We were out for a motorcycle ride today when a family van with an Indian license plate overtook us at a good clip, the face of the driver scowlingly tense. Robin said, “the GPS must have gone on the blink. Maybe that’s why Mom’s on her cell phone.” Two of the three children in the rear were attached to wires: a boy bobbing his head to I’m sure some MP3, a girl next to him staring at a DVD screen viewed from overhead, and the other child, of which I’m not sure the gender, was bent over some electronic game being played in his hands.. Clearly there were enough virtual realities available in the vehicle to entertain several ranch hands for a few months.
As all of us travelers know, inventors of electronic gadgets and parts are not at fault for such disconnections. The blame here lies with farmers, who years ago, ceased putting colored glass ball lightning rods on their houses and barns for traveling children to tally. It lies with Burma Shave for giving up on roadside doggerel to keep young ‘uns chanting for miles. And also with highway engineers for cutting down on road bumps called kiss-me-quicks that gave us children a chance to watch the roll of the land. We’d asked our dads to drive a bit faster so the next bump would bring the possibility of getting a bit airborne. Remember those days?