Last night, while having dinner in the hotel restaurant, I observed something surprising, something unusual (which is usually surprising), and something I did not expect to see in my remaining lifetime.
I noticed four families arrive at the receptionist (the restaurant has no walls, only a large, high thatched roof). I had seen them sitting together in the bar earlier, with their children at another sitting area. From overheard bits of conversation, I discerned that they had met for the first time at this hotel.
As they lingered at the receptionist, I watched waiters push tables together to form two sets. I assumed that the families would split up for dinner. I was wrong. One set was for the children—on the outside terrace directly in from of our table—and one set for the adults at a distance from the children. The children ranged in age—I guessed—from six to young teenagers.
The first surprise was at how well-behaved the children were. No fussing. No crying for parents. They talked amongst themselves, as if they had known each other, but snatches of conversation suggested that they compared schools and hobbies. No adult appeared to provide supervision or guidance, even when the waiter came to take orders. I was impressed, especially when comparing them to other children at the hotel and my experience observing familiars on vacation.
But, that was not the most surprising aspect. What I did not expect to ever see again was children at a table without an electronic device. These were not children of poor families, but ones that appeared to attend private school, wear designer labels, and have parents able to afford a luxury resort. No one pecked at a smart phone, toyed wife an iPad, or struggled with computer game.
No one checked Facebook or sent foolish garbage on Twitter. They conversed. They connected, if the true sense of the word. Unbelievable.
Finally some news, real news, and not the kind Fox News fabricates,
For first time in the history of the world (of which I am aware), my name has appeared on Facebook. I was blind-sided. I learned of this stupendous event only because I was informed by someone foolish enough to waste time on this modern instrument of self-delusion.
The above was written by a women I met for the first time last night. I was at a dinner with my wife and her customers, of which this one is one. My wife occasionally mentions customers, but I had not heard of this women, who I have since learned is obsessed with my with and wants to be like her. She is, supposedly, a successful computer consultant.
As way of background, my wife owns a large, successful dancing school and is a well-known personality in the region. She uses her maiden, so few know her married name. Very few of her customers know me, because my only contribution to the business is the occasional changing of a light bulb or driving a nail into a wall to hang a picture. But, she often tells stories about me and my distinct lack of interest in dancing to entertain her customers. I liken this to Dame Edna’s jokes about her fictional husband or Phyllis Diller’s use of Fang in her monologues. Many think that I am also a figment of my wife’s imagination. I doubt that anyone gives this a second thought after chuckling at her tales or cares one bit about what I do or do not do.
The above-mentioned women has been a customer since she was 14 and has been hearing about my aversion to dancing. Therefore, she was surprised to witness me dance one time with my wife at this dinner. She felt that this was momentous that the event needed to be recorded on Facebook. I cannot imagine why anyone would be interested, but the fact does prove the vapidness of this tool and the emptiness of this woman’s life.
Konrad Lorenz, the Austrian scientist who claimed that man is a social being, failed to reckon with the likes of me. Unless faced with prison and/or the death penalty, I will not use social media such as Facebook, Twitter, or their ilk. It’s bad enough that I concoct this worthless blog...
I assume that this guy is good with a hammer, because he always--and I mean always--hits the nail or nails on the head or heads...
There is a saying about a tree falling in the woods making a sound.
A corollary would be: if your are not on Facebook, do you exist?
People ask me why I do not join Facebook. The below article probably explains it better than I could.
And this, from the New York Times:
“Without the free content created by its 850 million users, Facebook would surely not be on the verge of an I.P.O.”
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.