We drove together from Seattle down to Portland. He drove all the way, in his car. We listened to each other’s music, talked about everything from his job to my job, friends to career, to cars and girls. It was a very rewarding time and we learned a great deal about each other.
We have been very close, my son and I, since the day he was born and he spent the first night in this world sleeping on my chest. But as he has grown and become a young adult, we have found there are different things we both like. Even though he is my mini me just as I was my father’s mini me, this trip solidified our closeness and gave us even more great memories together. I highly recommend each parent take a road trip with each of their children.
Before the internet, cell phones, texting, e-mail, wireless phones, video games, net flicks, atms or electric cars; when we still hand wrote letters, talked on the phone for hours and actually carried on conversations at the dinner table instead of staring at our smart phones; when we spent time outside, traveling, playing sports; when life was slower, fuller and more meaningful, I had my first band of brothers. We did everything and went everywhere together. I believe that in those days, the quality of life was better than it is today.
So many things have changed in the world these days. There is so much that is instant and artificial, computer generated and inhumane. Google has removed our desire and passion to travel and find new places, to make our own decisions, and to reach out and communicate with each other. Our children spend more time in front of computers or on smart phones and we spend more time watching netflicks then we spend sitting down together at family meals and talking with each other.
But there are some things that fortunately have remained the same. There is still art, love, nature and invention. When we look around we are reminded of what is real and important in life and we remember to keep in contact and in conversation with each other. We remember to not forget affection and kindness, the comforting sound of a voice and the reassurance of a smile and a hug. We see art that has endured and nature that returns each season without fail. We see ancient icons and memorials invented in previous centuries still standing strong. And we remember what we should really be living for.
Remember when everyone didn’t have smart phones, or even cell phones? Remember when there was a pay phone on every corner? Remember before Youtube when very few people or even businesses had a website? Well, recently, my smart phone broke and I found myself without a cell phone for twenty-four hours. Ironically, I found myself in the very location where I had last made a pay phone call, in Fremont, WA. It was ten years ago that I last used a pay phone, to answer a message from my home phone about returning a call for confirming a job interview I had. The even funnier thing was that the pay phone that I had used was no longer there!
Life was good with no smart phone. I didn’t have to update my status, search sports scores, watch the latest video on Youtube, check the weather or monitor the traffic before I left. It was a very freeing experience! I even carried on a great conversation for a long time with a total stranger, in person! I miss those days when life was not only simpler, but I believe, more meaningful, when people actually “talked” to each other, mostly in person. I was at a restaurant and six people were sitting at a table together in silence, all of them with their heads buried in their smart phones. How sad! What has our society become? We need to get back to simple things and conversations, which will improve our relationships!