We were in the kitchen a few months back, having a quiet drink on a Friday night, when our son appeared from upstairs for his nightly fridge rummage.
Nothing unusual about that. Except his ear was adorned with the flashing light of his Bluetooth and he was telling his ‘gaming friend’, “OK, we need to get more ammo and quick”.
Off he went back upstairs complete with whatever he’d deemed edible from the fridge, saying “Right what’s our kill-streak now?”
One of the many moments when husband and I look at one another and ask, “What would our dads say?”
We both lost our dads well over twenty years ago. My dad still hadn’t got his head around colour television and husband’s dad was enthralled and amazed by the technology of the Sony Walkman.
So what would they think seeing their grandson with a lit-up lug-hole playing a war game with a team-mate two miles down the road, against kids in places as far flung as Australia?
And how would they react to a nation of people seemingly gibbering to themselves as they walked down the road, when you would have been put away for that sort of thing in their day? It would be hard enough to explain that the devices being talked into had replaced the big red phone box (at least in London), let alone that they could take photos, send messages, play music/games and obtain the answer to almost any question in the universe.
How could they begin to understand that you can do practically anything online - shop, pay bills, talk to overseas family, meet your true love and (when it turns sour) even get divorced. You name it - it’s a finger-click away.
If they came back now, they’d think the world had gone mad. My parents didn’t even own a video recorder. Now my mum happily watches Freeview TV, pausing Emmerdale, returning to Emmerdale with her dinner and recording other stuff as she pleases.
They hadn’t even seen a CD yet they’re already outdated as people prefer iPods or MP3’s. I still own some of my dad’s LP’s (which my son thought were giant CD’s!) and you can’t beat the joy of exploring the cover and admiring the artwork.
One of the few times my mum and dad ever argued was when she (supposedly) got the directions wrong while driving to our holiday resort. My fairy Godmother (see previous posts) would write all the directions neatly for them on the back of a cereal box (?!) and then cover in a plastic bag. And yet every year something would go wrong and we’d end up having to turn around. Imagine the pure bliss they could have enjoyed with the invention of SatNav. No more unnecessary bickering or finger pointing, just tap in the location and away you go.
But have things really changed for the better? The majority of times technology seems to make life easier. When things go wrong, it’s disastrous. My mum loves to moan about computers and the damage the internet does. But she’s the first to ask me to go online to order her a ‘nice pair of M&S trousers’ or to ‘Google the name of that lovely actor who used to be in such and such!’
It’s all too easy to get suckered in to our virtual worlds - for my son and husband it’s gaming or Facebook and for me it’s Twitter and book promotion.
Sometimes you just have to say, “Enough’s enough. Let’s have a nice game of Monopoly or Charades.”
Something that the granddads could actually relate to!
Have you taken a look at the synopsis for my book yet? All about not belonging in the world of self-centred school mums (or "Meemies" as I call them - it's all about "Me, Me, Me"). Follow the blog link to Amazon - and, if you haven't got a Kindle, you can download a free PC or mobile app.
Now also available in paperback at Lulu.