Restaurants all over are starting to ban cell phones while eating. BUCATO in Los Angeles bans cell phones and encourages guests to “share their meal with fellow diners.” BOULEY (New York City, New York) forbids photos of its food in its dining room.

When we went to New York on vacation we ate a restaurant where space was limited and the tables too close for comfort. Not only did I hear the guy at the table beside us talking to his wife, but I also heard what he was thinking. Yes, we were that close. When I reached for my spoon I accidentally grabbed his spoon. When I reached for my napkin I accidentally grabbed his napkin. When I reached down to scratch my leg I accidentally scratched his leg. When I stretched my feet and accidentally touched his I found myself in a brief, illicit game of footsie. When I apologized, saw his expression and heard his thoughts I slapped him. How dare he think that.

There was a time before cell phones when we ate family dinners and talked to each other. While eating dinner if the phone rang we didn’t answer it because the only person rude enough to interrupt dinner was a telemarketer. We would balk at their rudeness. Now it seems not only do we allow distractions, we welcome them.

I understand using your cell to text, talk, play games or do whatever while eating if you’re alone. However, if you’re with someone and your attention is on your phone and not your dinner companion, then you’ve just invited the telemarketer to dinner.

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