My brother and I have been working out together late at night. Around 9PM most nights. We walked by the pool in my neighborhood yesterday, and my brother made a comment that has left me unsettled. Looking out at the glistening pool, in all its glory. He said, “that pool wouldn’t stand a chance”. I looked up at him, puzzled. Seeing the reflection of the small waves in his eyes I asked, “What?” He responded by saying, “We would have broken into the pool, fully clothed, and jumped in. Easily.” I laughed in response. It was true.
Flash black to 10 years ago at 9PM, my mom would have been screaming my name to come inside. I would have pleaded with her to allow me 15 more minutes of freedom only to be let down by her stern look that would cut right through my forehead. On my way up the stairs I would have mumbled about how unfair life was because Yeliz could stay out all night. I’m sure I smelled like grass, and sand, and sweat, and worms. Looking back I realize it really was time for me to go inside. I had enough fun for the day…and night.
As my brother and I walked home I looked out at the desolate parking lot and deserted field. I wondered, “Where are all the kids?”, “Why aren’t Yeliz and Trey posted up by the mail box setting paper on fire?” and “Why don’t I ever hear parents screaming out their children’s names to come inside for dinner?” “What are these kids doing?” I began to think about the way our communities have changed. It’s heartbreaking to see that children would rather chat online and email than to actually spend time with someone or play…outside. It’s even more disappointing that parents would allow their children to make friends online and never concern themselves with physical interaction. I think parents want to insure the safety of their children (which is fine), but I don’t think they realize the damage they are doing to their social skills by not making them interact. I heard a Def Jam poet (Shannon Matesky) once say, “We can’t deal with the face to face so we let technology replace the space that people are supposed to fill”. It makes me wonder how we got here. Did our neighborhoods get too violent? Did the thrill of technology overshadow our need for physical contact? Or is it both? I can blog all day about how this change in our culture is affecting our social skills, but don’t even get me started on childhood obesity as a result of this change as well.
I guess it is a good thing that we don’t have to worry about the pool being broken into, but I wonder “WHY ISN’T THE POOL BEING BROKEN INTO?”
Just in case you wanted to see Shannon Matesky: