Say Yes to Romance, No to Cell Phones
I get the attachment to one's cell phone, especially when it's a smartphone - when you're linked to an ever-changing world of Facebook and Twitter and the web and email and texts, all wrapped into one little device, it's probably the ultimate time-killing thing out there.
I spend almost every waking moment connected to what's going on with the Internet world - it's sad to say, but true. It's my job here at FOX 47 to be an in-the-know person, ready to jump on breaking news, the latest trends, what's happenin' in the world or right outside our door.
Having an iPhone makes staying connected to everything that much easier, and it's difficult to remember a time when the urge to check Facebook or to refresh a web page wasn't there.
Still, there are times I catch myself not wanting to appear as though I am always super-connected to my phone - not wanting to look like everyone else in my generation (and above and below my generation), head down, eyes glazing over a bright little screen.
There are times when I like to just sit on a bench and wait for whatever it is I'm waiting for, taking in the sights and smells and sounds. There's a whole lot going on right in front of us and we're missing it.
And this rule of staying connected with what's happening right then and there in front of me applies to being out to dinner. Whether it's with my friends, my family, and/or especially my husband, there's never the urge to whip out my cell phone. Going out for a meal or coffee is a little luxury, a mini-getaway from life. It's like the 15 minutes you're on a plane, when it's getting ready for takeoff and you can't use any portable electronics. There's just that sense of not being able to be attached to a phone or iPod or anything, and it doesn't matter. We survive it.
A meal, whether it takes 10 minutes or over an hour, should be a cell phone-free zone in my opinion.
And yet, as my husband and I settled in for a lovely Valentine's Day meal at The Knight Cap in downtown Lansing, as I swirled my Cabernet and swiped my bread with butter, the young couple sitting next to us frequently busted out their cell phones to pass the time between mini-conversations and courses of the meal.
At first, I only noticed the guy on his phone. In the dimly-lit restaurant, it's pretty easy to tell when someone is holding the equivalent of a mini reading light in their hands, the unmistakable pale blue glow making shadows on their faces. And I felt bad for the girl sitting with him, thinking how rude it was for him to be skimming his phone - for what?! what reason would there be?! - but then I noticed that she had her phone out as well.
I made the "get a look at these two" look with my eyes at my husband, and when he gave the couple his own side-eye, he sighed, took a sip of his Coke, and said quite audibly, "Ah, romance!"
It was difficult to tell what relationship stage the couple was in - was this a first date? Have these two been together forever and that's why they're so comfortable in ignoring each other?
I've noticed couples at breakfast places before, who sit across from one another with the day's newspaper unfolded in front of them, like two simultaneous games of peek-a-boo, yet they don't reveal themselves to each other... ever. It seems like the same idea as both being on a cell phone at the same time at the table, yet the physical nature of a big piece of newspaper shielding a person from the other seems to be even more of a statement.
Now, maybe newspaper couples have been together for years, and have nothing to talk about, and in fact feel comfortable in the silence of taking in the paper and drinking coffee. It's just something I don't think I'll understand, knowing what I enjoy and love about going out for a meal with someone else, talking and laughing and making side-eyes at other couples in judgment.
There's something to be said for being able to linger over a moment, an hour, a lifetime with someone without the need for the latest update or breaking news to help pass the time.
There's something in the conversation, the pauses with warm looks at each other, and the silence that doesn't need to be filled with anything.
I think that something is romance.