A Metaphor in Motion

cellIt happened again.

Sunday, while washing my car in the driveway, I noticed the neighbors two houses down coming out, en famille, for a walk: husband, wife, son, daughter, yellow lab. If there were cockles in my heart, they’d be warmed. And if I had an American flag, I would’ve waved it and shouted, “Leave It to Beaver is not dead!” (Granted, few in the area would have any clue what those four words mean, but…).

Off they went in the opposite direction, clearly heading for a round-the-block hike. This was great. Exercise. Bonding. Family. Old-school Americana.

So, yeah. Side mirrors, hubcaps, wash-down and chamois cloth. Yadda yadda.

Next thing I know, the family is coming down the sidewalk in front of my house. The home stretch! I stand, ready to wave. But… but… what’s this? While the little boy and girl (one holding the still-frisky lab) continue to enjoy the weather and the walk,  jabbering to each other about whatever, Mom’s head is in prayer position.

Prayer position? Yes! Head bowed to the SmartPhone god, of course! She’s texting and walking at the same time (and it’s amazing how she’s able to hold the course, not falling off the sidewalk).

Meantime, Dad has his SmartPhone pressed to his ear! Very important business (on a Sunday morning), no doubt! All the way to their house, each parent only half there (if that), ignoring children, ignoring dog, and oblivious to the surrounding world (read: neighbor with his hand in the air, wave aborted).

And what’s really sad? The kids seem oblivious to the neglect. Clearly, they are used to it. Clearly, this has happened before — more often than not, even.

It was a metaphor for where we’ve arrived as a culture. People can’t even take a half hour with their families without their technological tethers in tow. Their addictions, should I say.

Sad. And like the old Harry Chapin song, the cat’s in the cradle. Meaning: The day will come when the aging parents are hungry for attention and care, but their children will be busy. People to text and talk to, you see. And what goes around, comes around…

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3 thoughts on “A Metaphor in Motion

    • Ha! My neighborhood would be up in arms (legs, for good measure) if there was anything but the BEST reception on all cellphone/WiFi devices. This, after all, is “civilization”!

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      • Last night I went beyond the reaches of civilization or at least beyond the range of my cellular overlord. It was not by foot, or bike, but by someone else’s car whom dropped us in the hinter. It was a little terrifying at first but wholly without the use of medication I was able to regain calm because I realized there were others in the crowd of 10,000 that did have reception and I perhaps could enlist help if needed. I ultimately then knew I was safe at a Midwestern tractor pull. The funnel cakes and brats were awesome too. I did make it back to civilization where everybody was unseen and safe locked in their domiciles. That was a close one!

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