No Tech at the Table

Occasionally, when the spirit strikes and the bank account is willing, my husband and I go out on a date. Last night was such an opportunity and so we struck out for Canyon Creek Chophouse.  This is a restaurant we’ve really not given much business too but the husband was craving some beef so off we went.  What did we bring on this date ? Nothing but our happy smiles, moderate appetites and a chance to connect. What did people across the restaurant bring ? A tablet.

We entered and were happy to find seats available in the bar area.  The bar area where we sat was made for patrons who either possess more leg than body or are able to totter about in 6″ heels in the snow.  I am neither of these people and so my legs helplessly dangled from the banquet seat I occupied. This would not do. We ended up McGyvering a table with two bar stools that would allow us to engage in conversation whilst minimizing the painful tingle of my legs falling asleep.  Unbeknownst to me, it also put the offending tablet table in line with my peripheral vision.

As we progressed through our evening, I became accustomed to the different levels of sound in the restaurant. The normal tinkle and clank of plate and silver. The not so low-level of music that makes one wonder who chose the conversation crunching soundtrack. The fellow patron’s chatter and laughter as they try to compensate for the level of the music without shouting. And then I heard it. The unmistakable laugh track of a TV show or some kind of video. Nothing else in the restaurant accounted for this strange noise.  There were no TV’s mounted on the wall to explain this. And then … my gaze drifted to the offending table.

At this offending table sat a man and a woman.  I’ve no idea of their relationship or the purpose of their being at Canyon Creek.  One could assume a nice dinner out but then one would have to wonder what the heck they were doing with a tablet on the table. Not only did they have a tablet on the table but instead of actually talking to each other, they were watching something on the tablet. In the middle of a nice restaurant. With no kids. And not only did they have a tablet on the table but of course to compensate for the normal restaurant chatter and din, they had to turn the volume up on the tablet. Loudly. One was not amused.

I cannot stand it when parents allow their children to wander about helplessly and madly thumbing some miniature screen. Dodging these hapless kids has become a bit of a necessity as the parents aren’t watching them. Apparently that’s the screen’s job. Kids in shopping carts playing on a phone.  Kids sitting in restaurants playing on a tablet. It seems to be becoming acceptable to have kids attached to some kind of screen at all times.  Whether this is to avoid actually paying attention to them or some kind of tech based Kool-Aid that’s been swallowed, I don’t know. But these people weren’t too much younger than me.  They have lived in the time before the almighty screen descended and took over people’s brains.

So as I am trying to gaze lovingly in to my dear husband’s eyes, I am distracted by the canned laughter emanating from the dastardly tablet across the room and the zombie-inducing blue glow that has now enveloped the patrons at the table. This is just not happening. Grown people who are in no danger of an imminent melt-down and have not been force-fed screen time to keep them quiet have actually brought a tablet to a restaurant. And not only are they watching some program, they are forcing the rest of the restaurant to have their meal interrupted by it. Lucky for them and me, I was across the room and not at the booth behind. There may be been an accidental tablet homicide if that were the case.

This sad comment on our now tech-dependant populace has me a bit frightened. What if someone else noticed this awful behaviour?  What if they had been teetering on the brink of deciding whether taking a tablet to dinner was acceptable and this pushed them over to the blue side ? What if instead of battling music that barely allows us to hear one another, we have to battle the noise of 200 different tablets providing amusement for adults who no longer know how to hold a decent conversation ? Oh dear God in heaven: what if someone makes a restaurant that has tables with tablets built in to them ? My restaurant days will be numbered or the tablet homicide rate will go up exponentially.

There is only one T in table and there is no room for a tablet at the table.  The table should be a sacred place where people laugh without the aid of a can.  Where the only glow is from your partner’s face as you tell them how much you love them and gaze at them adoringly. Where good food is the source of discussion and not a means to fill in commercial time. My sincerest hope is that this was a one-off for this couple.  That they somehow will get past what can only be construed as a rough patch over which the tablet is meant to be a buffer on their make-up night out. That society has not degenerated to the point where cave men have better table etiquette than this tablet toting twosome.  Ugh. Me no like tablets at table.

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