Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Generation Text

I saw a thing, one of those things that people put up, on Facebook the other day. It said things along the lines of:

"I'm from the generation that arrives at your house to pick you up and gets out of my car, walks up the path and rings your doorbell. You're from the generation that arrives, then sits in the car and texts or calls to say they've arrived."

Now I don't know where you fall, but I know I'm in the first lot. And frankly I'm happy about it too.

Let's be honest; this whole texting and mobile device communication phenomenon is fantastic. It's life changing, often life saving. It's changed relationships for the better, enabled long distance to be, well, not so long distance (something I know only too well). We can be in regular touch with people who our parents would never have been able to be in touch with, you know what I mean. We can genuinely find that the advantages make our lives easier.

Yet there are a generation of people who seem to take it to a level that, to me at least, is too high.

I went to pick K up from a friend's some months ago. I found the address, parked my car in a space (something you Sri Lankans might not understand!) and got out, walked to the door and rang the doorbell.

The father of K's friend answered the door. I said hello and introduced myself. He did the same, though introducing himself, not me. We had a chuckle about life, moaned about our respective daughters, then K arrived in the front hall and off we went, all smiles and laughter.

No sooner had we got in the car when K said

"Dad, what were you doing?"

I was puzzled, even more so than normal.

"What do you mean?" I replied.

"Well what were you doing ringing the bell and walking to the door? Why didn't you just text to say you were outside?" she asked.

I have to confess that the concept of pulling up outside and typing in all those characters, pressing send, then wondering if the message had gone, then waiting for a reply.....blah blah...hadn't even occurred to me.

No, it wasn't that my mental list of options even included that as one that I could possibly pick . All I had in my head was two options; ring the bell exactly as I had done or wait in the car for K to come out at the appointed time.

Because that's how I am.

And increasingly I witness people having long, protracted drawn out conversations by text when a simple phone call would be easier on every count. I see chap A text chap B asking if he wants to meet for a drink. Chap A gets no response from Chap B, then doesn't know if he's going out for a drink that night or not, so can't make other plans.

Chap A then texts Chap B again, maybe multiple times. Chap B may or may not respond but the pattern continues. It's one of questions and replies, of inconvenience when a simple phone call would be just oh so much easier for everyone.

It happened the other day. I won't name any names but we'll call her Chap C. She was trying to arrange to meet with someone, had sent several texts and go no response, so didn't know whether it was going ahead or not. Eventually I her partner suggested she call the person. It was as if I her partner had suggested the most radical and inventive idea since the thing that makes sliced bread.

What is it with these youngsters eh?

Texting is good. But sometimes, just sometimes, it's also good to talk.

Must dash.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Over Here In London....

Dear Reader,

Forgive me, and all. It's been ages. Life has got in the way of writing about life, which is no doubt a touch of irony, and I feel a need to tell you a few things about what's been going down over here in RD land.

It's been busy, that's for sure. A (the eldest) hit her eighteenth birthday. She was about twelve or thirteen when you first heard of her and her eighteenth has affected me in a strange way. I've had milestone birthdays of my own, big anniversaries and even A hitting sixteen, which these days comes about two years before eighteen.

But her eighteenth seemed bigger and more momentous than all the other ones. It's not that it makes her an adult, nor that she's changed in any great way, but just something in me, something about being the parent of a thing, a thing that in theory could go out into the world now and do her business, make what she can from it.

She's in her second year of being a drama student now and I went to see her performing in a play a couple of months ago. It's a local theatre group that she joined to gain experience, made up of young adults with A being just about the youngest one there. She didn't have a lead role but appeared fairly middle order in the proceedings. There was one bit though when she had to perform a soliloquy. It was to a whole theatre full of people and she was standing on a balcony set in a raised position onstage. Think of that balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet if it helps you.

Damn I tell you, I felt proud as punch. Even now as I write this it makes me feel a tad emotional. She delivered her speech with a level of confidence, calmness and an unhurried pace that left me in awe as I realised that my big girl is growing up. Parents will probably understand this.

Later on that night, at three in the morning, she called me and asked if I could pick her up from the after show party as she was stranded. Like any Dad I got up, changed out of my sarong and drove over to get her, hoping I'd wake up at some point.

It's funny this parenting thing; they grow up and get independent but we're still good for a lift every now and then!

And K is about to pass the sixteen mark in a few weeks time too. Which is altogether a scarier concept. She has also discovered this blog, so it would be nice if you'd leave a comment wishing her a happy birthday (it's in about three weeks time). She doing her GCSEs at the moment (what we used to call 'O' levels) and spends the majority of her time either revising or being a fangirl for her current obsession, some Scottish indie band called Twin Atlantic. They seem to have some decent songs, the kind a chap can tap a toe to, but far more satisfying is K's continued adoration and devotion to Dave Grohl.

I reckon she'd prefer Sir Dave to be her Dad rather than me. I can live with that to be honest. It is Dave we're talking about here after all.

We had the Jubilee weekend here and I loved it. C, who's in these parts for a couple of weeks, was distinctly unimpressed with much of it. Well, not so much unimpressed, more unaffected. I "made" her watch the boat pageant on TV (as much as anyone can make her do anything) and at one point I thought she might try to kill, or seriously injure me. She didn't, but I kid you not when I tell you that she would rather have watched an old episode of Sex and the City than this splendid occasion.

She quite enjoyed the gig, though was a bit narked at Kylie getting to play a whole four songs. I had to agree on that one.

The whole weekend was very lovely. I know from watching the news here that you, Johnny Foreigner, would have watched all the TV coverage anyhow, so there's not too much I can add. But it was brill and the stories about street parties, flag waving and that Great British whatsername are all true.

And I've been drumming quite a bit too. The lessons I've been having with the not so new teacher for about a year now have improved my playing unbelievably. It's also a lesson in life to me; if you want to pursue something get yourself a decent teacher and you'll progress and learn quicker than plodding through single handed. Besides, who ever heard of single handed drumming, with genuine drummers' apologies to Def Leppard fans. And yes, I meant to place that apostrophe at the end of "drummers".

I suppose that's all my news for now, I'll try to write soon, but you know how things get busy,

Please write back and let me know what's happening over there.

All my love


PS - I hope you got the package I sent, I wasn't sure if they were the type of socks you wanted so I sent both kinds.