One of my sons lives near London, the other in Sheffield. I see them maybe once every few months. I call them on the phone- no joy. They don’t do phone calls, it has to be conversation via WhatsApp. I send a message saying it’s easier to say what I want to say via a call. They text back that they are in the middle of something. Then there’s 20 minutes of intermittent texting to communicate something that would have taken 2 minutes on the phone. It’s a generational divide. At least we now have one.
Growing up I wondered when they were going to exhibit the generational rebellion I had shown to my parents. My dad hated it when I played Hendrix in the house. “Rubbish!” He would shout, “the Devil’s music” or most bizarrely, “That bloody Hendrix can’t even play the guitar properly.” Try getting your head round that statement. I loved that feeling of inhabiting a different counter cultural world to my parents. My offspring,however ,have been a massive disappointment in that respect. Sure at 8 years old they mocked my musical preferences; laughing at my Tindersticks albums, yawning at Leonard Cohen and running a mile at Hank Williams. Then it all changed. My music collection became “cool” and they were right of course. My unrecognised claim to fame is that I single handedly championed the music of Nick Drake when I was 16 and no one else was listening to his albums . Now everyone’s on the bandwagon and I tiresomely have to remind everyone that,”I FOUND HIM FIRST, HE’S MINE.” So, you get the picture, they love the music I loved and now own all my old vinyl. No generation gap there. But when it comes to communicating we live on different planets.
What now with isolation? Strangely I’m communicating with them more than ever before and they are even using voice calls or as we used to call them, telephone calls. The national lockdown seems to be making people communicate more than when there were no restrictions. Before lock down I didn’t see them for months and hardly spoke to them , now I don’t see them for months but I speak to them all the time. If I were cynical I’d say they are prepping me for financial support. But maybe they are being sincere, maybe they see me as part of the vulnerable group; male, over 60, overweight, and are getting in early – doing that connecting with my dad before he croaks it stuff.
The other possibility is they are bored and after doing all the other things; exercise, shopping, cleaning, cooking, hobbies, Netflix, sex, eating, more sex and toenail trimming they have run out of things to do and thought, “oh well nothing else to do, let’s call dad.” But I’ll take that and it might be one of the unexpected bonuses of this shitstorm of a situation that friends and family connect more and appreciate each other more. That seems like a good silver lining.
Which brings me to tonight. I’d never heard of “Zoom” until last week now I’m hearing about this videoconferencing app everywhere. Both sons have accounts and yesterday we even had a chat where there were four of us on screen including my ex, the boys’ mother. Let’s just say that was a novel and interesting social situation, good, just strange. The upshot is that tonight my eldest is hosting a quiz on Zoom and my ex and her hubby will be there, I’ll be there as well as my partner’s children. All dispersed but coming together for some fun and entertainment. Just as it often takes a funeral to bring people together so it now looks like Coronavirus is helping us connect more in some ways than we ever did when we were free to move around. Is there another lesson to be learned here post crisis? I think so. I hope so. In the meantime I’m going to read and digest some quiz questions and answers because those kids need to know that daddy knows best.Yes I am very competitive and I like winning.
So fuck off virus!
Stay safe everyone. Jim x