If the urban enclave in which you live is anything like San Francisco’s Mission District, then you know that going to dinner just before 7 means two things: you will beat the rush, and you will be dining with urban parents and their children.
If you were at Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack at around 7 last night, you would have only had to wait about 15 minutes, and you would have been sitting near a table with four parents, two couples, and four kids, aged about 1 – 8. With the exception of the infant, each child had an iPhone, and each stared intently into a tiny screen throughout the meal (picture Poltergeist). Each parent would also take periodic breaks from drunken banter to stare into their own mini-screen.
One Mom had a bottle of milk, one assumes pre-pumped milk. (New Yorker this week: great article on breast-pumps.) And the imagined scene of the gucci-esque breast-pumper, and these kids staring into tiny screens, sans human interaction, in this urban bohemian enclave, felt like some paranoid 50’s sci-fi fantasy. But instead of the robotic take-0ver being aggressive and hostile, we choose – we want – these mechanized lives.
And maybe, phones replacing coloring books, breast-pumps replacing self-denial – maybe, maybe so what?