1. They hold the phone at a bad angle.
When facetiming with your parents it’s actually quite easy to imagine a world free of selfies. They’re so poor at camera angling, you’d think they never took a selfie in their lives. Typically, facetiming parents position the camera below the chin, angling upwards; you can hardly make out their face, but you get a mighty fine view of their hyoid bone region.
2. They scream (rather thank talk at a normal volume).
Last night, while facetiming with my mom, my dad’s head suddenly slid into the frame.
Rachel!! Rachel!! his voice a piercing tone.
Rachel! Is that you??!!
You see, as a Dad, he inherently believes that you can’t have a real, two-way conversation through facetime; he’s skeptical of “new technology”; and incredulous that it could possibly work. You could even be talking and he still wouldn’t be fully sure that you’re actually there. Ergo, attempts at answering or engaging him will be in vain.
3. They try to initiate playtime with you and the dog.
If you’re facetiming a parent with a dog, then expect to be watching your dog for the majority of the call. Oftentimes they’ll scream the dog’s name: Zadie! Zadie! Say hi to your sister! Come say hi… And then in a soft aside to you (or in this case me), Rachel, say hi to your sister…and Zadie! Look who it is…until the dog finally jumps on the phone and swallows it whole.
4. They start showing you the dog’s new tricks.
Don’t be surprised if your parents start showing you the batch of rusty tricks, the ones that the dog just learned. Just know: they’re trying them out on you. From there, what ordinarily transpires is you watching a still, confused-looking dog, with shrieks of “Bed time! Go to Bed!” as background noise.
5. They hold the phone like a walkie talkie.
A facetiming parent never allows enough space between their face and the camera. But can you blame them? The land line is their jam. And so they’ll hold the phone like one holds a walkie talkie: close to their mouth — so close, in fact, that their mouth is actually touching the phone and muffling their voice instead.
6. They facetime you from the toilet.
There’s a massive discrepancy between parents who claim to believe in facetime and parents who actually believe in facetime. The former realize that others “allege” that they can facetime with their kids. They can see that there is an option on their phone to do so. But their PC-warped minds can’t quite fully fathom it. And so don’t be alarmed if they facetime you from the toilet. Remember: they hardly even believe you’re there.
7. They appear suspicious and distrustful.
Even if they do concede that this whole “facetime” thing may actually work, don’t expect your conversations to scratch even the tip of the iceberg. Your parents aren’t idiots. They watch the news and they know that the NSA is probably tapping the wires.
8. They ask to look at things that aren’t interesting.
For those who grew up watching The Johnny Carson Show, facetiming is a cool thing. To them, the most mundane objects, when filtered through facetime, become captivating — arousing, even. And so bank on them asking if they can take a look at that toilet paper holder: Let me see it. Is it fixed? Do you love it? Is that a crack in the sink??
9. They hang up abruptly.
And yet, it always comes back to the ultimate truth that parents are more suspicious — more readily unbelieving — of facetime than not. Which is why you’ll probably be interrupted at some point during the call, mid-conversation, with an abrupt “OK Sweetie! Love You!” This isn’t real to them, and they want out.