Look at me!

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Last night I had dinner with two old high school friends. One was Steve. The other is Scott.

Scott is addicted to his iPhone. By addicted, I mean he can’t put it down for more than a minute or two. Though he admits he’s not expecting any important calls, he needs to look … has to look … is required to look. We’d talked about it once before, so midway through our meal—while gripping his phone—he turned to me and said, “I know you hate this, but I don’t see what the big deal is.”

Here’s the big deal: I’m a friggin’ human being. I am sitting in front of you (or, in this case, next to you). I have taken time out of my life to meet and reconnect, as—I believe—have you. If I’m not important enough for you to focus on for an hour, don’t meet. Don’t sit here with me. Don’t pretend you’re interested in what I have to say while staring down at your pathetic little screen. It is rude, it is crass, it is disrespectful, and I’d probably be better served if you were smoking crack. If you were my kid, I’d take your phone and throw it in the toilet. Really, I would.

But this is who we’ve become, and it sickens me. I’m not a stickler for manners, but manners—especially at the table—are dead. And I’m not talking about cursing (which I do quite often) or farting or burping. I’m talking about taking time to connect as human beings. To pop a squat, sans technology, and bond.

Was I mad about the iPhone? Not really.

Do I want to have dinner with Scott again? Sure.

Do I want to have dinner with Scott and his iPhone again? No.

PS: This says it all.

11 thoughts on “Look at me!”

  1. I’ve had meals with douchebags who are simply unable to turn off their phones for an hour.

    These people are not worth interacting with.

  2. It’s amazing, whether you’re at the movies, dinner or sitting at a ballgame, when you look around people are constantly texting or checking their phone. Why?

    I teach school (10th grade) and I spend about half an hour a day (combined with all classes) telling kids to put their damn phone away. It’s like crack; they just can’t live without their phone.

  3. Haha – Eric Rosenbaum’s reply is hysterical!!

    I read somewhere recently with regards to texting, emailing etc in public….if it would be appropriate to pull out a crossword puzzle to do at that moment, then it is acceptable to be texting, emailing, stalking your phone. Otherwise, put your phone away.

    Me personally, I check my blackberry constantly….for the soul purpose of reading the back and forth emails of my girlfriends. I know it’s obnoxious and I really try to be polite when in public but I am a stay at home with little contact with other grown-ups so these emails…literally get me through the day:) So sad…and so true.

    But I know that when I get an iphone (just waiting to be eligible for an upgrade…I’m obsessed with having one), I will no doubt be one of “those people”…looking at it and playing with it constantly.

    Jeff, I PROMISE I will not even have my phone out of my bag when we have dinner:)

  4. My daughters (both young 20’s) are on my phone plan.
    Phone died, so my daughter needs a new phone. Told me she does NOT want an iPhone. She knows too many people that can’t put the thing down. She doesn’t want to be one of them.

  5. So I’m wondering: Did Scott read this? I’m wondering his response. Also, if this made you so mad, did you express your anger to him? If you told him, “Dude, seriously, this is straight-up rude,” don’t you think he would have put it away?

    PS: I have an old-school cellphone, not an iPhone, so I have no dog in this fight. Or horse in this race. Or whatever.

  6. Best blog post ever. If I’m out with exhibit A (homegirl) or exhibit B (homedude), and they’re holding their phone like R-Kelly is prone to holding a teenage girl’s breast, I’m checkin’ out early.

  7. Exactly Tyler! I hate it when homegirl holds the phone like R. Kelly holds a teenage girl’s breasts. My sentiments exactly.

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