Call it in – dinner’s been spoiled

It had all the makings of a perfect night.
Jonathan and I were facing 24 kid-free hours! Better still, we were dining al fresco at our favorite restaurant – the delectable Yiasou in Liberty – without Jillian bugging the poor waitress and downing ketchup by the spoonful.
I would have done my happy dance and whiled away the last few hours of sunlight in pure bliss.
But there was a voice droning on at the next table.
Apparently outside dining has been taken over by the cell phone.
And whether it’s lack of signal or just the limited acoustics of the Lilliputian mobiles on the market these days, it’s customary to yell while on the cell.
So – for your dining pleasure – you’re treated not just to food but a play-by-play of the goings-on at a stranger’s job, her taste in shoes and her weekend plans. Appropriate pauses are made for ordering the wait staff around, with a running commentary on their actions for the sake of the person attending dinner in voice rather than body.
It makes for a bit of dinner theatre, I suppose, the soundtrack provided by the rumble of car engines as they pass by the restaurant.
But if you wanted theatre, wouldn’t you go to the movies?
What the heck, if you wanted to have a private conversation, wouldn’t you go somewhere private?
Coupled with my nosy reporter’s instincts, the high-pitched chatter just a few feet from my plate of spinach pie was messing with my vision of a night of relaxation and romance.
I kept glancing up toward the table, my eyes on the back of the poor woman stuck dining with Chatty Cathy and her telephone.
I felt bad for her. I felt even worse for me.
She could leave her tasteless tablemate in a second.
I was still only midway through my plate of spinach and phyllo dough.
You could say I had no business at the next table, and you’d be right – oh, how I wish you were right. But the non-stop prattling was at a volume that was making it the business of an entire patio of people.
Cell phones do have their place – mine works best as my watch now that even the pricier bands make my wrist break out in a rash. I’ve even been known to talk on it once in awhile.
I’ll whip it out to call Jonathan from the mall to check for additions to his list or update him on my itinerary. I’ll make a stop on the road to give him the run-down on Jillian’s pediatrician’s appointment.
Now offer me a spring evening with my child safe at her grandparents’ house and a promise of good eats or an unlimited cell plan to talk to anyone, anywhere, and I know what I’m picking.
I guess I’ll be opting for an inside seat from now on, maybe one near a window?

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