without hesitation.
"You really shouldn't tell anyone y..." I began to protest, but gave up at the futility of it.
The login didn't work, and after a half hour conversation with qwest we found that they had disabled the account and it couldn't be recovered. I had some choice words for them over their treatment of a customer, but eventually I gave up and decided to sign her up for a free account at yahoo.
I began to fill out the registration information when I got in the kind of situation that I always seem to screw up despite my best intentions.
"Uhm... it uh... wants your birthday" I asked hesitantly. Was it rude to ask? Should I have just put in a fake date? Would that have been more rude?
"Oh. April 11, 1917" she said with a big smile. "I'm an old bag"
I was soon done with the necessary changes. The printer was working again so she could write her niece. "She never writes back anyhow. I don't know why I botha".
The shortcut to her recipe site was placed on the desktop. "It's the only thing I use tha Intenet for."
Everything else that could possibly be distracting was placed away in a nice folder. "I don't have time for all that nonsense"
She offered to pay me for my time, but I was more than happy to do it, and didn't feel right taking money from a 90 year old woman, especially one who's more proficient with the computer than half the people I know.
About a week later Liang was supposed to come over to watch the Sun's game. I had hung up the phone with him less than 5 minutes before when I heard a knock at my door. I thought maybe he had tricked me and called from the lobby so I threw the door open and jumped outside only to find Agnes standing there, now somewhat startled.
"Oh... uh hi" I stammered as she simultaneously announced, "Ya... Ya got no room unda ya door!"
I looked at her somewhat puzzled until she pulled a card out. "I tried to shove this under it, but it doesn't fit. Ya got no room unda ya door" she repeated.
"I wanted to say thank you for helping me out the other day. I was at the Biltmore. That Apple store. I don't know what they do there. My son... he... he's got one of those... what do you call em? A tripod. He loves the thing."
"Oh, an iPod?" I asked.
"Yeah, it plays tha music or whateva." she commented with a dismissive wave of her hand. "I got no use for all that. But he seems to love it." At this she handed me a card. After another thank you or two she left and I went back inside to open the card and find a 50 dollar Apple Store gift card.
Liang showed up minutes later and I related the whole story to him. My pure amusement at the whole ordeal was enough for him to start ribbing me about my 90 year old crush. The teasing continued until half time came and we decided to leave for dinner.
"Well, I always did want a short red headed girl." I relented as gathered our things to go. "And besides, a sweet, cute girl brought me a card. That's better than you've done in a while"
We were half way down the hall when the door to 11-N flew open and Agnes came bounding out with an energy normally reserved for those a tenth of her age. "Oh! I got distracted. I met this nice lady and decided ta chat for a while. I think I'm stuck on the 11th floor!"
We smiled, nodded and said our pleasantries as we made way to the elevator.
Once out of earshot Liang turned to me with a huge grin on his face and finally gave in, "All right. I see it"