In hindsight I realize it was a mistake. Oh, I had good intentions, but, alas, I have erred. For Christmas I gave Mrs. Peaves a tablet computer. Now she has become one of “those people.” You know the type. Always tinkering away on their smart phones, twiddling their thumbs to the tempo of a quick-paced Samba. God knows what most of those people are up to, perhaps launching a plan to commit some crime, or gossiping about their friends more likely. A year ago Mrs. Peaves was not exactly what you might call tech-savvy. Frankly she was pretty much tech-ignorant. She was afraid of the computer, actually. On the odd occasion when she needed to use one, I had to stand over her shoulder and guide her through the steps. It's tedious work, I can tell you. But then, around nine months ago, she dropped her cell phone in the toilet. That wasn't a good day for anyone, I assure you. The end result was, Mrs. Peaves was forced to get a new phone. Her contract was up anyway, so she received a new one for free, free that is if you don't count all the fees associated with it. What she got was a smart phone. For a week or two our house was the scene of much cursing, fist pounding and gnashing of teeth. One evening I heard her call the cell phone provider to explain she didn't want the bloody thing any longer. She wanted a phone like her old one. She wanted a retrofit phone. She stayed on the line with the representative for nearly half an hour and when she was done she had made the decision to carry on with the new smart phone. The representative had convinced her she would get used to it and then one day, magically, she wouldn't be able to live without it. At the time I chuckled to myself, out of earshot of Mrs. Peaves you understand, but oh, how I chuckled. Turns out, the joke was on me. She did get used to it. And soon she was constantly wailing away on the thing. Then one day she discovered Google. I had made the mistake of telling her she could connect via wi-fi from our in-home router. It wasn't long before she was watching silly cat videos on YouTube. That's when it dawned on me to give her the damn tablet for Christmas. I reasoned that if she was going to watch the stupid videos, there was no reason she should have to do so on a screen the size of a credit card. On Christmas morning she was thrilled, but also a little intimidated. But that didn't last long. As you know, Mrs Peaves works with children. She learned lots of things about her new tablet from those very same children. First she learned that she could download books. Then she found some free games to play. Then she learned about apps. I would like to go to her work one day and slap the little sniveler who showed her that trick. Thanks to that brat I get to hear daily updates on the temperature in Sahuarita, AZ, where one of our friends lives. As I write this, it is 69 degrees and sunny in Sahuarita, while it is 3 degrees here and certainly not sunny, as it is night. When I can't feel my toes, I don't want to here how nice the weather is in Arizona. When Mrs. Peaves is not giving me far-off weather reports, she is either reading some book on her tablet or she is playing some game or other. The blasted thing has a touch screen that pops every time she touches it. It also makes a variety of other noises, from clicks and clacks to flatulent sounds. She sits on the other side of the room fiddling with it and I am inundated with a steady cacophony of pings, pops, zaps and beeps. I've about had it. I know the retched thing is too big for the toilet. I may have to draw a bath.

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