Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Turn It Off
I have no idea what the dream was, but I woke up this morning just plain angry at car manufacturers. I don't know any personally so this is not directed to individuals. I take exception to the DVD players now available in family cars. Don't people like each other anymore? I will be the first to say that squabbling kids can get on your very last nerve. If I heard it once, I heard it countless times from the Kids' dad, "Don't make me stop this car and come back there!" We had a nine-passenger station wagon, the precursor to vans and SUVs. We lived six miles from the nearest little town and twenty-five miles from the city, so leaving the house was a road trip. The thing is, just like turning off the television before sitting down together for a meal, driving with Kids is an opportunity to talk and to listen. It calls for a certain inventiveness to keep Kids occupied and not squabbling. We sang a lot. "B-I-N-G-O, and Bingo was his name-o." That song still conjures up little faces in the back seats. Giving points for seeing red cars or, when they were older, seeing out-of-state license plates and then asking what was the capitol of that state. Knock-knock jokes. The Kids would tell all the jokes they knew and then started making up new ones. One would start a joke and another would make up the ending, which made no sense at all but cracked them all up anyhow. Telling the Kids there were bad guys hiding on the overpass and the one who was riding shotgun had to protect us all (why else call it shotgun?). "How many cows are in that field? Okay, now divide that by two." Given the illusion of privacy, older Kids will talk to each other about stuff they would not mention to parents. Parents should listen and learn. I love modern technology, I really do. I just think there is a time and place for everything, including face-to-face communication, and a car can be a portal. Turn off the DVDs, the GameBoys, the electronics, and talk together. So say I.