Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What's that teddy? Speak up I can't hear you

I was at a restaurant last night, one of the area's most popular and well deserved award winning establishments.  It was my husband's birthday so I was hoping for a quiet table for two near the window to enjoy the shadows of beach goers strolling alongside the setting rays of the sun.  As we were lead towards our table I could see in front of me a large party of talkers with a toddler seated in the high chair planted up against the table.  My immediate reaction was oh God, will this child ruin our night?  Will it hurl prize winning food on the floor and squeal like a stuck pig all night sending us scurrying to the emergency table alongside the kitchen doors?  It didn't.  It was silent.  Completely silent all night.  This child came equipped with ipad and noise cancelling earphones.  The parents were free to continue their one-upmanship conversation with their newly appointed acquaintances without a single squirm, squeal or murmur from their offspring.  Brilliant, yes in one way, not so sure in another.  As one who would see the benefits in educating children in the adult world of dining and food experiences, I'm not sure blocking them out entirely brings many benefits other than adult convenience and patron appreciation (and again, thank you).  While we can question what life skills this generation will have from ears filled with the noise of pong, pong, pong which I imagine accompanies the child level electronic games used to amuse, I can only hope that the pong, pong generation at some point get to learn some table manners in spite of the equivalent electronic lampshade put on their heads today.  As children we leaned in to adult conversation around dinner tables to gain valuable information about our parents.  We learned to understand their motivations, what made them laugh and we learned about food.  Toys were for playtime and whilst the evening paper may have made an appearance, teddy was rarely invited.  Even if he was, he would have been very quiet, he didn't require earphones and certainly didn't pong.

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