For today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday post, (for which I am once again late) Linda G Hill left us the following prompt;
” “beef.” Use it any way you’d like.”
Food for thought.
I was preparing a beef casserole for dinner
this yesterday evening, glancing now and then at my phone, my Facebook newsfeed scrolling past with its usual menu of cats, memes, weird videos, duck-faced selfies and memes of cats, when one of the more unsavoury status updates about immigrants “ruining the English way of life and diluting traditional family values” oozed its way down the screen.
Now I don’t know about you, but when I’m cooking I tend to drift off and get lost in my thoughts a bit and while I floured the beef and chopped the vegetables I reflected on what “traditional family values” amount to these days.
this yesterday afternoon, after doing the mundane weekend chores in town, I came home to spend a relaxed Saturday with the family, but within ten minutes of sitting down we were all engrossed in our separate electronic devices.
I was checking my e-mails and catching up with the many blogs I follow, Rhonda was chatting with friends in the States on Facebook whilst simultaneously tending her virtual farmyard and Audrey was tapping away on my tablet, giving us a running commentary on the latest dragon she’d managed to breed.
We were together, we were each aware of the others’ presence, but we weren’t exactly interacting with each other.
Not that we don’t do stuff together all the time of course, in fact it’s often the reason I’m late posting SoCS, there just isn’t the time to fit all my Saturday into Saturday.
Tonight Last night, Audrey and I had our weekly appointment with Dr Who (“Is this going to be gross? It is isn’t it?”) and today there is a pumpkin to carve, a visit to feed the ducks and a walk (or scoot) in the autumn sunshine, just normal simple pleasures to share.
I occasionally wonder if the 21st century’s latest tools of social separation, mobile phones, are killing conversation and turning us into mindless zombies with no imagination, as we’re always being warned, (ironically, via snarky memes on social media) but on balance I think it’s more like social evolution.
Because is it really any different to the three of us all sitting around, reading three different books or magazines?
After all, practically the whole of human existence (not to mention the entire history of the universe) is available on the internet, so maybe we should be a more forgiving of a generation who will grow up with all that knowledge at their fingertips, they might end up being smarter than us.
Speaking for myself, if anything, having all this personal technology has made me more, not less, creative. My first forays into writing were purely down to the advent of the smartphone; the worlds Audrey has built in her dragon game and with Minecraft clearly take plenty of imagination and as for Facebook, well, if it wasn’t for that little addiction, the three of us never would have met in the first place.
Meanwhile, outside the kitchen window, the people from the flat upstairs were clearing a space on the small enclosed patio that serves as their only outside space in order to erect a rotary clothes line.
The family are Hungarian and speak only minimal English, but they are friendly enough and always say hello when we bump into them in the neighborhood, along with various members of their extended family, who are regular visitors.
Yesterday was no exception and before long there were nine of them crammed onto the tiny hedge-lined square of concrete, all offering advice on the positioning of the dryer, inspecting the sturdiness of its construction, or helping to move slabs aside, giggling kids dodging in and out, cups of coffee appearing from upstairs, laughter and lively conversation in a strange language and lots of cheerful faces.
It made me smile just to watch them and when the patriarch, happily surrounded by his chattering family, noticed me watching with amusement, he grinned hugely and raised his coffee cup in salute. I waved back, pleased to be included in their impromptu gathering.
In short, exactly the type of happy domestic scene that most of us probably remember from our childhoods, albeit filtered through the soft and fuzzy, rosy coloured glasses of nostalgia; three generations of the same family, happy in the simple pleasure of each others’ company.
If this is the dilution of English family values that the dullards on Facebook are talking about, I for one think we’re going to be ok for a while yet.