Road Trip Diplomacy

ambree in carWhen I went on a trip with my daughter’s family, I imagined teaching my grandchildren raucous songs, like “Booma Chicka Boom,” and playing cutthroat games of “Animal, Vegetable, Mineral.” But today’s kids are sadly lacking in the fine art of bonhomie developed when singing “99 Bottles of Pop on the Wall” and they seem less opportunistic than previous generations in using the prison-like confines of the family car to hone their sibling rivalry techniques, which in previous generations served as the training ground for politicians, lobbyists, and CEOs.

I came armed with snacks, travel Yahtze, and words to dozens of songs, but when I climbed in the car, the kids were already plugged into their devices. Five-year-old Genavae was playing Strawberry Shortcake Bake Shop on the Kindle, thirteen-year-old Russel was immersed in the world of Minecraft, and the other two were rigged out with headphones and separate screens for watching videos.

Today’s kids are going to be seriously lacking when it comes to elbowing out their colleagues at work and playing chicken on the highway. When I was a kid, traveling with siblings was boot camp for future Marines and car salesmen: we learned the intricacies of torturing our parents with incessant whining, how to rat on our siblings, and the art of delivering silent jabs while keeping a look of innocence on our faces.

When my own children weren’t arguing about who was encroaching on whose space, they delivered  torture without leaving a mark, created mock disasters, and simulated emergencies, like “I’ve got to go to the bathroom. Now!”

My grandchildren, on the other hand, are traveling zombies. The only time they regain consciousness is if the Kindle runs out of battery power or the movie comes to an end. Every hour or two their parents toss them a fruit snack or granola bar to keep them from becoming comatose.

I have to admit there is some advantage to traveling with sleepwalkers, but where will future stock traders and loan sharks learn their skills? I can see it now: when it’s time to negotiate a spending bill in Congress, everyone will spontaneously retreat to I-pad land and the government will default.

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About Judy Grigg Hansen
I write poetry and nonfiction, and I am passionate about the people, places, and wildflowers of Idaho and the Northwest.

2 Responses to Road Trip Diplomacy

  1. Hi, Marsha I’m not sure about insightful, but I was shocked at how quiet they all were (which might be a good thing). Judy

  2. Marsha Buccambuso says:

    Absolutely love this. So insightful. Marsha

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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