“Bakit hindi kumakain ang mga kabataan ngayon? Puro na lang games!”
When someone, my grandma, uncle, mom, (anyone) asks that during a lull in family conversations, you know it’s Nitpick-at-Mary Time in the Macapagal household.
You see, my family has a hard time wrapping their minds around the idea that I do most of my work on a computer. They still think that computers are for (a) hackers out to do nasty things, or (b) avid gamers who have no life.
Since I don’t look like Hollywood’s definition of a hacker, they assume that I’m playing games all day and therefore, they have every right to interrupt me every 15 seconds with:
ANAAAAAAAAAAAK! KAKAIN NAAAAAAAAA! TAMA NA YANG GAMES NA YAN! KANINA KA PA DIYAN!
Now don’t get me wrong. I understand that food is important. Especially for a family one generation removed from farming (like mine). I know all about ye olde adventures of climbing tall trees and stealing bayabas from the neighbor, being chased by huge dogs, hiding in the pig sty, and getting into fistfights while dividing your fruity loot.
Yes, I know that food is hard to come by and it’s precious. I’m not saying it isn’t! Bacon is food, right?
But it tries my patience when I’m finishing a website or puzzling out an errant piece of code and my family sends these judgmental comments my way. About how I’m wasting food. How I don’t know how hard life is nowadays. How I’m not doing serious work, not unlike, y’know, doctors or engineers or teachers… and on and on until I finally show up and stuff my face with food just so they’ll stop with the verbal abuse.
Bakit di ka kumakain? Ano ba yang ginagawa mo, apo?
Last Christmas, I tried to explain to my grandma how important my work was. How people can now buy things online, attend classes, talk to people across the globe, exchange news with other countries, etc etc. I proudly told her that I’m part of the industry that can enable people to do that and more!
She smiled. Then she just patted me on the head and ladled an extra cup of rice into my plate.
Oldies. Adorably dense, emotionally-blackmailing, and embarrassingly affectionate oldies. You’ll never win against them.
We haven’t talked about computers ever since.
(If you know of a way to explain the importance of web development to your elders, please share it with @marymacapagal. I could really use some help here.)