Spring Break evenings at the beach have been going something like this:
- Give one walkie-talkie to group of small children. Remember to keep the other.
- Negotiate order and precise length of turns with the walkie-talkie.
- Reassure children that they will know when it’s the next person’s turn because an adult will tell them.
- Reassure children that even though no adults will be physically present, someone will be able to tell them whose turn it is by walkie-talkie.
- Send children away to play while watching from balcony three floors up.
A typical exchange might be
Child: “Are you okay up there?”
Adult: “Yes, we’re okay. Are you okay down there?”
Child: “Yes, we’re okay. I’m coming up now.”
Adult: “That was quick. Are you done playing?”
Child: “No, I need to tell you something.”
Adult: “Um, you could tell me on the walkie-talkie.”
Child: Looks surprised. “Oh. Well, I want you to help me put the walkie-talkie on my belt.”
Adult: “Okay, but if we fasten it to your belt, how will you talk into it?”
Child: Moves hand between belt and mouth. Bends down experimentally towards midsection.“Oh yeah. Never mind.”
Adult: “It’s the next person’s turn now.”
Child: Yells next child’s name at full volume, while still depressing the talk button.
Adult: Waits for hearing to return.
Communication would definitely be easier if we gave them an iPhone each, but watching their confusion over old-school technology is way more entertaining. I’ll take a moment of smugness while I still can.