Are you seeing all the essays nostalgic for the freewheeling summers we had when we were kids? Some are funny; others are beautiful and wistful; but what they all have in common is a disdain for today’s plugged-in brand of summer fun.
You know what though, guys? I don’t feel sorry for kids today. I’m jealous.
Imagine little 1980s me, making mud pies in the sandbox, getting eaten alive by mosquitos, flicking aside the occasional cat poop. There she is. Isn’t she cute? Let’s ask her a question, shall we?
Hey, there, little Peyton! Looks like you’re having a great time there. You wouldn’t want to come inside and watch a magic TV from the future with every single episode of every show on it, would you?
I guess that’s a yes. I didn’t even get the chance to tell her we have air conditioning!
And what about music? You loved music as a kid too, didn’t you? Today the entire world of music is only a few clicks away. Would you really prefer to kick it old school, begging your mom for a ride to the mall so you could buy a cassette you have to flip yourself like some kind of animal? I didn’t think so.
You know what I didn’t have in the summer? Friends. They fell into an abyss on the last day of school and stayed there until the class lists were posted at the end of August. At that point, we could try to call around with the big news, but it was no use because every number was busy. No call waiting. No voice mail.
It must be amazing to be a kid today, with a tiny pocket computer that INSTANTLY SHOWS YOUR FRIENDS’ MOVING FACES WHILE THEY ARE TALKING TO YOU. This is Star Trek future stuff, people. It’s wonderful that kids can maintain and enjoy friendships with other kids they actually have something in common with, rather than being stuck like little Peyton: riding bikes with the jerks who happen to live on the same side of the busy road no one is allowed to cross.
Speaking of bikes, what’s with all the romance about riding around in circles looking around for other kids who might possibly be around? Look, there’s little Peyton again, sloooowly riding back and forth, over and over, in front of Jill’s house. She’s hoping her friend will come home from the library before an adult comes out and shoos poor little Peyton away. These days, my son and his biker gang text like madmen, coordinating their arrival at the neighborhood pool to the millisecond, swooping in simultaneously for maximum impact (and gravel dispersal — sorry, pool people). Admit it. That would have been so cool.
Plus, CARS. Today’s kids have it made, with personal drivers who make all the arrangements and deliver them wherever they want to go in total luxury. Do people reminiscing about family road trips even remember how hard siblings without iPads and headphones can punch? We actually thought getting a trucker to honk was entertainment! We had no cup holders! How sad is that? The saddest.
There was one amazing, fantastic, unbeatable thing about our childhoods, though. We were children. That’s what we really miss — being young and free to imagine all this stuff we have today. Our children will miss it, too, from futures only they can imagine.More On