As I sit here, alone, finishing off the cold remains of my dinner, I think about my drive, alone, from work to my apartment. I saw a rather peculiar thing. Well, it struck me as strange.
Every day, to and from work, I drive by a used children's toy store. I do not know if you have seen these -- yards full of Fisher Price play houses and Hot Wheels jeeps. Today, one toy sat in the yard, alone.
When I was young (and I am no old man writing this, it wasn't too long ago) we had what seems to be considered dangerous today, a very special toy in play grounds. The see saw, or teeter totter (interesting names, maybe worth some research in the future).
The see saw was basically just a very long board with an axis of some sort in the middle, usually a pole or something built up. This contraption required (preferably) two people to use, one sitting on each end of the long board. One child would push up with their feet, sending the other child down, at which point that child would push up. Imagine a two person version of swinging, but without the chains. Once a rhythm was established this activity could go on for hours (translated into the attention span of a child, ten minutes). Once you got into the rhythm of the whole thing, the real point of the see saw could be reached.
Talking. Socialization, in our big grown up words. The whole point of a see saw (outside of tricking someone into getting in the "high" position, then abandoning your post, leaving them to fall) was to just talk and have fun.
If you think about it, that was the point of almost every play ground activity. From swinging, to hanging around on the monkey bars; at least it seemed that way for me, and I am not very social.
What I saw today, sitting alone, is our modern equivalent to the see saw. Though, made out of plastic, it was unmistakably a see saw... almost.
The board was not long, it was short. The axis was not in the middle, but at the end of the board. At the other end of the board, taking the place of a child pushing up in opposition to his playmate's push, sat a ball attached to the underside of the board. May I present to you, the one person see saw.
Is this what we have become?