Monday, 12 March 2007

Today’s observations of the humans

The first observation took place as I was nearing the end of my lunch. I was still masticating the remnants of fried corn tortillas, the rest of the meal vanquished, when a mother and her daughter were seated in the booth behind me. Seated as I was, I was able to view them as they entered the restaurant, interacted with the hostess/waitress, and moved to their table. The mother was on her mobile phone the entire time.

It was obvious from her side of the conversation this was a good friend, and the conversation was quite pleasant, resulting in a few giggles and laughs. The conversation continued throughout the seating process, the delivery of the menus, paused briefly to place drink orders, then continued. At about this point I lost interest, returning my full focus to the contents of the magazine I had brought with me.

The judgmental thought which entered my mind was this: what must this woman’s daughter think of the fact that they are out to lunch on a school day and her mother is on the phone?

Now this young lady may have thought nothing of it. She appeared to be the age of those attending middle school, and may have cared less that her mother was on the phone. Certainly there are those in their teen and pre-teen years who are thoroughly embarrassed to be seen in public with their parents, even if there is little or no chance of their being seen by their peers. She may have had this attitude.

She may have also wondered how in the world her mother could ignore her by continuing to chat on the phone with a friend.

Perhaps lunch between mother and daughter is nothing special. Plenty of us go out to eat or eat at home with some sort of constant interruption. For myself, we’re making a concerted effort to have media turned off and phones put away during dinner at home. The little phisch isn’t old enough for GameBoys or PSPs yet, so when we’re out to eat—and I don’t see why parents allow their children to play with such devices while they’re eating out—we don’t have that distraction, and we minimize the interruption by the mobile phone.

Behind my wife and child, I love my parents more than anyone else on this blue marble, but I’d still ask them if I could call them back when we’re finished eating. There is a part of me looking forward to the day when I say to a friend or family member, “Hey, I’d really like to talk more about this, but can I call you back? I’m having lunch with my son.”

* * *

The second observation took place shortly thereafter, as I transported from the restaurant to the grocery store for a few staples. As I entered the checkout line, I observed two women in front of me, of similar height and similar dress. The one closest to me was clearly a young lady, most likely high school age, perhaps early college. From the look and dress of the other woman with her, my first instinct was that of a friend.

I learned soon enough, however, when the second woman turned to pay the cashier, that she was in fact the young lady’s mother.

On the one hand, I think that if a woman has the figure to wear the same clothes as her daughter, more power to her. On the other hand, there is a part of me that wants to scream, “Grow up already!”

* * *

The final observation for this post concerned the time in transport from the grocery to my abode. I have long been fascinated by the concept of “talking with one’s hands”, and I do not refer to sign language when I say this. Some people can simply not help but gesticulate while speaking. This goes beyond the mere use of gestures to get a point across. It is as if, as my mother put it, some people would suddenly go mute if you were to tie their hands behind their back. Either that, or their bodies would convulse wildly to compensate.

Such was the nature of the man in the pickup truck in front of me. His left hand held a mobile to his ear, while his right hand gestured repeatedly throughout the conversation. He was, quite simply, driving with nothing more than one wrist. This was deeply troubling. Granted, we were never above approximately forty miles an hour with regard to our speed, but his behavior could have led to disastrous consequences. It made me ponder whether I should keep a stash of hands-free sets in my vehicle to toss at random to such persons.

posted on March 12, 2007 2:41 PM




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