A Magazine about the Hudson Valley’s local economy, published by Hudson Valley Current.

Daddy Debrief: Reality

by David DeWitt

Erin and I got new phones this week. Our old ones weren’t holding a charge for very long.

It still seems odd to me that something that is supposed to have superior technology has only a few years use. I bet the land-line phone I had as a kid would still work perfectly today if it were plugged in. I suppose texting with a rotary dial would be challenging though.

After we chose our phones in the store, Erin and I stood patiently listening to the sales associate try his damnedest to up-sell us with the latest cell phone add-ons, including a thin piece of plastic to protect the screen for a mere 35 dollars more. And of course, insurance.

“Just a few weeks ago a woman dropped her phone in the parking lot right after refusinginsurance,” he said. “It was very sad.”

 “What you’re trying to do is very sad,” I thought to myself. But I understood. I use to work in retail too.

Finn was standing at my side and had gotten his hands on a demo virtual reality headset. We thought it was cute and snapped some pictures with our new phones. Then, he started walking around trying to grab at things in the ‘virtual world’.

“I want to get that little monkey!” he said, reaching his hand out and bumping into the counter. He pulled off the mask and looked around confused. “Where is it?” he said.

I took the headset from him and put it out of reach, to his dismay. I explained as best I could how it wasn’t real. I looked through it myself. It was pretty cool, but I could imagine how it seemed to him with his concept of reality.

I remember thinking at that age that people on TV were actually inside the television set. And after it had been turned off, I was convinced they were still there inside, having little parties

How confusing today’s technology must be to smaller children about what is real, especially since animation is sometimes so hyper-realistic.

 Standing there holding the virtual reality headset, looking down at his pouting face, I thought about how parents are kind of guardians of reality in early childhood. In a world where it’s hard for adults to figure out what’s real sometimes, that’s kind of a daunting task.

I thought about how much technology has changed in my lifetime and how different it will be when Finn is older. How one day he will have a phone, but hopefully won’t spend too much time staring at the screen.

When I turned back to the salesman, he was telling Erin about a gadget we just HAD to have for

the car that would record regular engine diagnostics and all sorts of other things. Then he toldus about special watches he bought for his kids to wear so he could track them at all times. Hmmm.

I think next time we’ll just buy the phones online. 

David Dewitt is an artist, blogger, and painter who lives with his family in the Rondout Valley. For more, visit daviddewitt.com.