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.
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.