Family Dinner Time in 2014 - A Father's Horror Tale
Hiya Creeps, like I’ve said before, I don’t always write horror and this is one of those times. OMG! What's wrong with me? Nonetheless, here is a humorous and maybe even a horrific look at how electronics has invaded the sanctity of the family dinner table.
Opening up the bedroom door and sticking my head in I ask, “Did you do your homework? It's almost time for dinner.”
I watch for a moment as some creature’s head explodes into a mass of green jelly. While I can appreciate and even enjoy the scene, I’m still constantly reminded that being the head of the family has its responsibilities. “You should be doing your homework instead. Pause it, come to dinner and then hit the books first. And please, don’t make me ask you again”.
He carelessly tossed the controller down and it landed partway on and partway off the side of his yet unopened math textbook. I closed the door hoping that it would mysteriously fall completely off, giving him an unobstructed and reminding view of the book.
At the next door, covered with posters and meticulously cut out pictures from a teen magazine, I call out, “Dinner’s almost ready!"
Lingering for a moment, I listen and hope for a voice to come from behind the prior door, but there is none. I continue on, down the stairwell and back toward the kitchen.
Clutching it, the beads of sweat erupt again as I struggle to issue a text to the person behind that furry door, my oldest daughter, who, at seventeen, just happens to be thinking she’s twenty-five. Before punching one single letter, I wonder whether she is in the midst of trying on clothes, playing with new makeup colors, reading the latest teen vampire novel, social networking, talking to a girlfriend or any number of other things that I can’t keep up with. Nonetheless, obviously I’m mistaken at my conception of distance. For somewhere along the way thirty or forty feet turned into thousands of miles and now the only guaranteed sure way to get in touch with her is through a text. And, I find it incredibly amazing that she can’t seem to hear me calling to her at the top of my lungs from the opposite side of the door, but she will hear that barely audible faint little beep that emits when a text message comes into her phone…even from the next county.
Peering over the cluttered nook bar into the living room, I tell my littlest, lying in front of the television on her belly with head propped up on elbow reinforced palms, that dinner is almost ready.
“No. It's a repeat anyway,” I retort after a quick glance at the television verifies this.
And then there were the times when I would have to go through the whole routine again, while the food sat cooling on the nicely set table. This would usually be on either a Friday or Saturday, when the children had other plans that I wasn’t privy to. In those times, with a light chuckle, I often fantasized about using the only true and assured way to get them to immediately come running, usually with loud accompanying voices; shutting the entire home’s electricity completely off. However, if I went that far and actually acted upon it, besides being looked at as an ogre and ingesting a tremendous amount of wraith since saved games and picture uploads and music downloads would be lost, I would then need someone under the age of fifteen to reset all the electronics.
But, I still secretly enjoy the thought.
This, no matter how hard I tried, never seemed to change. The normal conversations didn’t apply, usually consisting of only one single word blurted out. Most times that word was “mmmha,” which, to begin with, isn’t even a word in the dictionary, yet was completely understood by everyone at the table…except me.
Yes, every single night when that sound would bellow, a deathly silence would impale and each child, with the exception of the youngest who had yet to be the proud owner of a cell phone, would, almost in unison, drop their forks and reach for their cell phones that were meticulously hidden from view. One of the children would, with the speed of a cobra, begin to type a return note and the others would continue on… at least until the next one would chime in.
Suddenly, dinner would be over and each child would dash off still chewing, back to the electronic gizmos and gadgets and I would be alone with the mess. Patiently and alone, I finish my meal and wish for the slower times, when electronics did not rule. But, those days are long over and it is no use crying over spilt milk. My only other option is to join them in this electronic craze. Otherwise, with the exception of the meager daily passing on our way to the rat race, time would be lost. For other than the child’s birth, there appears to be only two other times in which I can command and receive their full attention. The first would be during the few short years directly before understanding the television remote control, and the second would be when the post teenage child would exit their bedroom, just in time to leave the home entirely…with my wallet in tow.
But, I’ll begin that undertaking tomorrow, since tonight is their favorite television show and I’ll have another opportunity to be with them when we all sit and watch it together. And, since is the case, I won’t have to search for the remote control because, after all, every child has that special built-in television remote control finder…at least when they’re shows are coming on.
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