Dela TheBookDragon

United States

A Pinch of Laughter and a Hint of Fun

May 21, 2019

    My beautiful, juicy burger and crispy fries sat on my plate, beckoning me to devour them. Waiters were bustling to and from tables, ready to serve. The rumble of conversation and laughter filled the air, along with the aroma of the flavorful food. The lovely aesthetic of the vintage diner only added to the experience. Everyone seemed to be having fun and bonding. The whole restaurant was alive. 

    Then, I looked around at my table and my heart sank a little bit. The colorful atmosphere of the restaurant was gray in our little bubble.  Everyone on the outside was connecting, while my family was plugged in. My mother was texting and my sister was playing a game. My dad? I barely ever see my dad; he lives in a different country. Yet here he was, too busy with his phone to even absorb anything I was saying. My family was barely looking at their food, much less appreciating it. Instead of talking, they were texting. Instead of speaking, they were scrolling. What should have been a fun brunch was boring and disheartening, regardless of the food. Though it may seem like a small thing to grab your phone for a few moments during dinner, it can really add up. Soon, you might as well take your phone to dinner instead. But, without the people you love, what's the point? Mealtimes aren't about the food—they're about the people you spend them with. 

    To many, bringing phones or tablets to the dinner table is no big deal. For others, it's just a sign of bad manners, but it can be more than that. Using phones can detract from the intimacy of a meal. Instead of sharing a wonderful experience with someone you love, it can feel like you're intruding on something, or like you're not as important. Chances are, if you're eating with someone, you don't want them to feel that way. We should all be giving our full attention when we dine with each other—life is short, and we should relish every second of it.

    My fondest food-memories are connected to the ones I made them with. Eating ice-cream in the cold is so much better with friends to warm your heart. Tea parties are a lot more fun with people instead of stuffed animals. Trust me, burned food made by inexperienced cooks (me) can be salvaged with a pinch of laughter and a hint of fun (and a better cook on the scene). Whether it's caviar or coffee, any meal can and should be, special. But, in an age of technology, sometimes this is easier said than done.

    It's really, really easy to feel disconnected to our friends and family. It can be easy to forget how much they mean to us, how much we love them. Easy to just grab our phones, or give our kids tablets, instead of talking, face to face, like we're supposed to. But, mealtimes can bring us closer. They can remind us that we are truly a part of something. Remind us that people love us and cherish us and that we are irreplaceable. 

    For me, even though I love food, that's not what meals are about. I would rather share a quick granola bar with a friend before school than have a lonely, five-course meal by myself. Eating with the people we love makes us feel happier and closer to them. I'm not asking you to completely unplug, and I can't control your actions. I just think that for half an hour a day we can turn our phones off. We can laugh and chat and live together. We won't be with each other for forever, and it's the little moments that count. 

 

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