I just returned from a 16-day vacation. The food, scenery, and activities were superb, but the best part for me was going that long without technology. I admit the first five days were hard. My hand twitched nervously without a cell phone in it. My heart palpitated at the sight of my laptop. It was difficult to turn the on/off switch to off because my brain works on a dimmer. Finally, I forgot about the cell. Mainly because nobody around me had one. I went to meals and actually spoke with strangers. There is a noticeable difference in the dining experience without technology.
Upon arrival at Miami International Airport, I was stunned to find 92 percent of the people attempting to go through immigration, luggage retrieval, and customs while texting. I felt like I landed in a world of zombies. People ran their wheeled Tumi bags over my feet without noticing. They held up lines because they were distracted. I vowed not to go back to that.
Texting at the dinner table is not a new issue. I have a friend, oh we’ll call him Belevan, who texts in the car, in a movie, and at tables in fine restaurants. His defense is that he has to be available at all times. It’s a horrible emotional tornado that whips up when you text, Facebook, Tweet everything you do. I’m guilty. My job is time sensitive and dependent on instant information, but I am drawing the line now at the dinner table. There is nothing worse than talking to the top of someone’s head while they text in their lap.
It must drive restaurateurs nuts. Service people as well. It’s rude and disrespectful to the people you are eating with and the food you are eating. Anybody have a suggestion for how to stop the madness? Perhaps restaurants should add a phone usage charge to the bill.