There is a picture floating around on Facebook of a couple sitting in a restaurant, staring at the screens on their phones. Thousands of people have commented, pronouncing judgment on everything from the condition of the couple’s relationship to the state of our society.
Back in 1992, I was a Shoney’s waitress. And, I might add, a darn good one. I still occasionally show the kids my highly coveted Shoney Bear pin, awarded for consistently providing excellent service. I was also a young mother who, while working in a restaurant, rarely had the time or finances to actually eat in one. So, when a local television personality brought his wife in for lunch, I was appalled that he spent so much time on his gargantuan cellphone. She ate her burger while silently going over paperwork. He ran back and forth from the salad bar, discussing important matters with the faceless entity on the other end of the line. She didn’t seem unhappy, and they didn’t stay long, but in my mind, they had wasted precious date time.
Fast forward to today. I don’t share the opinions of those making negative comments about the couple on Facebook, and I no longer hold the television personality in low esteem. You see, that couple at the table could very well have been me and hubby. Eating in restaurants has become the norm rather than the exception in our lives. When we go out to lunch or dinner, it’s typically because we are hungry, not because we are looking to spend special time together.
However, that time often becomes special because of our cellphones. Now, I know you are going to say I am making excuses for my social media addiction, but you don’t know the whole story. It’s no secret that after 25 years together, it becomes increasingly more difficult to think of things to talk about over dinner. Especially considering we run a business together, so we are only apart if one of us has to pee, and even then being alone isn’t guaranteed. There isn’t much in our lives that the other doesn’t already know about. So, when we are grabbing lunch, we often sit with a sandwich in one hand and a phone in the other.