Wednesday 23 January 2013

Blue Lagoon

I was just watching a commercial and the kids in the back of the minivan were watching videos. Each kid had a different show on their personal head rest screens. It is a fantastic use of technology. I would have given anything to have had something like this.

When we went on trips as a kid, which was pretty much every weekend going to Gram’s cottage, there was no such thing as DVD players for the car. There was no DVD player for the home. There was barely TV for the home! We did keep entertained however; Gram would sit in between Steve and myself and tell us a story. Our favourite was about two kids that were ship wrecked on an island. We made her tell us that story over and over again and eventually we would correct her when she forgot how the story went. I never knew the name of the story, but there was a movie made of the story in 1980 called “Blue Lagoon”. It was based on a book by Henry De Vere Stacpoole called “The Blue Lagoon” which was published in 1908. God I loved those drives!
We did other things to pass the time as well, like the favourite kids game “Are WE There Yet?” and how close your big brother can come to touching you without actually touching you. I particularly liked hot summer drives with the windows rolled down and 60 MPH winds blowing in your face for the entire drive. Every now and then, dad would spit out the window and the spray would hit me in the face. Loved that…just loved that!

When we went on drives, we did all of the normal things to keep the kids busy. Count the different coloured cars when the kids were younger and as they got older, we kept track of out of province license plates. I always tried the lets see how long we can keep quiet game, but it never really caught on. When they got older still, I counted the arguments the kids had in the back seat. That wasn’t fun for anyone. I am the only one that likes to read in the car and since I was the driver, I was the only one that couldn’t read. Whenever we drove past cows or horses, they would ask the kids how they were in a voice that was suspiciously like mine only deeper.

Like all parents, I threatened to stop the car, turn around and go home or any number of threats that we all knew wouldn’t happen. I pretty much hated the family drives, but loved being places with the family.

When Louise’s mom passed away last year, we all met in Toronto and drove together to Oshawa. It was like old times, me driving, Louise riding shotgun and navigating and the kids arguing in the back seat. They were also navigating as well, with their smart phones and I kind of liked the fact that we were together as a family once again. It isn’t something I’d like to do on a regular basis, but it was nice.

I don’t know what it is like doing the family trip thing with the DVD players, but I have the feeling that personal electronics will transform the experience and make the time just scoot by. Who knows, it is possible Hurricane and Tornado will pop “The Blue Lagoon” in the DVD player and enjoy the same story that I did fifty some years ago. More likely, they will be cruising down the road watching “Spongebob” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!” and keeping track of the talking cows.

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