Yesterday was a bi-monthly outing for me and a dear old lady friend. We re-connected a year ago after a twenty-year separation due to my demanding family life and life challenges in general.
For the past year, I have been making dates to take her out to accessible restaurants and events. Even at her ripe old age (which she will not elucidate), she enjoys going to new places and trying new things. When I remember to bring a camera o_O, I make sure to take photographs so that she will have something to remind her of the event.
Being with her, walking on the street and weaving our way through store aisles provides me with a reminder to slow down my pace, to practice patience and maintain respect for our elders. I have seen strangers' faces soften as I smile at them while helping her with groceries as she stands in the middle of the aisle, deciding which bunch of broccoli to pick or "... where is that milk - you know, the one with the little cap that makes it easier for me to open?". It's like we've come full-circle from the innocent observations and endless energy of children to the frail, polite and slightly confused state of our seniors.
This holiday season provides us with opportunities to re-connect with family, old friends and former co-workers. As we dine out and share in good cheer, I think that it also provides us with an opportunity to connect with the people who serve our drinks and meals. If the service was good and polite, remember to leave a big tip. Make someone's day.
Still on this line of thought, I wanted to share an interesting story I caught in one of the tech feeds this past week. You may have already seen on Daily Planet and other TV shows, about robots being tested in Japan and China. They are being used to care for seniors and even serve hungry multitudes in restaurants.
Robots wait on you in this Chinese restaurant
by Juniper Foo
December 9, 2010 11:30 AM PST
"China is turning out to be the new Japan, judging by all the cool tech stuff it's turning out, including, now, robot waiters. Sign of the times? At China's new Dalu Rebot (sic) restaurant in Jinan, patrons are greeted by two robot receptionists and attended by six robo-waiters (and no, they don't accept tips)."
Full article: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20025188-1.html
As an IT worker and forward thinker, I am in favour of efficiencies that technology can provide. I do caution though that if it is not used wisely, it could create a cold, impersonal world.
Permit me to lead you to an excerpt of my hopeful novel where ten year-old Sera discovers something new at the Red Hare, a family restaurant run by family friends. In it, she rediscovers a place of comfort and warmth.
Thanks for reading this far!