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.