modernity, revisited?

Briefly, then gotta get started on working in an abbreviated Thanksgiving week…

Every so often I find myself in a situation with family or work and realize that something’s different, something’s new — and I try to take myself out of the moment a little bit to notice it.

This morning at the breakfast table, as I was packing up and getting ready to head into work, I was half-listening to SPL and his babysitter — they were talking in Mandarin to each other — but when I looked up, the subject matter was one of my own books from when I was a kid: Richard Scarry’s Busytown. And that caused me to think about how many of the little vignettes of our morning were incredibly traditional, but also incredibly modern.

– Kathy & I had already read the morning’s news — but me from my laptop news reader and Kathy was scanning through on her iPhone — we haven’t gotten a daily or weekly newspaper for probably 10 years

– We were all dressed appropriately for the weather — but not because of information in the paper or the morning TV news, but over the Web, naturally

– SPL & his babysitter, reading Busytown, but talking about it in Mandarin

Anyway, today felt like a rich combination of new and old to me — and, really, something that felt very California modern. I have a sense/hope that 20 years from now the differences will be not so much about information usage but about materials and energy usage. We’ll see, I suppose.


  1. my oldest is only 5 so no iphone scanning for the news / social sites just yet. Should be interesting to see how our modern busytown evolves in the next few. We love the Richard Scarry books too – classics!

  2. That's a really interesting topic I often thought of myself. The things that changed during the years and the possible changes that will take place in the future. I guess sometimes we don't really see all these changes that happened during the last years and when we finally see all those changes we are surprised.

  3. Huckle rules! I was a big fan of the Richard Scarry books as a kid…now that I'm a parent it's interesting to see how the world of Busy Town is still so similar to ours in some ways, yet also getting increasingly quaint as the years go by.