On Saturday, my 9-year-old went to a birthday party in our neighborhood. That left 6-year-old pissed that he couldn't go, so my wife and I took him to a carnival for fun. In a surprising act of kindness, a stranger insisted we not pay for a $20 wristband because he had a voucher for a kid's wristband. We were both hesitant because people are so often terrible and we both possess the minimum level of street smarts, but this guy seemed legit and turned out he was. We had a nice time and felt better about wasting $20 on games and fried dough we had saved on the wristband. My dad makes better fried dough in his kitchen than what you can find at any carnival or county fair, by the way.
The main detail in the above paragraph is that once in while you encounter a kind stranger. My wife tried to give him some money but he declined. I asserted that our built up karma had boomeranged to good effect, and suggested we pay it forward soon.
Saturday night we partied. I'm never the life of the party and I'd rather be at a public library than a party, and I'd rather read than party. But every once in a while I shed my boring self and join in the fun. My wife happens to be Director of Fun in our relationship so occasionally I step my game up so she doesn't dump me for someone taller and more fun. That's like 88% of the population so it wouldn't be a difficult task. Anyhow, we met a bunch a couples out and tore through downtown Buffalo as if we weren't in our late 30s and early 40s. Once in a while I could see a younger side-eyeing us for our conduct but I couldn't care less. One of the benefits of growing old is caring less.
Fast forward to today. My wife is at a training for work so it's just me and the boys. It rained hard this morning so I took them to Sky Zone which is a fun indoor trampoline place. I didn't see a single kid in the place get hurt or cry which is a welcome relief from the usual crying and injuries you see whenever you go outside and find yourself in proximity to children.
I'm always up for a trip to Sky Zone. I find myself very relaxed there and like to observe people. Observing public space for a sociologist is like water for normal human beings. Observations keep me running. I found myself looking at my phone a lot because you can only observe so much without losing attention and plus the phone has information and I'm an information junkie so I can't go very long without looking at my phone. Suddenly I realized that contrary to what Sherry Turkle says not everybody is on their phones all the time. People are totally capable of social interaction and all the kids and adults (except for me) seemed to me getting along in life just fine without their devices. Granted, we were only in Sky Zone for an hour and it's a small sample of people I observed, but I'm not kidding you I was the only one looking into a phone. And good for me, because information. And good for them, because they were content.
So there you have it faithful readers, my leftover observations and experiences. Publishers, get at me if you want me to assemble an accessible book for the public called Leftover Observations and Experiences that should be priced right at $4.99.