I was at my local Fish and Chip Shop after work. I came in and ordered and then stood back and waited. It was really hopping with lots of cooking and people coming and going. When I got there, a mum and her two kids; a boy and a girl, ordered as well. The Mum took the kids over to the seats, and she sat down, and the boy sat down on the other chair. The boy and girl would have been about 11 and 12.
The Mum looked tired, but not too tired to whip out her mobile phone and go through message after message.
The girl came up to her and tried to get her attention, but the Mum pushed her away saying she was busy. She continued to flip through her messages.
The boy said something. The Mum ignored him. The girl went over and tried again; this time launching into her day and what had happened and what had been funny. The Mum stood up, told the girl to stop rambling on and that she had to make a call. She then dialled a number and began speaking to someone else.
The girl spoke louder, and the boy asked if they could watch something tonight.
The Mum shouted at them that they were too loud, and went outside the store, leaving them inside. The kids looked sad and upset. The Mum was out on her phone for another 10 minutes before returning inside the store. Then, instead of talking to her kids, she proceeded to re-check her calls, and then phone and speak to someone else!
The kids went over to the lollies, looking somewhat suspicious, and came back with two musk sticks at 10c each which they hadn't paid for. They made every attempt to distract their Mum with their gotten gains, waving the sticks at her, before proceeding to stuck on them.
The Mum went back outside and the kids discussed laughingly how they had taken the sticks.
The Mum returned, and they quickly hid the musk sticks from her. However, when she still ignored them, they pulled them out and ate them whilst she was looking at her phone.
When their order came up, they all went to the counter, where the Mum allowed them to get a drink each, and paid for it. The musk sticks were not mentioned.
I felt quite upset with the Mum. I almost said something to her. Not so much that the kids had stolen something but because they were trying desperately to get her attention, and they deserved her attention. But I didn't. She'd probably ignore me too!
When I went to leave, the kids were in the car by themselves, fighting over the drinks. The Mum was at someone else's car having a discussion with the driver.
Sometimes I feel technology is not such a helping hand but a hinderance. It allows us to hide away even when we are in plain sight of others.
I was sad for those kids, (and they seemed like good kids too) and I felt sorry for all the kids who grow up with technology-minded parents. Today its a musk stick to get attention, tomorrow it might be drugs or theft of a car or worse.