Going along to get along. This is something I have a problem with. I’ve got a lot of personal rules and standards that I stubbornly refuse to yield on. To me, it’s sticking to my own sense of propriety while stemming the tide against our shrugging, go-with-the-flow culture of whatever. To people I’m close with, I think it can be really annoying.
Last night, my wife and I went out for a really nice meal at an uber-hip sushi place. We stopped for a drink beforehand then made our way to the restaurant to claim our reservation. This place is beautiful with the very best and knowledgeable servers, an environment that is thoughtfully put together, and food that is the stuff of last meals. We were relaxed and feeling fortunate to be there.
Then my wife wanted to take a selfie of us standing in the middle of the restaurant.
Drag the needle across the record. I told her plainly that I didn’t want to do that. It took about 30 minutes for our date night to recover. In her view, she was just trying to have fun and I was crapping on her parade. In my view, taking a photo in a really nice eatery is not something I do. Even though lots of people were distracted on their phones or taking group photos, I believe that I should be respectful of other people’s evenings and the owner’s attention to detail and to my own sense of this being a special occasion.
My wife says I was an asshole about it. Maybe she was right. Perhaps I has snippy about it. I can’t really remember. Aside from our interpersonal dynamic, I feel like the use of a smartphone unless you are by yourself should be done in deference of those around us. “Mind if I check my phone?” “Sorry, do you mind if I take this call?” “Do you want to do a selfie right now?” We wouldn’t whip out a laptop or a DSLR camera in a really nice restaurant, so why is a bright-screened phone okay?
For me, it goes back to that sense of forced interruption. It’s one thing to have the option to get the phone out for whatever made-up reason. It’s another thing entirely when you are having an experience and technology is thrust upon you.
But this is where I wonder… should I have just gone with it? It would have taken 5 seconds to pose and be done with it, making my wife happy and probably nobody would have noticed or cared. Furthermore, my insistence didn’t mean anything to anyone but myself. It is not as though somebody else was going to stand up and start a movement. “You know what? That guy is right. What are we all doing with our faces in our phones when we should be soaking up this fabulous meal. Come on everyone, let’s put our phones away!”
As with most things, the answer is probably someplace in between my standard and reality. I could have said “sure, let’s go out front” or maybe I should have just grabbed her and kissed her and told her that I just want to remember this moment.