Friday, August 17, 2012

Dinner Disruption

I'm guilty of something. There's something that I'm constantly doing at least twice a day. I didn't even do it at all as a teen, but now I always have it in my hand fiddling around with it.  

Wait. Ew. Seriously? That's so gross. Not that!!!!! I'm talking about checking my cell phone at the dinner table, you perv!

Anyway, it's a problem that I'm trying to do a better job of eliminating. Growing up, cell phones weren't mainstream, so dinner was for spending time with family. Besides, even if they would have been mainstream, I'm pretty sure my father would have snatched it out of my hands if I broke it out at the table. I wasn't even allowed to bring my handheld Coleco Total Control 4 Football game with me to the table.  Dinner was a time that my parents played 20 Questions with me and my brother to see what the heck we've been up to at school or something.  Every now and then, we'd get a treat and we were allowed to eat in front of the TV, but most of the time, it was all about family.   So, being that I was raised like that, what has changed that has caused me to not be able to stop myself from grabbing my cell phone at a dinner table?

1) Being single - From the age of 24 until the age of 30, I lived alone. Within those six years, I easily developed the habit of eating in front of the television. There wasn't anyone else in the house with me, so to sit at the dining room table alone made me feel stupid. By the time The Mrs. and I got married and she moved in, the habit of being distracted while eating was already six years into existence.

2) Cell phone evolution - At one time, they were only for making calls (imagine that). Then all of these cool and addictive things became possible with the advancement of technology! I can send a message to a friend without having to actually speak to them? Sign me up!  I can go online and get the scores of the NBA game that's showing in the other room? Winning!  I can read and respond to a "blog froth" from the Reckmonster?  Done!  I can see Instagram photos from @SoLynnieLike without being at a computer?  Holla! 

Do you see my problem? Like many of the young people that I criticize, I also want instant gratification. I can't even stuff my face without a dinner disruption of my own creation. Well, a restaurant is attempting to help me get over my problem. A restaurant in L.A. called Eva's is offering discounts for those who check their cell phones at the door. 5% doesn't sound like a lot, but when you consider that some of their entrees are $45, then dinner for two can save you $10 if both of you check in your phones.

And although I live nowhere near L.A., the precedent is being set by Eva's. They're trendsetters! What starts as one location and 5% today could turn into restaurants across the country doing it for 10% or 15%. At Eva's, they want people to enjoy what we all used to enjoy as kids (for those around 30 and older): "We're trying to create an ambience where you come in and really enjoy the experience and the food and the company," says Eva's owner and chef, Mark Gold (quoted from an article in Gizmodo).

Dinner with only food and conversation. Who would have guessed something like that would be a throwback?  

Do you constantly check your cell phone at the dinner table?


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