Last week a friend and I went out to dinner at a local restaurant we both love. Set on the banks of a beautiful river, it’s the perfect setting for a romantic meal. In the summer you can sit out on the terrace and watch the swans swimming past but, this being the north west of England in March, we opted to sit inside.
We were fortunate enough to get the last table near the windows and ordered a pre-dinner drink. Once it came and I’d had a first delicious sip I started to look around and take stock of the other diners. I was not being nosy, you understand, just doing what all writers do. Finding lovely settings for our stories is part of the fun of writing and although I have used this restaurant before, I am not averse to using it – and the people who go there – again,
To my right was a young couple in their late twenties – perfect! I watched them carefully out of the corner of my eye, not wanting to intrude but hoping to get a glimpse into what made their relationship special. A snippet of conversation would have been wonderful but they didn’t say a word to one another. They were far too busy to chat. The young lady had brought along her iPad and was swishing through the screens at a rate of knots while the young man was surfing the net on his smart phone. They never made eye contact, didn’t even manage a smile for one another, so I gave up, convinced they were the exception.
I glanced to my left, at another couple, slightly older. They were both chatting on their phones, oblivious to their companion. In fact of the dozen or so tables being used that night there was only one couple who were enjoying each other’s company. They were in their seventies and the lady, beautifully dressed and made up, was flirting outrageously, delicately running her foot up her companion’s leg! I felt like going across and giving her a high-five only it would have spoiled the moment – and the mood!–for both of them.
I would love to think that this was a one-off, but it wasn’t. Far too often I see couples chatting animatedly on their phones and ignoring each other. Is technology killing romance? I think it’s harming it, certainly, or at least the way people use it is causing a great deal of damage, but what do you think? Would you take your iPad to dinner? Would you use it? I’d love to hear your views.