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Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Never-Ending Whirr

Apparently there are video games and movies in cars now. To some of you, I’m sure, this is not news and ranks up there with “frozen TV dinners” and this new-fangled “elastic” that’s all the rage.

You kids.

The ability to play movies in a car – way to go, Detroit! To hell with gas mileage, we’ve got to work harder on giving the people more ways to distract themselves from reality!

In the words of the Right Delightful Mel Brooks: We’ve got to protect our phoney-baloney jobs, gentlemen!

Perhaps the thinking here was to keep the little buggers in the back seat occupied – and yes, I refer to the children. I’m aware of the frustration created by incessant cries of “Mom! Kevin’s not touching me!” while Kevin, the little bugger, runs his grubby index finger up and down his sister’s arm, very close but not quite touching her skin

Not that I have experienced this myself.

So without purposely trying to sound hopelessly out-of-touch, what will happen with the little buggers’ imaginations without the lull of the wheels, the creepiness of the AM radio stations, the potential humor of one’s parents’ music?

Having grown up, it seems, on the road, I can tell you that it is a most excellent place to just “be”.

For example, once the novelty of the I’m-Not-Touching-You Game wears off, there’s staring out the window. Ah. Staring out the window. Whether you’re counting fire hydrants, Volkswagens, cars with one headlight or cows, it is, nevertheless, the quiet stuff of childhood.

What’s that cloud look like? Hey! What’s that guy doing over there? Mom, how come that lady looks like that? Hey! There’s a Dairy Queen over there! Mom, what if that guy has someone in his trunk? Would we ram him off the road and call the cops? Hey, Mom –

Kids quiet down eventually, right?

Which one of you kids can find a car with a New Jersey license plate?

Mom! Kevin’s not touching me again!

OK. So maybe that’s why they put the movies in the car.

Pfft. I still don’t think it’s cool.


Jeve (aka John and Steve) said...

My cousin uses the DVDs for her child. Works like magic, but I agree do we need more distractions!!

BTW- I voted for your blog through Underdogs Unite (under Jasahab). If you get a chance please vote for me too! We are running for four different categories. Here is one of the links:


Thanks so much!


mbuna53 said...

Don't forget the alphabet game, using roadside signs. We played that a lot on the long drive down to grandpa's house. Or the old "My father owns a grocery store and in it he sells something that begins with the letter ___"

OH OH OH, and slugbug. WHAP!

Pearl said...

Jeve, I'm on my way over. Thanks for stopping by!

Mbuna, slug bug no returns! And, uh, padiddle!

♥ Braja said...

So much for "I spy with my little eye," huh?

Diane said...

I'm with you. I refuse to allow movies in the car, even though I travel often with my kid. She'll color for HOURS when we drive... and talk to me... and read... and talk to me... and sing... and play games... and talk to me. It's cool.

Comedy Goddess said...

I just introduced Mad Libs to my daughter. She likes it! Maybe there is hope?

@eloh said...

My dad always drove Cadillacs, my childhood was pre-air conditioning but those caddy's had electric windows. I liked the wind on my face, oddly similar to a family dog. My dad used to do those guttural luggie hocks. You see where this is going, right, I don't recall doing the "wind on my face" again. My trust in the cosmos gone forever.

I'd watch a movie, I could sit in the back with my grand kids one day and hock up luggies and make them watch old show tune movies.

Douglas said...

You gotta give the public what it wants, Pearl. And they want comfort first, safety second, and mileage last. My son loves the DVD player in his SUV.I just worry that he wants to watch it as he drives and will find a way. Meanwhile, it keeps the two angels from killing each other on long trips.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

We only use a DVD player like that on long trips back to Indiana (like, 13 hour long), and even then, we only let them watch a couple of movies or whatever.

Suzy said...

I'm with you. Riding in the car as a kid was great.

ladyfi said...

And some cars have DVDs for the DRIVER! Scary...

giantspeckledchihuahua said...

Just one more way to disconnect parent and child...

Eskimo Bob said...

High Five

Chris @ Maugeritaville said...

Way too logical, Pearl. But to see what life was like pre-Wii-in-the-backseat, check out this old post of mine. I don't normally like to shamelessly promote myself on someone else's comments, but I'm hoping you'll cut me some slack just this once.


Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

what about singing old boy scouts songs with your dad?! Can you top that one?!

Not The Rockefellers said...

Oh Pearl, I miss the days of laying in the back of the enormous Vista Cruiser pestering all the other drivers to honk their horns, give a peace sign or we'd just make funny faces on the glass...my brother could do the most awesome window fart...how about drawing pictures on the foggy windows? I loved that!

Pearl said...

Hello there, Jeve, if I may call you “Jeve”. :-D Went to your blog – very funny! I am now a “follower”. I’ll probably hit you up for money later… (Oh, and I voted for you! Twice!)

Mbuna, just realized I’ve already responded here, but since I’ve been so bad lately at responding I’m gonna keep typing.

Braja, we need more simplicity in our lives, don’t you think? Like “who wants to get Pearl a drink?” and “I’ll give you a quarter to run to the store”. Those are good games.

Diane, Some of me and The Boy’s best talks have been on long trips in the car. No distractions, nothing but time. It’s good for ya.

Comedy Goddess, oh, Mad Libs! Silly stuff and perfect for children. Nice.

@eloh, ooooh! You got me there! My dad tossed a cigarette out the window once and it took me years to realize what it was – I thought it was some strange earth-bound shooting star. The loogie, though? Poor you!!

Douglas, the public is a bunch of schmucks. :-D OK, OK. I mean, I get it, but when does the tiny washer/dryer come in? The machine that’s going to brush my hair, address my Christmas cards?!

iNDefatigable, I agree that there are moments, especially a 13-hour trip. Wheee!

Suzy, wasn’t it?! Someone else worrying about the gas, directions, that funny sound coming from the trunk…

Ladyfi, oh, I did not want to know THAT! Really? I either need to get out more – or stay in more.

Giantspeckledchihuahua, that’s kind of how I feel about it, generally. There’s just so much going on at any given time, and we continue to allow it… Where are the Luddites when we need them?!

Eskimo Bob, right back atcha, baby.

Chris, I’m on my way!

Roshni, hmmm. No. :-D No I cannot!

Rene, remember the little barefoot impression you could make with your hand on the frost? Trying to get trucks to honk? Oh, that was fun, actually, all the kids in the back…

The Jules said...

Spent hours on the way up to Scotland playing I spy once. It was something beginning with S. We had to give up in the end.

Turned out to be 'surface'.

a mouthy irish woman? ridiculous! said...

are we there yet? are we there yet? are we there yet? are we there yet?

that was my favorite game.

darsden said...

I was here :-)

powdergirl said...

I can always count on you to give me a laugh out loud moment.
Great post, and very true.
My kids mostly played 'who can hide the most cheerios-fries-apple-cores, in the crease of the seats.
Another classic, really.

Beth said...

I spy something gun metal gray.

I'm so glad my children were forced to talk with me during our travels. Now I can say that I've inflicted my values upon them.

Great post!

Kavi said...

This Kevin bugger seems to be one heck of a bugger !! I can see a moms perspective here. And suddenly recall all what we did as kids !!

LOL !!

Had a good laugh...!!


Kate Coveny Hood said...

Oh...with there kids under the age of four, I'm ALL about the car DVD... But we don't have one right now, the power cord broke and those systems aren't cheap. So the kids are currently screaming over the toddler version of "he's not touching me" all...the...way...home. My commute sucks.

Barbara Blundell said...

I Don't think it's cool either. There's a lot to be learnt people watching and exercising the imagination inventing car games like many hippopotami can you spot ? (TRUE This kept a sleepy toddler awake for ages so that when we got home he was tired out and ready to fall into bed immediately )

C. Andres Alderete said...

My mom just drugged us, so we'd sleep our regular 4-hour road trips. In her defense, we were monsters.

Pearl said...

Jules, “surface”?! My son, at about two, went nuts on me in the car, demanding “Ah dat?” (What’s that?), pointing, repeatedly pointing as I named everything on the horizon. I finally realized what he was pointing at and, tapping the glass in front of me, said “this?”. “Yah!” he yells. It was the windshield. The little terd had been pointing and demanding to know the name of the windshield for about 15 miles…

Mouthy Irish, Oh, I forgot that one. :-D We said that once and my dad said, “yes” and pulled over. We were still on the highway, of course…

Darsden, so you was! :-D I was just wondering about you!

Powdergirl, I do find that I am finding far less food in my car, now that the boy has grown up!

Beth, that’s how I feel. Lots of talks, lots of opportunity to find out how the other feels. I actually miss nice long trips with the boy…

Kavi, that Kevin bugger was/is quite the little devil!

Kate, I can totally understand that. One of the reasons I started writing this in the first place was because of an incident in “North”, an area in Minneapolis that is, frankly, as ghetto as we get, which is ghetto enough. The SUVs over there have porn on their screens, easily visible in traffic. Not cool, particularly since there’s a stop light every two blocks. Never even got around to writing about that part of it!

Barbara, very clever! Many times as a child my father just pointed out people to me, a subtle pointing done with the head. Where’d she get that hairdo? How old do you think that person is? I think that person’s been crying, what do you think? Very healthy for the imagination!

C. Andres Alderete, Ah, the Nyquil defense! In all fairness to your mother, I HAVE heard that you were quite a monster. :-D (And nice to hear from you!!)

Adrian's Crazy Life said...

Yeah, I really don't think it's all that healthy for kids to watch so much TV and play so many video games. My son does have it for my grandchildren, but they've got 4 kids under 9, so I guess it makes sense for them. Me, I specifically chose a car that DIDN'T have a video player. That's the only time I can get my kids bored enough to actually read a book!