"You have to crawl before you can walk!"
That was the sage advice (at least I thought so) that I offered my son this afternoon as he worked on doing an 'ollie' (a jump) with his new skateboard although he can barely ride it for more than a few meters without having to jump off. He looked at me with that withering look that pre-teens reserve for their mothers when we try to impart out-dated wisdom.
"Nah," he responded, "I can walk first," then proceeded to execute a small jump on the board.
I left the US for just five years, but I feel like a time warp has occurred. So much of what was status quo has changed and I definitely have no time to spend crawling if I am going to catch up. Despite my IT background, I stuck my head in the sand before I left, refusing to acknowledge some developments - Blackberry (why did I need to have my email accessible 24-7?), rewinding live TV (how is that even possible?!) and self-check out (I still refuse to use this unless my groceries will cost less) are a few examples. Now I have kids coming to the house and expecting to find all the gadgets to which they are accustomed. They touch screens and wonder why there is no response and marvel at the fact that there is no Wii, PSP or other similar gadgets in my house (my poor, deprived children, I know.)
Now I have to catch up, I can't give my children definitive proof that they are smarter than I am! I have figured out why there is no one in the stores (except Target and Walmart). It's not the economy. Everyone is shopping online. You can browse, enlarge, order samples, check out competitors prices, read reviews and 'talk to an expert online'. Why leave home? I am sure that someone will soon create a way to send sensations so that will simmulate the item's smell and touch through your computer screen ... oops, did I just give away the idea behind my sci-fi novel?
All that being said, it is good to be back in the USofA and although the settling process has been a long one, I look forward to feeling like one of the natives very soon ... and getting back to a space where I can write.