It was mid-April, when school was entering its final throes and summer was tickling at the edge of our fancies. Determined to keep my siblings and me from staring at screens for all of our week-long Spring Break, they quickly planned a trip with a few family friends.
QUARTER-FINALIST 2015 FTF TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
The plan was to rent a vacation house, but not just any vacation house. This particular place was a decent half-hour up a mountain, powered by solar energy, and, as my parents were oh-so-excited to repeatedly announce for the better part of a month, had no wi-fi.
The house was located just at the edge of Sequoia National Park, and the weather had been very sunny, even though it was cloudy when we arrived. Stepping out of our air-conditioned car felt like stepping into a sauna. We escaped into the house and immediately turned on all of the fans. However, due to the owner believing that there might be an issue with the power system, we were warned to not use too much power by using too many electric devices (i.e. don’t use the fans and plug in phone chargers at the same time). The next morning, when the owner of the house came up the mountain to personally tell us that she had ironed out the issue with the system, our parents joked about how quickly all the outlets in the house filled up with phone chargers. I ignored them; we were supposed to go on a hike later in the day, and I would rather have a charged phone than a dead phone.
During the hike, us young ones ran on ahead, more interested getting to the air-conditioned museum at the end of the trail than spending ten minutes ogling at every big tree we passed. It was Sequoia National Park. All the trees were big trees.
We were told to wait at General Sherman though, even though the line to take a picture in front the General was so long that our parents gave up, only getting a picture of just the tree. To pass the time as we waited for our parents to catch up, we played around on our phones, listening to music or taking silly photos. That didn’t sit too well with our parents, who chastised us when they arrived for not enjoying the trip and spending too much time on our phones. Sullenly, we took photos with other, less popular (not poplar) big trees before departing to eat lunch.
In the town, we finally connected to wi-fi, but we weren’t too keen on using it, still not quite over the scolding we had received in the park. We ate our pizza quietly, throwing around the occasional comment about how hot it was outside and how oily the pizza was (it was still delicious though). My sister suddenly poked me, gesturing in the direction of our parents’ table, where their heads were bent suspiciously. A closer look revealed—dare I say it—that they were bent over their phones, using the wi-fi to get on social media! They were so engrossed in their activity that they didn’t even notice when we took the picture of them. Needless to say, after we returned to our solar-powered abode up in the mountains, we showed them the picture, and all of us, old and young, reveled in the irony of it all. We learned our lesson, and so did our parents, although that didn’t stop any of us from posting that photo online as soon as we got the chance.
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