On Sunday, Spouse and I went out for a brunch with the Smush. Meal times out are fraught with panic over whether she will cooperate and if she doesn’t, bets on which listless and hungover hipster or old couple are going to evil eye and tongue click at us first. She was very happy on Sunday though and we managed to eat without getting indigestion from shoving an entire poached egg down our gobs whilst hurrying out. On the way out I noticed a middle aged couple sitting with untouched food, both of them on their iPad. The whole time we were waiting to pay they didn’t look up. And it made me feel weird. Their food was going cold and it took all my strength not to rush over, pick up the fork and screech “Yum, yums! Open wide!” But also I wanted them to look at each other. I wanted to see that they were connected, that they were enjoying their technology but each other too. I was sad. In 15 minutes they never once looked up.
You see, I’m not judging this couple and possibly they were just having some time out and spend the rest of their time locked in conversation; who knows? Many years ago I saw a couple both reading the paper, meals untouched, not talking. They didn’t say a word to each other for an hour. I remember turning to Spouse and saying, “Let’s never be like that.” It was the pre- techno boom equivalent of what I saw on Sunday. It weirded me out then and it weirds me out now. Look, I’m the first to stand in line at the technology/social media appreciation rally. I love my screens and I love to share. But I also love to talk. Especially over meals. There is nothing better than having a meal out. No cooking, no washing up. I also like to eat my meals hot. I’m savouring that bastard before it gets cold.
The whole situation made me think. I realised that sometimes I get so caught up in online, I don’t take notice of what’s going on around me. You know, in real life. The constant need to check, check, check is ridiculous. And then I might miss something Spouse says to me or just nod and pretend to hear. It’s a warning sign to shut the iPad or computer down and connect back. I don’t want to be so plugged in, I’m switched off. And I really don’t want to be shipped off to the internet addiction camp in China, trying to smuggle my iPhone in, stuffed down my bra, screeching about Candy Crush Saga and Twitter.
It was a good reality check for me, a reminder to be more mindful. And you know, IRL is pretty cool too.
What’s your techno poison?