Thursday, November 3, 2011

In case you were wondering - yes, you can text before you can talk

The other day Julie dropped the two kids off with me downtown. I was at work and she needed to go to an appointment, so I offered to take them both out to a coffee shop around the corner from my office for half an hour.

It turned out to be a  much more surreal experience than I had imagined. I kept getting strange looks from everyone - on the sidewalk, in the buildings, in Starbucks. It hadn't occurred to me until then that kids never went downtown - at least not the part of downtown with all the office buildings. I'm pretty sure I'd have received a milder reaction had I brought them to a pub. I kept expecting someone to approach us with an, "excuse me sir, children aren't really allowed in office buildings."

We ordered a coffee, a milk, a yoghurt and a scone (I thought Emily could make do without a snack but I badly miscalculated and had to watch her eat more than half of my scone). As we sat down I thought I had better check my blackberry to make sure nothing urgent was going on (as if what I do could actually be defined as urgent). As I checked it, Emily started reaching for it and crying out. I looked at her, shrugged my shoulders, put the phone on lock and handed it to her, recognizing that we still had quite a bit of time to kill. Whatever would keep her entertained in a Starbucks full of shirts and ties worked for me.

To my astonishment, she started thumbing the keypad. And she had a clear pattern to her thumbing. Left, right, left, right, purposely hitting individual keys. Next she put the phone up to her ear and started a one way dialogue. "di si ma ti sa kin chi an. No, no, no ma chi ma. Mm hmm. Ala co." She brought the phone back down and started thumbing again. This kept her entertained for at least 10 minutes.

I've noticed recently that Emily is growing up quickly... too quickly. But this took the cake. Boy, I'm apparently doing well at modeling the benefits of the digital age. But somehow I'm convinced that texting isn't  1-year olds. I think I'll try to be more discreet from now on with my more anti-social behaviour. And maybe I'll take the kids downtown more often - to let the locals get used to seeing something different.