Almost 20 years ago, my sister and I shared the cost of our first cell phone. We had a pay as you go plan and we would only bring the phone when we were driving long distances or if either of us was going out in the evening. Payphones were readily available in the city, and neither of us wanted to carry around that heavy Motorola electronic brick around town.
Times have changed, and telephone booths are no longer on every city street corner. A large majority of people now use smartphones that are a fraction of the size and weight of those old Motorolas and allow access to messaging, social media and the Internet.
I am quick to admit that I’m guilty of always clutching a mobile device these days. When I’m with family, I do not allow texting at the dinner table. But I am usually not as courteous when I’m with friends. However, the other day, I went out for lunch with a friend that I don’t eat with very often. For first time in a very long time, I put my smartphone in my purse instead face up on the table or in my pocket where I could feel the vibration if a message came in. As a result, this is what happened:
- I was not tempted to look at the device and check for messages every few minutes.
- I had a real face-to-face conversation with my friend. (Not a “Keep talking, I’m still listening while I’m texting someone else” conversation.)
- When the food came, I actually ate it instead of taking a photo first.
Are these novel concepts? Most definitely not. Call me an old-timer, but I remember this was the norm before 4G networks and Wi-fi hotspots turned everyone into technology zombies. For all of you reading this, I’m issuing a challenge: Try putting down your device long enough to savour the food in front of you and give your undivided attention to the people you’re eating with. I guarantee that you will enjoy both so much more.