I went to dinner the other evening with three friends. It was a vey normal kind of evening out. TWO new friends. Many new stories. Even a relatively new restaurant. But when I thought about it, it seemed outstanding.
It wasn’t the food, which was quite nice, but not startlingly so. Or the conversation. We bashed Trump for a while but decided we shouldn’t let that wreck the night so we stopped. It certainly wasn’t the drinks. I had a very nice white wine spritzer but what I really wanted was a Crown Royal on rocks, but that’s not allowed. Doctor’s orders you know.
No, it wasn’t any of those obvious things. Maybe it was what was missing. For example, there was no loud music — which I hate with a passion – when it is served with dinner. No. No. That wasn’t it.
Deep thought here.
Then there it was…sitting on my table. Defiently staring me in the face.
THE CELL PHONE.
During the entire evening no one reached for his or her cell phone. No one said “Excuse me a minute, I have to take this” and then proceeded to talk for ten minutes to an unknown (to the rest of us) friend.
That was it! The bloody cell phone didn’t come to our party!
I don’t believe I had really thought out just how much I hate it when that happens. Think about it. You are having what seems to be a lively conversation when one of your companions opts to interrupt with a lengthy, and, apparently much more interesting exchange than your own, with an unseen, and uninvited guest.
I think lovingly of the days of old when the waiter would come to the table to announce that you had a call waiting. Everyone knew it had to be important. Otherwise no one would even consider interrupting an occasion like dinner out – with friends. And even more importantly, no one would accept a call that was less than a life and death situation.
Maybe restaurants could introduce a No Cell Phones During Dinner policy, the way they do in theaters.
I suggested that once – but only once – to a group of convivial, young friends. One of them looked at me as if I had suddenly become a dangerous new species.
“No phones?” she said, her eyes filling with horror at the thought.
“No phones. Just four good friends talking to each other instead of having to sit there, fiddling with our food while one of us chats on the phone with someone from the office whom he had just left an hour ago.
The woman looked at me, rather confused. “Well, when you say it like that,” she said, “it sounds – well – rude.”
“By god I think you’ve got it,” I said in my best Professor “enry ‘iggins voice.”
And we danced around the room.
I loved this!! Richard Black and I were invited to dinner by a mutual friend who had been doing work in Japan for a year. We were excited to see him. Sadly, he spent the ENTIRE dinner texting on his phone with a trick he had met earlier that day in NYC. What a horrible evening it was. I hope you are well. I should be moving into my new home some time next week—furniture, etc. has finally made it to the garage. Thank God for my brother-in-law!!
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I so agree with you Betty although I’m sometimes guilty of this. I can’t imagine anyone choosing to answer someone else when they are in your scintillating company, but this world has become difficult to understand. Great blog.
I still use my landline and have a flip phone in my purse for emergencies. It’s turned off. It’s so sad to see people so attached to these handheld machines. Maybe your friends felt the same way you do. they probably did enjoy the meal without the phone interruptions. I remember when my daughter and grandsons were little and we used to walk and look at the birds and the other animals here in this foothill community. We used to talk to each other. Now I see people walking their dog, texting or talking on their phones – no interaction, and Mom’s and Dads doing the same thing walking their dogs and kids. But there are a couple of families that always make me smile, never saw a phone in their hands. That’s great that you had such a nice meal with your friends!