Friday, July 25, 2014

Cell Phone or Selfone?

I've read 2 articles slamming cell phone use at restaurants.

The first article reported on a restaurant that was plagued with "slow service" reviews.  The owner decided to compare the surveillance footage from 10 years ago to a recent night and found that it wasn't that the service was slow.  It was that the customers were so preoccupied with their cells--taking selfies, photoing the food, checking their texts, and talking, which increased the average time at the table by 50 minutes. Think about that--50 minutes per group who eats per night.  That's some serious change that the restaurant has lost.  Plus, they're getting slammed for poor service.

The second article proposed a challenge.  All phones on the table face down.  The first person to even touch a phone pays.

This all made me think of the last time I dined out with my family.  I wanted to pay the bill and slipped my AmEx under my cell, which I'd turned over on the table.  Under the pretext of excusing myself for the bathroom, I palmed the phone plus credit card, found the manager and arranged to pay the bill.  I know, I'm a helluva gal.  (Not really.  I was just trying to avoid our usual who-pays-for-what drama.)

Anyway, according to the challenge, I would lose, which is a mute point because I intended to pay anyone.

But what struck me as odd at the time is that no one challenged me as to why I needed to get out my phone in order to go to the restroom.  They probably considered that relatively polite--versus gabbing at the table.  And I guess it is.  But how sad that these folks I see only 2x a year were so complacent to be put on hold for some vaguely important phone call.  They, like just about everyone else, think nothing of the cell trumping companionship.

My father worked for AT&T all of his working life.  We had free phones--5 of them--in the house.  I had a phone in my bedroom.  It was a big deal, back then.  No matter where you were in the house, you weren't far from a phone ringing.  Maybe that's where my disenchantment with the phone interrupting my life stems from.  Today, I'm not very disturbed that my phone doesn't ring when people call me. I figure that I downloaded some update, which screwed it up.  And we still have a land line, as well.  But then a few weeks go by, and my mom's complained.  Then, my sister, my daughters, and my neighbor.  Accusations of ignoring phone calls were waged.  Someone remarked, "You can tell that you your daughters aren't "due" because you know where your phone is then."

True enough.

But if the world we live in has become one where semi-annual family dinners are punctuated with Facebook notifications, then let's just give up and call the damn thing your "self" phone.  Image result for i hate cell phone image

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"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." - from A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf