Friday, September 25, 2009

Hanging Out

I'll be looking after two grandsons for a few days while their parents are away. Since they're 8 and 10 years old, "baby-sitting" doesn't quite seem like the right term. So I've decided to say I'm "hanging out" with them.

Hanging out, as I understand it, means spending time with other people, but without a definite schedule or agenda except for being together and talking. This past-time can take many forms. My kids' generation hung out at the local mall or recreation center. After complaints from teen-agers of my generation that there was nothing to do (which I never understood), teen centers were created to give them a place to hang out. At other times and in other places, people have hung out in pool rooms and pubs. I suppose you can't really hang out at a library (one of my favorite places to be) since patrons are not supposed to talk.

I've been transcribing a diary my mother kept, starting from the day she graduated from high school in 1930. She lived in a small town where there wasn't a lot to do. There were certainly no teen centers, and I don't think there was even a movie theater. (Though watching a movie may not qualify as hanging out since there's a time factor and a specific activity.) Her version of hanging out was "going up-town". She must have walked the mile several times a week, sometimes to buy some small thing, but often just to have something to do. At least she got some fresh air and exercise.

Now people hang out virtually. That's what social networking websites are all about. We slump down in front of our computers and check in to see who else has checked in. We make brief, often trivial comments, just to make a connection. Crafting very brief, cryptic and intriguing posts can rise to an art form, but multiple reports about people's status in the virtual world of game apps is just annoying. I may eat my words, though. I saw one game app that looked interesting, and I could get sucked in.


Post a Comment

<< Home