Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ode to the Dinner Conversation

            Yes, I see you there, friend of mine. Your cell phone is not your fourth utensil, so why are you sitting it right there on the corner of your napkin?  Are you expecting an incredibly important call in the next 30 minutes while we’re out to lunch? Is it a life or death situation, or are you just checking every five minutes to see who liked your latest Instagram post?
            Put your phone away.
            I see it nearly every time I’m out to eat, even once or twice on dates! Young adults literally can’t be separated from their phones, even for the 30 minutes it’ll take them to sit and eat. Maybe I was the only one reprimanded by my parents for texting at the dinner table. Maybe your parents were hip, cool parents who said, “By all means, text away! I didn’t want to hear about your day anyway.” But that’s not me. And yes, I do mind if you’re texting while I’m trying to talk to you.
            It’s just rude. Call me crazy, call me old-fashioned, call me a grandma, whatever. It’s rude. If I wanted to eat by myself while you’re off on your own texting about something that’s apparently more important than my company, I would have stayed at home. Probably would have cost less anyway. I don’t eat out at restaurants or spend $10 on a sandwich because the food is really that much better. I do it for the experience. I do it so I can sit down and talk with whoever I’m at a meal with. But if she’s on her phone the whole time, how am I supposed to talk to her?
            Ok, yes, I’m being a bit rant-y. But that’s just how I was raised. You don’t text at dinner. In fact, you don’t bring your phone to the table. That was a sacred time to sit, to talk, the only real time I got with my family where everyone was truly attentive to each other. And now, millennials are connected to their phones in a way I just can’t comprehend. Did you know that 64% of young adults ages 18-29 have admitted to falling asleep with their phones in their bed? Researchers have compared young adults’ addiction to cell phones to alcoholism and substance abuse.

            I like my cell phone as much as the next person. It’s a great way to distract myself on the bus ride home or to schedule the next day’s meeting. But when you’re out at a meal? Just leave it in your bag. I promise, you’re probably not going to miss anything life-changing if you just put it away for one meal. Just talk to the person you’re with. That’s why you went out in the first place, isn’t it?

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