Holidays are a time of love, of giving, of donating to charity. (Bla bla bla).
My favourite part of the holidays isn’t any of the above. Nor is it the chocolate, the freshly-baked cookies or the seemingness endless bottles of wine.
My favourite holiday memories are the beautiful—and generally humorous—generation gap moments.
From my 83-year-old Oma’s horror when someone leaks to her that I am able to lift 350 lb. off the ground—and her absolute disgust when she sees my unfeminine calloused hands—to her utter confusion when she sees three of her under-21-year-old nephews zoned into their electronic devices on the couch: The holidays are always a time when people of all sorts come together and try to make sense of each other. A time when nobody’s ignorance is left unexposed.
Top Generation Gap Moments of 2015
Flight Confusion: My boyfriend’s mother, who was flying a very routine flight from Toronto to Vancouver, informed us that she picked up her paper tickets from the travel agent that afternoon. She was unclear how we’d be able to find out whether or not her flight was on time.
Technological Fail #1: The Internet was temporarily down at my parents’ place on Christmas Eve. In a panic, my then 59-year-old mother started yelling at my dad, “John, the google is down. Our google is down.” Everyone under the age of 40 burst into laughter, while the 50-plus crew remained stoic and apparently confused by the laughter.
Technological Fail #2: At a family dinner, my cousin called and wanted to speak to my Oma. When Oma was handed the phone, she confused the phone for a microphone and panicked. “It’s your grandson,” said my aunt, handing my Oma the phone. “Why are you giving me this for? I don’t want to give a speech,” shrieked my Oma, horrified, pushing the phone as far away from her as possible.
Technological Fail #3 (Double Generation Gap): My mom (59), aunt (49), Oma (83) and myself (31) were waiting eagerly for the phone call. It finally came: My sister had a baby girl! In a frenzy, my mom started texting everyone she could think of. One by one, she entered their numbers, which she knew by heart, and sent individual texts.
"You know mom, you can do a mass text to a group of people instead of re-writing the same thing 10 times like you're doing," I said.
"Nah, it's easier this way," my mom replied.
"No Angela, it's not," my aunt—the voice of reason—chimed in.
"I and just typing everyone's number in. I have them all memorized. My phone doesn't have any contacts saved," my mom explained.
My Oma, listening in interrupted the chaos: "You wear contact lenses, Angela?"
Elderly Racial Beliefs: My 81-year-old Opa (RIP Opa) was telling me about a friend of his who taught him how to drive back in the 1950s. “He was a black man!” said my Opa, waiting for me to react surprised that a black man, of all people, taught him to drive.
Instead, I waited for the punchline that didn’t seem to want to come.
“And???” I asked.
“Can you believe it? A black man taught me how to drive! A black man!” Opa reiterated. “Come to think of it, he was a pretty good teacher.”
Technological Fail #4: My six-year-old cousin asked me for my Apple ID. I didn't hesitate to give it to him. After all, all he was doing was playing a game on my iPad. 'What harm can come from me giving him my password,' I thought. Two days later, I checked my VISA statement and found multiple charges. Who knew kids played with real money online these days?
At that moment, I felt like my Oma being handed a microphone—the butt end of the joke.
#Generationgap moments are unavoidable. And just part of the charm of being human. Pay attention to them this year and use the #holidaygenerationgap to tell your stories!