May 18, 2013

What Have You Got to Hide, Anyway?

updated March 7, 2017...

Watching The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits reruns as a kid, I couldn't understand why characters tolerated being spied on or controlled by unseen minders. It seemed melodramatic that defiant protagonists were successfully labeled trouble-makers and invariably shunned or jailed by faceless entities. I filtered these futuristic worlds through my actual childhood – hours on end spent unreachable as I rode my bike without a phone or camera or, for that matter, an adult in sight.

In heavy rotation online and on TV are commercials for home monitoring systems that promise peace of mind for working parents. “Imagine the relief,” a well-known cable-phone-internet corporation coos and guilts, “knowing you can watch your children arrive safely home from school.” The kicker, the piece I didn't account for as a kid watching science fiction, was the source of the surrender.

May 11, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

I was not a tree climber as a small child. Terribly fearful about anything that did not have stairs or a railing; I ended up, as timid kids sometimes do in spite of history and reputation, trying something. After several half-hearted attempts to scale our apple tree, I got “umph” enough to elevate myself into its basecamp – the lowest necessary spot to begin any ascent.

Not sure how I got situated the way I did, with my left thigh wedged tight where the trunk split into a V. I found that I could not leverage with my right foot to push out or up and I wasn’t able to pull free with my arms, either. Bare-legged, the pinch of the tree began to hurt. Firmly stuck, I started calling out for my mother. Looking at the kitchen window, I willed her to see me.