Tuesday, July 07, 2015

The iPad family

You know all those cartoons bemoaning the family who has no interaction, especially at the dinner table, because they're all absorbed in their phones or iPads or whatever? Well, tonight I lived that discouraging picture.
On Tuesday nights, Jacob and I go to the Old Neighborhood Grill, just down the street from my house, because "the neighbors" gather. They're mostly neighbors, mostly from Pembroke a block behind me, but the crowd has grown, and we have folks from other parts of our Berkeley neighborhood as well as some just plain outsiders. Many are Jacob's friends, and while it's not a kid's dinner, they welcome him, talk with him, and he's perfectly comfortable. He enjoys their company.
Tonight I knew there would be few if any neighbors there. Some were out of town, some had tickets for a concert at TCU, some just plain had other plans. It looked like just Jacob and me...and indeed it was. As we arrived, some of the concert-goers were leaving and called, "We warmed up the seats for you."
We had our traditional orders--meatloaf (the last half will make a great sandwich tomorrow) and green beans for me; grilled cheese, fries, and a cookie for Jacob. As we left the house, he handed me his iPad and I put it in my purse--against my better judgment. But, hey, the child played golf all day and no doubt needed down time. I might have wished for a bit of conversation but in defense I took out my iPhone, read messages, etc.
So there we were--the perfect digital family. No conversation. I'm going to work to make sure that doesn't happen again--but I can only take so much of the rolling of the eyes.
Now we're home, and I'm going to have to take out my hearing aids so I don't have to listen to his iPad. But later, he, Sophie, and I will settle down to a bit of companionship and then a good night's sleep.
Parenting--and grandparenting--are sure different than in my day.

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