On the occasions when someone’s forced me to watch yet another interminably boring movie from the 1950s, I always make note of one particular scene: the one where the waiter drags out a corded phone on a tray out to a guest and says, “Sir, we have an important phone call for you.” There was a time when men and women went to restaurants to dine, to socialize, and to discuss important issues. Before the “cellphone” and the “smartphone,” men drank scotch and smoked cigarettes and relaxed in plush leather booths, feasting on plates full of carbs and gluten and dairy, only occasionally interrupted by an “important” call.
Now, you ALL sit and pray to your glass-and-silicon god. Look. I love technology and I love mobile phones—I have four of them. One for work, one for my girlfriend, one for my Internet friends, and one to call the other phones when they’re stuck beneath the couch cushions. But when I go to any restaurant that doesn’t have a Claw game in the lobby or flairs on the waiters’ uniforms, I keep the cellphones in my pocket,* only checking them discretely by half-sliding one out to see if any important calls or texts arrived.
Not you. No. You seem to go to restaurants for the express and explicit purpose of using your phone. First you’ll come in an hour before your other guests come in. I’m supposed to fill your water glass and offer you a beverage but I’ll let you know that we have a pretty firm rule that we never, ever talk to a guest who has a phone attached to his or her ear. Even with the phone stuck to your head, you’ll try to order a beverage from me. Let me in on another little secret: rotating the phone down a little so the mouthpiece isn’t near your mouth doesn’t make it any less rude to place an order while you’re on the phone. Touching your bluetooth doesn’t make it any less rude. Pointing to a drink in the menu and shaking your head doesn’t make it any less rude. So I’ll save us both the displeasure and come back when you’re finished talking to your unemployed friend who’s probably also using his or her phone at some other fine dining restaurant.
No less obnoxious, of course, is The Couple Who Simultaneously Stare at their Phones for the Entire Meal. Eye contact with them is impossible. This makes sense. You didn’t spend all day at your dead-end office job staring at a computer screen and you didn’t drive over here starting your phone screen while swerving into oncoming traffic and you didn’t walk over to your table still hunched over like the missing link. And there’s definitely no other place in the entire world where you check your Pinterest and Instagram. I understand. What’s the WiFi Password, you ask? The WiFi Password is Put Your F***ing Phone Down, You Freakingly Socially Inept Phone Addict. That’s the WiFi password.
Lest I forget, there’s a special place in the deepest depths of Hell reserved specifically for the Person Who Needs to Recharge His/Her Phone at 11:30 am. I said AM, not PM. This person presents so many questions to me. Why did you not charge your phone over night? Why didn’t you charge it in your car? Why did you not think to charge it in your office at your marketing job, where you spend all day destroying the hard work of hard working engineers? Or if you did charge it, how did you possibly use up all the battery by half-past-eleven on a Wednesday? And is it better or worse if you brought a USB charger and wall-plug with you? Because that bewilders me even more. You have a charger…..and so your first thought is, “Why would I charge this in my office or my car when I could simply plug it into a random wall socket at a public restaurant?” Because that makes all the sense in the world. ALL THE SENSE. You’re the one who accosts me when I have four plates in my hands and asks me to show you where the electrical outlets are. Where are the electrical outlets? Let me tell you. THEY ARE IN YOUR FACE. They are literally inside your face. Ask Tesla. He’ll tell you. He made a wall socket out of your face. J**** C*****.
The neighbor in Hell of the Person Who Needs to Recharge His/Her Phone at 11:30 am is the Guest Who Freaks Out When Someone Drops a Microscopic Droplet of Water on His Phone Because He Always Places It Right Next to His Water Glass. Look. That’s wholly your fault. The first rule of cellphone ownership is Keep Away From Water. I’m trying to do my job, here, which is to fill up the water glass that you keep sucking down like you have a Baleen-Whale-sized Tape Worm in your urethra. You’re the one who, after I’ve already poured you 128 ounces of free water, proceeds to ask me, petulantly, if you could HAVE SOME MORE WATER. Just so you know, drinking a barrel’s worth of water each day isn’t going to make you any less likely to appear on The Biggest Loser. So at that point, well, I don’t feel too bad if literally 1 molecule of water grazes the side of your phone. Watching you freak out at the thought of possibly damading your 2009-vintage iPhone 4 is priceless. Oh, dear God, no! Did a picoliter of Pinot Grigio fall on top of your embarrissingly antiquated Galaxy S II? Oh no. Whatever will you do if you’re not able to read The Huffington Post for the next 30 seconds? What’s worse, by the way? That small touch of moisture OR your germ-infested hands using your phone while your in the stall in a bathroom? Have you ever heard those people who have actual full-length phone conversations in the bathroom? This is the direction your humanity is going, friends. I hope you like it. I hope you’re happy. I hope you’re happy now.
By the way, you f**king left your f***ing phone behind. WHAT A SURPRISE.
*makes for a very big pocket bulge