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Like Father...

by Casey White
January 9, 2003

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Like Father..._Casey White- On my way back home from vacation, I was in the Charlotte airport, concourse B, where I spotted a man in his mid-forties, as he briskly walked down the concourse. He had sandy-brown perm-curled hair, and was casually dressed in earth tones, with his shirt unbuttoned two buttons from the top. He sported a light brown leather coat as well as a gold chain around his open neck. He was talking loudly on his cell phone as he power-walked.

Behind the man was a teenage boy of 16 who was walking just as briskly, about two paces behind his father. He was wearing an Aeropostale shirt, cargo pants, and had salon-styled hair, with highlighted tones and plenty of firm-hold gel. His necklace was one of the dark-colored, large-bead necklaces popular with school kids. He was also holding a cell phone to his ear, and talking just as quickly and as loudly as his dad.

My first impression was that of being part of a crowd observing a parade. It made me laugh to myself, because a sight like this would be hard to set up. They didn't hesitate. They were full steam ahead, oblivious to their surroundings. Yes, it was like a little movie scene, something from the Disney channel. Exaggerated. Animated. Fun.

But after the show had gone up the ramp to the main terminal, I became more reflective and sad. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it was seeing and hearing yet another loud cell phone conversation, no... two at once. Perhaps it was the fashions from two generations revealing certain similar insecurities. Or perhaps it was the fact that not too many years ago, those cell phones wouldn't have been there at all. Father and son might have been talking to one another, rather than to others via our sophisticated wireless technology.

Well, we can't turn our backs on progress. Or can we?

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S.E. Shepherd from The Partial Observer writes:
January 9, 2003
Casey White's observations are always astute and insightful. Like Father... struck me in particular, as I often wonder if we have confused technology with progress and luxury with necessity. I have seen small families move into houses so big, they have to communicate to each other through telecomms. A recent cell phone add had a teenage son saved from a family vacation, because he could talk to his friends back home, instead fo his dull parents. Modern technology has allowed us to isolate ourselves farther and farther from those closest to us (family), and then we wonder why kids seem so messed up. Maybe we should stop and examine whether progress is really progress.

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