A Middle-Aged Woman Looks at Life with a Laugh!
By:  Mary Fran Bontempo

In a restaurant, it’s hard for me to imagine focusing on anything but food.

I love restaurants, love having someone else do the cooking, bring me the food, clean up the mess. When I’m fortunate enough to eat out, I am there, mind, body and soul—no distractions.

So when my husband and I ate out last weekend at one of our favorite local restaurants, I was slightly miffed to find him focusing not on the moment (let’s be frank, he wasn’t paying enough attention to me), but on a table behind me.

When I turned to check out what was so fascinating, I thought I had my answer when I saw a table of attractive young women sharing a meal.

“What are you looking at?” I hissed.

“I can’t believe what I’m seeing,” he said.

“I can’t believe you’re staring,” I answered.

“But do you see what they’re doing?”

“They’re in a restaurant. I’m going to go out on a limb and say they’re eating.”

“Yeah, they’re eating. In between checking their phones and texting. They’re barely talking to one another and in between bites, they’re all looking at their phones and typing out messages,” Dave said.

Sure enough, as I surreptitiously stole another glance, I saw the girls busily tapping away.

“It’s like they’re here with their friends, but they’re all looking for a better offer,” Dave said.

“Either that or they’re all government agents and something really big is about to go down,” I added.

I turned back to the hot, cooked-by-someone-else meal before me and as I savored the next mouthful, I wondered, what could be better than food, drink and time out with friends? If you’re looking for occasions which merit the consideration of escape, I can think of many other times I’d be jumping on the bandwagon, begging for a better option.

My first text of the day would come at the sound of my morning alarm. Tap, tap, tap. “Looking for a few extra minutes. Anyone willing to part with some?”

Then, in line at the grocery store, in the express lane, standing behind someone with forty items, paying with a check. Tap, tap, tap. “I’m about to go ballistic. Can someone step in here before I start shrieking and have to be sedated?”

On the phone, trying to get a live person to figure out why my insurance company has once again denied a claim. Tap, tap, tap. “Interested in finding someone who speaks health insurance to take my place. Must be willing to spend forty-five minutes on hold and negotiate with a robotic, disembodied voice. Any takers?”

Standing in a department store dressing room, staring at a three-way mirror under fluorescent lights, trying to squeeze into a pair of jeans. Tap, tap, tap. “I need some chocolate and a change of venue. Macy’s, women’s department, third dressing room door on the left. Oh, and you have to help me out of these jeans. They’re too small.”

Finally, in the doctor’s office, waiting for my annual ob-gyn check up. (Fellas, insert your own humiliating experience here.) Tap, tap, tap. “FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE! WILL SOMEONE PLEASE GET ME OUT OF HERE?”

Yes, if searching for a better offer is an option, I can think of hundreds of occasions when my fingers would be sore from tapping. But as a woman who has had to cook zillions of meals for a not always appreciative cast of characters, dinner at a restaurant with my friends is most definitely not one of them. So girls, here’s my advice: Put down your phones, eat, drink and be merry.

For tomorrow, you may be the cook.

Have your own “Texting” horror stories?  Click “comments” below and vent!