Dinner Distraction

Took my wife out for her birthday tonight. We ate at 42, a swanky place in White Plains.

Waiter sat us at our table. This is what was next to us …

ughWhen I say this, I don’t mean, “This was what was next to us for a second or two.” No—this was what was next to us nearly the entire dinner. Two people checking their iPhones the entire time. Literally, one or both had their eyes upon the glowing rectangle, oh, 85 percent of the span.

I was sitting next to the woman, and stole a few glances. I thought, perhaps, she had an emergency. Or something. Uh, no. She was either chatting, or checking e-mail, or on Instagram. Every so often she’d look up at her date to say something, a la “Pass the bread” or “You won’t believe what Charles wrote.”

I know … I know—I’m an old-school dickhead who shouldn’t be writing this, and certainly shouldn’t have posted the photo. Maybe you’re right. But here’s the thing: To me, behaving in such a manner in a fancy restaurant is no different than behaving in such a manner in a movie theater or gym. It’s rude, classless and inappropriate. It speaks to who we, as a society, are slowly (or quickly) becoming: Slaves to information, but only when said information is presented on a screen. We’ve lost social skills; we’ve forgotten how to properly communicate.

We sit in restaurants, hoping for companionship, and then ignore companionship.

4 thoughts on “Dinner Distraction”

  1. You went out to dinner for your wife’s birthday, correct? Had a nice time, right? Celebrated a wonderful dinner at a nice restaurant? And yet you still focus on the negative, and go far, far, far out of your way to call out other people for being morally or societally inferior to you, and then post pictures of them on the internet. Baffling. They had a shitty dinner where they couldn’t even interact with each other in the privacy of their own table. But I think the far shittiest person here is the one who felt the need to publicly shame them. I struggle to understand the undercurrent of moral superiority that constantly runs through this blog. I’m not even trying to be critical or a jerk here – I’m genuinely baffled why someone with a great life and a great wife and kids feels the need to constantly put down the behavior of others. Help me understand it, please.

    1. Clive, this blog was started in 2008 simply as my vent. It allows me to roar and moan and gripe and get off allllllll the steam. It makes me feel great, because, generally, life isn’t about venting. In between raising kids and writing and all, who has time? So this is my vent_100% truth. Then people started reading, and I gained a regular following. Mainly, oddly, by venting.

      You’re right: I have a great life. And I certainly don’t think myself to be morally superior to anyone (I have so many fucking flaws, it’s a joke). But this site keeps me sane, and I enjoy it.

      So, that’s that. You’re right—I often come off as a dick. And maybe I am a dick.

      1. Jeff, to reply to both you and Erik, you’re right. It’s your blog – and something keeps me coming back.

        Also, Erik, please call me C-Dub. I wish more people did.


  2. C-Dub (can I call you “C-Dub?” No? Actually, who gives a fuck what you think):

    If you find that Mr. Pearlman’s blog has an “undercurrent of moral superiority that runs through it,” help *ME* understand why you continue to keep returning. *You* come across to me as the one who’s higher and mightier with your sanctimonious “rise above it comments.”

    Like secondhand smoke, these people with vacuous lives are unaware of how their actions impact people around them, or simply just don’t care. I went to a concert a couple of years back at the symphony, and right when the lights went down, the glow of camera phone screens went up. I’m staring into a sea of white screens that I’m supposed to ignore for a movie that some knob is never going to watch. But I’m supposed to ignore that and just be thankful for a great night out. Gotcha, C-Dub.

    J.P., from one old-school dickhead to another, keep up the great work and the social critiques and commentary. I, for one, am not too zen and enlightened to be above voicing my opinion about the erosion of social decency and decorum.

    You might dig this, too: http://boingboing.net/2013/08/23/short-film-i-forgot-my-phone.html

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