JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

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.