Going back on my word


I’d hoped I was the sort of person who was impeccable with his word, who carried through with the things he committed to do. Not the sort of person who said he’d do one thing, and then ended up doing the exact opposite. Thus this morning filled me with shame and regret.

At 8am Singapore time, I slunk down to the foyer of the hotel and called my wife on Skype, then spent ten minutes talking to my daughter. After all the times I’ve said we’re going to keep her away from televisions, touch screen phones and other extraneous technology, there my wife and I were, complicit in inflicting an iPad experience upon our youngest.

To be honest, I’m not sure how much Felicity noticed. Because I was in a public space and feeling inhibited, I didn’t sing her the “Where’s The Baby?” song. (That consists of me singing “Where’s The Baby?!” in an increasingly gruff voice, and when I’m bored, “There’s The Baby!”, over and over again.) Without any parental some singing, I don’t think she was particularly entranced by my performance, or she was more focused on breakfast. But still, I’d willingly let her peer at a computer screen.

It’ll be a 24 hour marathon of Angry Birds before you know it.

Still, I got to see the two of them: technology is a wonderful thing. Even hundreds of miles away, I can look at my child. Of course, if technology was better, then I’d be able to look at my colleagues from hundreds of miles away, and be sat at home bouncing my child on my knees. That seems to be an ideal that the world never approaches: to get so much done, you still have to press the flesh, to be there in person, rather than have a meeting mediated by computer.

Of course, that would be an ideal that could put people out of work: no more conferences could be a pain point for lots of hoteliers, audio visual consultants, event organizers, bus drivers … even etiolated marketing analysts like myself. The revolution could consume its children.

And would it be worse to eat your own children, or somebody else’s, or just push a metaphor beyond breaking point?


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