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Sunday, January 29, 2012

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! Never mind about the gas mileage, we’ve got to work harder on giving the people more ways to distract themselves from reality!

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.

37 comments:

JeannetteLS said...

One thing I find a little unnerving is that some of the screens are between THE FRONT SEATS. So. I wonder whether a parent driving glances up ever?

And you would think that no one ever survived a road trip without this. Besides which, my friend's kids would have FOUGHT over the movie. So they each have their own DVD player with headsets, so no one talks at all.

Which she likes. We want our children's mouths shut and minds numb--that's what it seems like. And then we wonder why test scores go down???

Sorry. I am ranting. I don't think it's cool either. I get it. Kids can be and always have been a pain in the car. To which I still end with SO WHAT? Deal. (What a pain in the hoo-ha I sound like here. Oh, well.)

NotesFromAbroad said...

I am still adjusting to the idea of DVDs .. and Cars that Talk to you.

All these phoney baloney gadgets that just keep us from having just one tiny moment of peace and quiet.

..

My brother - Kevin - would touch me .. he is lucky he lived through childhood.

Rene Foran said...

Had to drive a friend of my daughter's home the other day. She had no idea how to get home. She told me she never paid attention because she was either watching DVD's or playing video games.
I weep.

Laoch of Chicago said...

When I was a boy my mom had me read books aloud as we drove. I was the original book tape.

Inger said...

So many DVDs, pads, devices, games, texts....I wonder how much of the world, nature, other humans kids of today really notice. Or pay attention to. Thanks for visiting my blog. Fishducky is a wonderful person, I know her in real life, not just virtually. Oophs, I guess we grownups make a lot of friend in the virtual world as well. Hmmm....

esbboston said...

I always enjoyed looking out the window. I listened to my father's stories, his radio, and him singing along to the radio. I discovered that as an adult I almost always know what direction I am going N-E-S-W and I don't get lost that often. I even wander around Google Earth quite often.

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Being trapped in a car with your kids is an excellent opportunity to get to know them a little better. You can't do that if they are focused on a movie.

Sioux said...

I agree. DVD players prevent, "Mom, he's looking at me," and "Dad, he's on my side," (in the days when there wasn't seatbelts). Those were the good ol' days...

Jo said...

There were six of us kids, and usually a cat or two, and we always drove cross-country to get to whatever new base my Dad had been assigned to.
And honestly, I would have given half my soul for a DVD to distract me from my brothers and sisters....because if I read I'd get carsick and I wasn't allowed to kill my siblings.
I do not have fond memories of our trips.

BECKY said...

I'm with you, Pearl! I have great memories of car trips, whether it was to the grocery store and back (which was only blocks away) or across the country on summer vacations. If parents can't be bothered with their kids, maybe they should've never had any!

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

...and leaving your crayons in the back window to melt and sticking your chewing gum in the little ashtrays on the door and throwing up on the shoulder of the nearest adult in the front seat and playing musical chairs without the music....and.... There are/were never-ending ways to "just be" on those long drives.
Except for "Sunday Drives" when we would sing camp songs in three part harmony, deciding which of Mum and Dad's friends we would "drop in on" for supper. Gone are the days....
Rosemary

terlee said...

I can relate to most of the comments made. Four of us--3 girls and the Golden Child...er...I mean my little brother--crammed in the back seat of the car on every holiday, Sunday drive, or visit to relatives.

Ah, the fights, the tears, the threats from my parents. You can't make those happy memories by watching a DVD.

Joanne said...

I wonder if the new complaint is "He's sending me text messages. Make him stop!"

Susan in the Boonies said...

I personally support Free Range Imagination.

Plus, I don't have the bucks it takes to run movies in the car.

jabblog said...

Unless it's just one child there will still be fights over the DVDs. It's impossible to please everyone. Personally, I like gazing out of the window, particularly if I'm driving - I find it helps;-)

Beelzebug said...

Children, games, pets and cars are a bad mix. Sometimes even one kid can be mind blowingly irritating. Unfortunately modern cars don't have dicky (sp) seats

fishducky said...

I have an idea!! What if kids could actually learn to behave & talk to each other? Nah, forget it. It'd never work...........

Vapid Vixen said...

Mad Libs. It was all about the Mad Libs back in the day.

jenny_o said...

@ jabblog - LOL!!

I'm torn on this one. There were times when I could have used something like this, but it wasn't available then. And just because it's in the car doesn't mean the parents always have to use it; it could be one option of many to keep the kids from going nuts or driving their parents to the same place.

Love the "he's not touching me" complaint. Lordy, yes, siblings know so many ways to get under your skin!

JohnD said...

I've got so many 'driver assist' gadgets on my truck that they are worth more than the truck so I cannot afford to sell the truck and lose all that money I spent on fitting it out with gadgets!

Hope that makes sense?

Belle said...

One of my favorite memories from childhood was going on long drives and looking out the window at the world. Yes, my sister, brother and I would fight, play and be noisy but it was great. My father would yell, my mom would get mad at him, and yet I remember those rides with happiness.

My daughter wouldn't buy one of those DVDs for the car because she remembered the days when she was young and we would go for drives. Now her girls are teenagers they still want to go for day-long drives just to look out the window at the world.

Glen said...

Oh they are cool. they are very cool. They don't quieten down eventually by themselves - EVER. These things are the most important thing to arrive inside a car since SAT NAV and chilled glove compartments

The Elephant's Child said...

Did I just read 'chilled glove compartment'? Tell me I didn't. I haven't yet reelly come to terms with cup holders. Dinosaurs of the world unite. I think I would like to be a tyrannosaurus. It sounds suitably grumpy.

Leenie said...

For better or worse that's the way it is, especially since kids are strapped in like prisoners (another good and bad) instead of lying in the back window mooning those behind or drooling down dad's neck while he tries to get there ahead of everyone else.

Son Two and his family went with us to Yellowstone Park. The kids asked how long it would take to get there. "One Movie" was the answer. Then two of the kids decided to they wanted to ride in Grandpa's car. NO MOVIE nooOoo! While in The Park a real live bear ran across the road in front of us. If they'd been watching a movie they'd have missed it and might as well have stayed home.

Mom on the Verge said...

It ain't cool.

On the other hand, I can't figure out how we used to fly down the highway with the windows open. (We had 4-60 air conditioning: four windows down, going 60 mph.) I also remember barfing a lot. Ah, childhood...

Mom on the Verge said...

Oh, but I digress. Movies. When we have to drive all day, we'll let 'em have a movie after lunch on a portable DVD player. All morning, they'll watch out the windows, fight over the space in the back seat, and ask for fast food. We'll stop for lunch, and then they'll watch the SpongeBob Squarepants Movie. It breaks up the day. If we were driving in Yosemite, though, NO video. :)

The other thing that drives me CRAZY? "Their" music. Don't get me started... Of course, how did my mother describe Led Zeppelin? A cat being cut up with a chainsaw? Some things never change.

HermanTurnip said...

Car trips for the ADD generation. Whatever happened to spotting out-of-state license places, "slug bug blue!", and car bingo? Kids these days...

Joanna Jenkins said...

DVDs in cars.... yet another reason I don't have children.

Kidding.

Sorta.

xo jj

Tempo said...

Mom, are we there all ready...all ready?!

River said...

My kids had no chance at all in the "touching me" stakes. We had a small, brown Leyland Mini, and four kids....everybody touched everybody else...and somehow we'd fit in several bags of groceries as well. All in the days before dvds were even invented of course.

Antares Cryptos said...

They'll never know the excitement of field.field.crops.field.COW!

Gary Baker said...

With a boy and a girl 6 years apart it was agreeing on which DVD to watch that became too much for this driver to bear. The DVD player now lives in the cupboard under stairs beneath piles of shoes and left-hand mittens. Rather like Harry Potter didn't.

Tom G. said...

Drove the family to Colorado this summer. Brought along both a DVD player, and the kids video games. You'll be happy to know they tired of both after an hour, and spent most of the time looking out the window, and talking. So there's hope for the future.

Also? 46 states in the license plate game. New all time high score!

Joanne said...

Let's ask Garrison Keiller. I think he's found utopia in Minnesota.

Jocelyn said...

Our kids look longingly at all the neighbors' mini-vans full of slack-jawed children watching TOY STORY and ask us why we can't be like that.

I tell them they have to know *some* hardship in their lives. Then I hook them up to the plow.

Sarah said...

One of my most horrifying moments as a driver was just last Friday--I found myself behind an SUV of some kind with a large-screen TV in the back that I could see plain as day, and when it started to pull away I realized that I HAD BEEN CAUGHT UP WATCHING THE SCREEN while driving my own freaking car!

I agree Pearl, totally not cool!

There are enough distractions for ADD peeps like me on the road to add television to it.

Kristy said...

I love staring out the window. I am quiet in cars. A funny story from when I was little (my mom used to tell me and laugh, laugh, laugh) was when I asked, "Mommy, why does that horse have a big stick on his stomach?"