In a ‘Norman Rockwellesque’ vision of America; innocent and replete with small town intimacy and wholesome family values, you might imagine ‘Grandma’ or ‘Grandpa’ sitting in front of the fireplace on a quiet evening, reading a story to a hushed circle of spellbound grandchildren.
Take a 50 year leap forward to the present with me and see how technology has spawned a ‘future’ that is surprisingly more Rockwellian than Orwellian. If I had not been so mesmerized by the scene I might have grabbed my camera so you could see this for yourselves and, I suppose I could have asked the participants to pose for a reenactment, but that would have looked contrived.
Setting the Scene:
It is the summer of 2007. Grandma has rented a house by the beach and invited the family to join her for a week of sun, fun, and relaxation. The house is equipped with wireless internet access and the dining room table is ‘computer central’ with one Macbook (mine) and one Macbook Pro (grandma’s).
A, definitely non-1950’s, Grandmother, one son (myself), one daughter-in-law (my wife), three grandchildren, and a girlfriend of one of the aforesaid grandchildren. The age range for the grandchildren is 15 to 20. You can extrapolate everyone else’s ages from there.
It is early evening and everyone is back from the beach and getting ready to go out to dinner. My wife and I are the last to come downstairs and are greeted by this tableau at the dining room table. Grandma is seated in front of her computer screen and is reading out loud. She is surrounded by grandchildren, all of whom are listening with rapt attention while looking over grandma’s shoulder to see the screen from when comes the source of her story.