Saturday, April 17, 2010
Where Is The "Off" Button?
Like most people, we have several phones spread around the house. There is one in just about every room. This way, when the phone rings, it is very easy to answer it, if we chose to. They are all cordless, are yours probably are too, except for the one in the kitchen. It is your typical, old style (although not as old style as the picture above) wall phone.
Last week, two of our granddaughters, four and ten years old, had dinner with us. Shortly before dinner, their Dad called to talk to them. I answered the phone in the kitchen -- the wall phone. He asked to talk to the girls, so I handed the phone to them. The four-year-old was the last one to talk to her Dad. When she was finished, she looked at the phone, then looked up at me and said,
"Where is the off button?"
I looked at her a little quizzical, and then realized what she was asking, and said,
"Just hang up the phone on the wall.
Well, you would have thought I asked her to solve a second order differential equation. She did not understand what I said at all.
She just looked at me. I could imagine her saying "What the F are you talking about?" Of course, a four-year-old does not talk like that, but I realized at that moment that she did not understand what it meant to hang up a phone. The only phones she is familiar with are cordless phones. They have a off button. You don't hang them up. We might say we are hanging them up, but in reality we are turning them off. I took the phone from her and hung it back on the wall. I don't think she really understands what I did. As far as she knows, I just put the phone back in its place. I don't think she realizes that I also turned it off in the process of hanging it up.
As you get old and look back over your life, there are many things that we took as natural and common, that children now have no idea what we are talking about. I guess it has always been that way, but I am just starting to realize it.
I'm not sure if that means I am getting old, or getting smarter.