I told Emer this story last night at Pinxto, Temple Bar; my new favourite place for snacks. She said I had to blog it.
I bought Mum a laptop for her sixtieth last year. I was concerned whether she would use it much; she is not the most technology savvy. Initially, she spent a lot of time admiring it from a safe distance across the room. One year later, she has surprised us all; she surfs on a daily basis, paying bills, researching holiday destinations and clothes for “middle aged women”.
One weekend, not all too long ago, I returned to the homestead in Athlone. It was around 10.00 on a Saturday morning. I entered the kitchen. I stretched elaborately, feeling refreshed from my shower. Mum busied herself with the blue J-cloth that is permanently in her hand.
I walked towards kettle. I switched it on. “Tea, Mum?”
“No, Stephen,” she replied firmly. “I will have coffee. I allow myself two coffees on a Saturday morning.”
I stood at the window, awaiting the kettle to boil. I blankly looked out onto the garden. The unkempt grass was in abundance.
“Stephen, I was checking the history of the laptop …” Mum turned from the freshly wiped kitchen counter. The cloth marks left circular, wet trails, indicative of Mum’s elbow grease. She looked me in the eye for a moment and motioned towards the laptop.
“History?!” I choked. Do you mean she actually knows how to check the history on a PC?
“Yes, the history …” she confirmed with a nod. “Someone was looking at porn on the laptop.”
Fuck! I had looked at a site on it the night before. I panicked a little. A red flush rose from my waist upwards. I imagined an awkward conversation to follow.
We both stood in front of the laptop that sat on the kitchen counter. Mum fingered the mouse pad and clicked a few times. A detailed history appeared on the screen. I read the names of the sites. They were straight sites – “Sexy Minx”, “Busty Babes” and the likes. I felt instant relief. My blood pressure and temperature dropped.
“Well those sites are straight sites. It definitely was not me. Maybe they came from pop-ups that you get when you log into certain sites?”
“Pop ups?” Mum asked with a slight laugh. “That’s what your Dad used to say when I checked the history on his PC.”