I just got home from taking my 13-year-old daughter to have her hair done. It’s the second time she’s gotten highlights, as the school has just begun allowing haircoloring this year. She’s too beautiful.
Anyway, $70 later, we arrive home to find the oldest on a computer, and the youngest (11), sprawled in a chair playing xbox. Then I see he’s wearing this nerdy little headset and appears to be talking to himself.
Ah, this is the “live” thing he’s been telling me about.
I sit down to watch a few minutes. Yes, it’s a horrible game I hate, but since he’s killing mutants instead of humans, it has somehow managed to make its way into the game library. “Mom, that’s Jacob!” he says, swinging the view of his droid or whatever it is toward a red humanoid thing.
“Hi Jacob,” I say. And then it hits me.
This is the playdate of the future.
No need to get in the car and drive to the park to meet up. Ride a bike ride over to a friends house? Forget it!
These are the… what do we call these years? The Tens? The Teens? Well, it’s a new decade, and it’s in the 21st century. Cell phones and ipods and $200 handheld personal games are the norm, even for 11-year-olds. My own little guy continually reminds me that all his buddies have their own phone, their own email, and I don’t know… I think one even has a car a waiting for him.
So as I write this, I’m listening to one side of Jack’s conversation. It’s almost as disturbing as overhearing people in the grocery store having a loud and animated conversation with the little bluetooth thingy in their ears.
“So yeah, Lisa. I just got out of the hospital.” (Silence.) “Yeah, yeah… two days! The infection had moved and my toe was like the size of an elephant! (Silence.) No really! The doctor said he’s never seen so much… Hey have you tried that new digestive yogurt?”
Someone help me… please…
Well, Jack’s conversation isn’t quite as bad. I heard him announce that he had to pee and to wait for him (mad dash down hall, 5 second delay, mad dash back–clearly no handwashing involved). And there seems to be some conversation about who’s on the bottom and whose on top… but I don’t think it’s anything naughty because those comments were followed by, “Watch out! There’s a chopper coming down!”
The details are a digression, really. The point is, Jack is having a great time “playing with a friend” but there’s no one here. There’s nobody asking, “Do you guys have any cookies?” No doors being left wide open so that I can yell, “Hey! Shut the door!” No red-cheeked, cold faces asking for hot cocoa. No wet shoes piled by the door. No legos… nothing.
I couldn’t live very well with out my mac and iphone and unlimited access to the internet, so I don’t really have much room to talk. But I like my friends best face to face, hugging and laughing and right there IN FRONT OF ME. And for all their messes and hungries and rides that need to be taken care of, I like Jack’s friends that way too, messing up the house, raiding the fridge and banging through the back door.