I’ve come to realize I can be incredibly fickle-minded at times. Some moments I feel so strongly about a particular issue, yet other moments I can find myself thinking the absolute opposite is acceptable, in regards to the same issue. I’m not sure why this is. Some might say it’s simply because I’m a woman and it’s my prerogative to change my mind (those people I might feel like kicking in the shins, and not change my mind about that idea, at all). Some would say it’s because I must not be a grounded individual, though I prefer to think I am. Maybe it’s not that I’m fickle, perhaps it’s that I see there are appropriate exemptions to rules.
Here’s why I bring this up: I cannot stand to see people using cell phones at the dinner table.
Seriously, if a person is having dinner with friends or family, do they really need to be interrupting their meal to see what’s happening on Facebook, twitter, tumblr, etc.? And you don’t even want to get me started on how I feel about seeing couples on dates or families in restaurants that can’t quit staring at their devices, neglecting to have in-person conversations.
Honestly, it saddens me. We need people in our lives, and don’t get me wrong, cell phones & social networking are amazing tools for keeping up with people. But in keeping up, we can’t forget those who are actually in our presence, and we need to strive to remember to be present with them. Maybe even attempt to make eye contact from time to time.
And now that I’ve ended my rant, I’ll let the pendulum of my ideals swing to the complete opposite end of the spectrum now…
I had the wonderful privilege of having lunch at a restaurant this weekend with my mom, three of her sisters and her parents. We had a wonderful time, enjoyed lots of laughs and shared lots of stories about how the families have been and what new adventures were coming. My grandma and grandpa were both delighted to have family come visit and take them out for a meal at one of their favorite diners, and I know we were all happy to spend time with them.
But then there was a lull in the conversation. It wasn’t awkward, but it occurred. And in that moment one of the most fantastic and hilarious things I’d ever witnessed happened…
My 90-year-old grandpa reached into his front shirt pocket, pulled out his cell phone and used it as a distraction for a couple of seconds. Maybe he was checking the time, maybe he was wondering if he missed a call, I’m not sure. All I know is, I thought it was terrific and I pointed it out to the rest of table. And that’s when my 89-year-old grandma pulled out her shiny, white flip-phone to show off to the group.
It was so unexpected, so unprecedented, so laughable and priceless, I couldn’t help but share my thoughts with the world via twitter (but not until after I’d left the table!).
To top things off, today I learned that the unexpected events in life can apparently have somewhat of a snowball effect. You know my little tweet about my grandpa? Apparently it received international attention, or at least some attention from our neighbors to the North (I mean Canada, just in case you’re really bad at geography). Anyway, I received a notification that my tweet had been quoted in a story about the new Facebook ad featuring smartphones at the dinner table. An ad which I hadn’t even heard of or watched, go figure.
Apparently they interpreted my tweet as an endorsement for using cell phones at the table, which it wasn’t. It was a simple observation of an unforgettable moment in time.
A moment I will forever laugh about, and a moment for which I will be forever grateful.
How do you feel about cell phone use at the table? Are there any rules you make exceptions for? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.